Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]
By Lisa Keen
On March 2, President Obama announced his selection of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius as his new nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, a move that is seen as a positive development by gay and HIV groups. Meanwhile, community groups also applauded what they hope will eventually be the first step by the administration toward repealing a regulation that allows health care providers to deny service to gays and others based on the provider’s personal or religious conscientious objections.
Nominee Sebelius is generally seen as supportive of equal rights for gays. She opposed a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Kansas, saying it was not needed (there was an existing state law already banning gay marriage) and that it went “far beyond the bounds of that law.” The constitutional amendment passed with 69 percent of the vote in 2005.
Sebelius was a guest speaker at the Stonewall Democrats annual meeting in Denver last August, just prior to the Democratic National Convention. She told the gay Democrats that she had tried to stop the constitutional ban in Kansas “because it was the wrong direction and the wrong message.”
John Marble, a spokesperson for Stonewall Democrats, said Sebelius “has long been a friend of Stonewall Democrats.’
“The amazing thing about Gov. Sebelius,” he said, “is her ability to communicate the benefits of Democratic values in even the most conservative areas. That skill is going to be a crucial asset as we move forward with expanding access to health care and restoring science-based approaches to public health.”
Marble said that Sebelius, as governor of Kansas, worked with Stonewall Democrats “to build a more inclusive and successful state party.”
“We were proud to stand with Governor Sebelius as she lobbied against anti-equality legislation, signed an executive order barring discrimination in state government on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and worked to increase the Democratic Party’s reach among all Kansans. She is an excellent choice.”
Sebelius has been governor of Kansas since 2003. Political observers say she will likely catch some flack during confirmation over her support for the right of a woman to obtain an abortion.
Her nomination replaces that of former U.S. Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), who withdrew his nomination last month after acknowledging that he had failed to pay taxes on a portion of his recent income as a consultant.