Often on Kos we read about defeats at the hands of conservatives and we ask: What does it take to rally people, to get them to wake up to what is going on? Well, today, in Topeka Kansas State Senators felt a tidal wave and couldn't run fast enough from the backlash - and it's not over.
TOPEKA, KS (KCTV) -That's right. They were for it... until the 'ramifications became clear'. Let me make it clear: This ramifications were an outraged electorate that did not let the phone stop ringing all day today
The Kansas Senate president says a bill that would prevent lawsuits against someone who refuses, for religious reasons, to provide services to gay and lesbians will not pass
in her chamber as it is currently written.
Senate President Susan Wagle said Friday that the bill goes beyond protecting religious freedom. She raised concerns about discrimination and how it could impact businesses that would refuse services to gay couples.
Wagle said she, Gov. Sam Brownback and the House speaker were all for the bill until the ramifications became more clear.
"The bill seems to be written in a very broad manner and appeared to me to be detrimental to the business environment here in Kansas," Wagle said.
State Senators found themselves in the middle of major backlash as every paper in the state attended the capital, demanded comments. Representatives from major news networks, papers and others came to the capital to ask the question: Will Kansas again be the state that sets off the battle for the next Brown Vs. Board of Education?
What made today exciting is that for the first time in months, Kansans were forced to ask: Is this REALLY the kind of government we thought we were getting? Conservative groups - and especially businesses called in, sent letters, emails telling Kansas Senators that this would tarnish their business and the brand.
As House and Senate Republicans hid behind their doors, students at Kansas State, University of Kansas and elsewhere rallied and asked their peers this question: Do you want the first question in your post college interview to be: 'Oh, you come from that state that voted for discrimination, right?'
Voter registration at universities was in full swing, and no matter how conservative many voters were, a LOT of them agreed: This is a bridge too far. We have to start over.
Does it mean that Kansas turns progressive? No. But for one day - for a few hours in a capital building today - I watched as angry citizens drove up with 'McCain/Palin' stickers on their trucks got out, made their way to representatives and told them off.
There is nothing as rewarding as the man on the sidewalk outside of the capital yelling 'STOP MAKING US LOOK LIKE ASSHOLES'
This bill isn't dead. It may never get a Vote. Brownback has already said he can't sign it now, thanks to public pressure.
But now it's not dead for another reason. It will serve as a reminder from now until the election: Unless you want this to happen again, you have to change the people in the State House. There were a lot of Kansans who learned the name of their state representatives today. Young kids, high schoolers who came to the capital after school and told us that this is the year they register to vote, and this matters to them.
The State of Kansas Republicans thought they would trot out this issue, get it passed and be 'on the right side of history'.
Well, they poked the bear.
And the bear had an opening snack today, but it isn't far from done.