Governor Moves to Protect Religious Liberty after Marriage Ruling

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling imposing “gay marriage” across the nation, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback this week issued an Executive Order to shield clergy and religious organizations from government discrimination in his state.  Governor Brownback declared that “religious liberty is at the heart of who we are as Kansans and Americans, and should be protected.”

The Executive Order affirms that “the protection of religious liberty from government infringement is a constitutional and fundamental state interest,” and it declares that the state is “obligated” to pursue that goal.   The order warns that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling “poses potential infringements on the civil right of religious liberty,” and it declares that state action to “protect the free exercise of religious beliefs about marriage will encourage private citizens and institutions to demonstrate tolerance for those beliefs and convictions and therefore contribute to a more respectful, diverse, and peaceful society.”

Governor Brownback’s order prohibits state discrimination in tax treatment or exemption, charitable deductions, and access to grants, contracts, licenses, accreditation, and other related areas.  It also underscores the importance of the 2013 Kansas Preservation of Religious Freedom Act, which, like the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, prohibits burdening religious liberty unless the state can prove a “compelling government interest” and uses “the least restrictive means.”

  • Hear as Kansas Governor Sam Brownback talks on-air with Tony Perkins, President of Family Research Council, about this Executive Order.
  • Find a related NRB release following a similar preventative move by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal in May.

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations

Published: July 10, 2015

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