Brownback Issues Order To Protect Religious Liberty After SCOTUS Ruling

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback listens to a reporters question during a news conference in his Statehouse office in Topeka, Kan., Monday, Jan. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
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Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) on Tuesday issued an executive order to protect religious leaders and groups who do not approve of same-sex marriage in the wake of the Supreme Court decision that gay couples have the right to marry, the Wichita Eagle reported.

The order keeps the government from taking action against officials and organizations “on the basis that such person or organization believes or sincerely acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman.”

Brownback’s order aims to protect religious leaders who perform marriages and religious groups that provide adoption services, according to the Wichita Eagle.

“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,” Brownback said in a statement. “Today’s Executive Order protects Kansas clergy and religious organizations from being forced to participate in activities that violate their sincerely and deeply held beliefs.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas on Tuesday condemned Brownback’s religious liberty order, calling it “unnecessary and harmful.”

“As a result of Executive Order 15-05, 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,” Kansas ACLU Executive Director Micah Kubic said in a statement. “In addition, singling out just one form of religious beliefs about marriage poses serious constitutional concerns.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) also issued a religious liberties directive following the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage. The directive states that Texas agencies should prioritize the First Amendment and ensure that nobody “takes any adverse action against” individuals who are “substantially motivated by sincere religious belief.”

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