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Gov. Brownback Hearing - KOAM TV 7

Gov. Brownback Hearing

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Kansas Governor Sam Brownback is defending his decision to scrap an order that barred discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.    
Brownback is in line to be ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom. The Republican testified Wednesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
A 2007 executive order applied to hiring and employment decisions by agencies under the Kansas governor's direct control.
During Wednesday's hearing, Brownback said the Democratic governor at that time, Kathleen Sebelius, acted unilaterally on an issue that state lawmakers should have resolved.

Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine, a former Virginia governor, asked Brownback whether such an order sends a clear signal to a state's agency chiefs that discrimination based on sexual orientation won't be tolerated.
    
"I think that would be a rational thing," Brownback responded. "I just don't think it's a right that the executive branch should create without the legislative branch."
    
Brownback, a favorite of Christian conservatives for his strong stances against abortion and same-sex marriage, also declined to unequivocally declare there is no situation that would allow a country to cite religious freedom as the basis for criminally prosecuting LGBT people.
    
"I don't know what that would be, in what circumstance," he said in response to a question from Kaine.
    
Brownback pledged to "continue the policies that have been done in the prior administration in working on these international issues."
    
Kaine said he expected an unambiguous answer. The senator said there are still "countries around the world where you can be imprisoned and even executed if you are LGBT." 

    
LGBT-rights groups decried Brownback's nomination because of his socially conservative views. But his fellow Republicans hailed his choice.
    
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said Brownback "has been a longtime champion of religious freedom globally."
    
Brownback also would leave a Kansas legacy of far tougher restrictions on abortion and fewer limits on gun owners than when he won the first of his two terms in 2010.
    
He rejected expanding the Medicaid health program for the poor in line with former President Barack Obama's signature health care law even as several other Republican governors went ahead.
    
Brownback was an early advocate of U.S. action to stop genocide in Sudan's Darfur region, and visited Congo and Rwanda to decry humanitarian crises and call for better coordination in foreign aid programs.
    
President Donald Trump announced Brownback's selection in July. He'll run the State Department's Office of International Religious Freedom if his nomination is approved.



    

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