Kansas, Missouri Governors Present Contrasting Views on Gay Marriage
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Sam Brownback described the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling legalizing same-sex marriage as a potential threat to religious liberties. Meanwhile, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon called the decision an important step toward creating a fairer society. Advocates on both sides of the issue and on both sides of the border have noted the sharp contrast in the neighboring governors' responses in the form of their executive orders. Brownback's order told Kansas government agencies that they can't punish ministers or religious groups for opposing same-sex marriage. His order said the U.S. Supreme Court decision last month could limit religious liberties. Nixon's order directs Missouri state agencies to take all necessary measures to comply with the decision. He called on his state's lawmakers to expand anti-discrimination laws to cover gays and lesbians.
Meanwhile, the Kansas Chamber of Commerce says legislators should not pursue a new religious objections law following an executive order from Governor Sam Brownback protecting clergy and religious groups. The influential business group issued a statement Wednesday saying that Brownback's executive order is a sufficient response to the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage across the nation. Kansas had banned gay marriage and refused to recognize such marriages from other states. Brownback said the high court ruling is a potential threat to religious liberties. Brownback's order Tuesday told Kansas government agencies that they can't punish ministers or religious groups for opposing same-sex marriage. The chamber said it recommends against expanding the order's scope or enacting a broader religious objections law because it worries about burdens on business.