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Religious Tolerance logo

Kansas: Legalizing gay marriage (a.k.a. same-sex marriage or SSM)
and working towards equal rights for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual
and Transsexual (LGBT) community.

Part 8 of 8:
2014-NOV: Governor signs executive order
protecting religious groups that want to
discriminate (Cont'd). Reactions.

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This essay is continued from the previous essay

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2015-JUL-07: Governor Sam Brownback issued an executive order (Cont'd):

Governor Brownback's executive order is an excellent example of a dynamic that is unfolding across the U.S. Almost instantly after same-sex marriage is attained, the focus of many religious and political conservatives switches from opposing same-sex marriage to ramping up discrimination against the LGBT community in other ways. One manifestation of this is seen in same-sex couples who are married on one day, and find on the next day that one or both spouses are legally fired from their jobs because they are lesbian, gay or bisexual. Or they may be evicted from their apartment for the same reason. In response, LGBT organizations have suddently switched from promoting marriage equality to obtaining protection for lesbians, gays and bisexuals in employment, accommodation, and other areas.

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Reactions to the Governor's executive order:

  • Micah Kubic, executive director of the Kansas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, a pro-equality group, said that the order means:

    "... a homeless shelter that received a state contract or grant could refuse family housing to a gay couple with a child, or a foster care agency could refuse to place a child in their custody with the child’s family member just because the family member was in a same-sex relationship -– and the state could not require them to treat all families equally."13

  • Ron Nelson, a family law expert from Lenexa, KS said:

    "Any organization that contracts with the state that says their religious beliefs don’t allow them to do something, then they don’t have to do it. ... This is the same technique that southern states tried to use to frustrate Brown v. Board of Education." 13

"Brown" was the ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court involving the Board of Education in Topeka KS in 1954. It attempted to outlaw racial segregation of childen in public schools -- a process that is still underway over five decades later, and is losing ground in some states.

  • The Kansas Catholic Conference of Roman Catholic bishops, whose motto is "Promoting Justice in Public Policy," issued a statement responding to Governor Brownback's executive order. It says in part:

    "We are grateful that Governor Brownback has acted so swiftly to address some of the threats to religious freedom that have taken on new urgency since the United States Supreme Court’s misguided decision in Obergefell v. Hodges.

    When five individuals on the Supreme Court redefined the institution of marriage for the entire country, the Kansas marriage amendment approved by 70% of the voters in 2005 was struck down. Since, however, no court can change the true nature of marriage, many Kansans continue to recognize that marriage can only be the union of a man and a woman. Those Kansans, and the religious institutions they belong to, should not be punished by the government for believing what almost all people everywhere believed until just a relatively short time ago. ..."

    "We urge Governor Brownback and members of the Legislature to make the protection of religious freedom for all Kansans a top priority in the coming months. Generations of Americans have taken freedom of conscience for granted. We, sadly, do not have that luxury anymore." 14

In reality:

  • The decision by the U.S. Supreme Court did not change the status of gay marriages across "the entire country." It only affected 13 states, and 3 or 4 territories.

  • Although the amendment to the Kansas Constitution that banned gay marriage in the state was passed by 70% of the voters, that was over a decade ago. At that time, only 40% of adults nationally supported same-sex marriage. Public Policy Polling found in early 2014 that:

    "... support for legalizing gay marriage has increased a net 8 points over the last year and now 44% of voters favor it to 48% who are opposed. 15

At the current rate of increase in support for marriage equality, a majority of Kansas adults may support marriage equality -- either now or in the near future.

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  • Pastor Terry Fox, senior pastor at Summit Church, a Southern Baptist congregation in Wichita, KS. He opposes marriage equality. He said that it was:

    "... very, very encouraging that on the day that some other news was breaking that Gov. Brownback is attempting to bring religious protection to some of the people of Kansas and certainly the conservative Christian people of Kansas. ... There is a great passion here that we need some religious freedom protection not just for churches but for Christian business owners." 13

  • Rev. Kent Little, of College Hill United Methodist Church, also in Wichita, appears concerned about the lack of separation of church and state in situations where the state financially supports faith-based organizations. He said:

    "I have trust issues. What’s the ulterior motive? ... My first read on [the executive order] is [tht] it’s unnecessary and really unwarranted. The ruling from the Supreme Court wasn’t a religious ruling, it really was about civil rights. In my opinion it doesn’t affect the religious community. ... If a religious organization provided a service and was state-supported … that could get pretty sticky."

Also on JUL-07, state employees who are married to same-sex spouses were infomed that their spouses can be added to their health plans.

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Access to marriage by same-sex couples appears to be secure in Kansas.
Conflict seems to have witched to securing protections for the LGBT
community in other areas of life.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Same-sex marriages cleared in Kansas, Missouri," USA Today, 2014-NOV-07, at: http://www.usatoday.com/
  2. Amy Himmelberg, "Kansas Attorney General responds to Tenth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denial of application for a stay in Marie v. Moser," Kansas First News, 2014-NOV-08, at: http://kansasfirstnews.com/
  3. Michael winter, "Gay couples begin to marry in Kansas City," The Wichita Eagle, 2014-NOV-07, at: http://www.kansas.com/
  4. Lawrence Hurley, "U.S. justice temporarily blocks gay marriage in Kansas," Reuters, 2014-NOV-10, at: http://news.yahoo.com/
  5. "Obtaining a marriage license in Kansas," US Marriage Laws, at: http://www.usmarriagelaws.com/
  6. "Sotomayor Issues Order Temporarily Blocking Gay Marriage In Kansas," 2014-NOV-11, at: http://washington.cbslocal.com/
  7. Peter Hancock, "Gay marriage now legal in Kansas," Lawrence Journal-World, 2014-NOV-12, at: http://www2.ljworld.com/
  8. "Uncertainty Clouds Gay Marriage in Kansas," U.S. News & World Report, 2014-NOV-13, at: http://www.usnews.com/
  9. "Same-sex couples react to gay marriage becoming legal in Kan.," KAKE-TV, 2014-NOV-, at: http://www.kake.com/
  10. Brad Cooper, "Patchwork of same-sex marriage laws starts unfolding across Kansas," Kansas City Star, 2014-NOV-13, at: http://www.kansascity.com/
  11. John Hanna, "All counties in Kansas allowing same-sex marriage licenses," The Washington Times, 2015-JUN-30, at: http://www.washingtontimes.com/
  12. Krishnadev Calamur, "In Some States, Defiance Over Supreme Court's Same-Sex Marriage Ruling," National Public Radio, 2015-JUN-29, at: http://www.npr.org/
  13. Bryan Lowry, "Gov. Sam Brownback issues executive order on religious liberty after same-sex marriage ruling," The Wichita Eagle, 2015-JUL-07, at: http://www.kansas.com/
  14. "Kansas Bishops Issue Statement on Brownback Executive Order," Catholic Conference, 2015-JUL-07, at: http://www.kscathconf.org/
  15. "Kansas Miscellany," Public Policy Polling, 2014-FEB-24, at: http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/

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Site navigation: Home > Same-sex marriage > SSM menu > Kansas > here

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Copyright © 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally published: 2014-OCT-25
Last updated 2014-NOV-24
Author: Bruce A Robinson
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