Kansas may not be able to keep its schools open, but it can fight the federal government on gay marriage, and that's just what Gov. Sam Brownback did Tuesday when he issued an executive order protecting church members and religious organizations from punishment for opposing gay marriage.
The governor's order would allow religious organization to deny goods, services, and accommodations based on sexual preference without fear of punishment.
It would protect churches, homeless shelters, adoption agencies, and many others if they chose not to help a family because someone was in a same sex relationship.
Brownback told the Wichita Eagle the religious liberty decree was meant to protect people from being forced to participate in activities that violate their religious beliefs.
"We have a duty to govern and to govern in accordance with the Constitution as it has been determined by the Supreme Court decision. We also recognize that religious liberty is at the heart of who we are as Kansans and Americans, and should be protected."The move by Kansas puts it on the short list of states trying to ignore the Supreme Court's recent marriage equality decision that legalizes gay marriage in all 50 states.Texas has perhaps been the most vocal opponent of legalized gay marriage with the governor and attorney general both saying city and county clerks don't have to abide by the recent Supreme Court decision.
The announcement by state leaders has set Texas on a collision with the federal government.
Likewise, Virginia Republicans are already vowing to take similar steps to protect religious freedom and ban gay marriage from being implemented if voters elect them next election day.
It remains to be seen if that strategy will hold weight with middle of the road voters who seem to grudgingly accepting marriage equality.
Meanwhile, Gov. Jay Nixon of Missouri signed an executive order Tuesday ordering his state to comply with the recent Supreme Court decision.
Kansas family law expert Ron Nelson told the Wichita Eagle the governor's executive order is similar to that used by southern states to resist desegregation.
"This is the same technique that southern states tried to use to frustrate Brown v. Board of Education."The Kansas religious community seems split on the issue as the state's Catholic bishops support the governor's decree, while other Christian leaders have condemned it as an overreaction.
The governor's executive order came the same day the state allowed same sex spouses access to their spouses health plans.
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