Gov. Brownback pondering religious objections legislation

TOPEKA, Kansas (AP) – The U.S. Supreme Courts decision to legalize same sex marriage across the nation still not being met with rave reviews by the leaders our state.

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback says he’s considering proposing a new religious objections law for Kansas following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision legalizing gay marriage across the nation.

Brownback on Thursday also defended the state’s refusal so far to allow gay and lesbian spouses to change their last names on driver’s licenses or to file joint income tax returns. The governor said his administration wants to make sure such changes are handled correctly.

Wichita lawyer Kurt Kerns with Ariagno, Kerns, Mank and White says this case is more about equal rights rather than religious freedoms.

“It makes no logical sense from a legal position to say two gay people don’t have the same rights as two straight people,” said Kerns.

Republican legislators have spoken out since the ruling came down.

In a statement released last Friday, State Senate President Susan Wagle released this statement, that they want to:

“Make sure Kansas residents who personally oppose gay marriage aren’t required to perform same-sex weddings or participate in them.”

Additionally, Eileen Hawley, a spokesperson for Gov. Sam Brownback released this statement on Thursday:

“The Governor has held several meetings with cabinet secretaries and state agencies to understand the full implications of the ruling. At the same time, the Governor recognizes that religious liberty is at the heart of who we are as Kansans and Americans and should be protected.”

However, those like Kerns say religious freedoms and liberties aren’t harmed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage.

“This threatens religious liberties exactly zero,” said Kerns.

Brownback has been a strong supporter of the state’s ban on same-sex marriage that was reinforced by a 2005 amendment to the Kansas Constitution.

The governor said religious liberties need to be protected. As for legislation next year, he said, “We’re looking at that.”

Gay-rights leader Tom Witt said Brownback is defying the high court ruling.

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