Governor’s aide says order not meant for local officials

Gov. Sam Brownback (KSN File Photo)

TOPEKA, Kansas – Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s chief spokeswoman says his recent executive order on same-sex marriage does not apply to local governments.

Brownback spokeswoman Eileen Hawley issued a statement Thursday in response to criticism from a gay rights leader.

The order this week protects clergy, churches and religious groups that refuse to participate in same-sex weddings or provide goods, services or accommodations for them.

The order says state agencies and political subdivisions shall not punish them for acting on their opposition to gay marriage.

Equality Kansas Executive Director Tom Witt said cities, counties, school districts and other local governments fall under the definition of political subdivisions.

An American Civil Liberties Union attorney agreed.

But Hawley said the order applies only to agencies and subdivisions over which the governor has legal authority.

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