GOP Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas has inflicted untold damage on the economy of the state of Kansas and put the state's credit rating in peril as a result of his implementation (with the help of GOP members of the state legislature) of a classic version of the GOP's myth that slashing taxes for the rich will somehow magically generate more revenues. The increase in revenues never occurred and education spending and numerous other state programs had to be drastically cut to balance the state budget. Despite such gross mismanagement, Brownback squeaked by in his re-election effort largely because of the knuckle dragging Christofascists in his state. Now, as a pay back and a further case of self-prostitution to this foul element of the population, Brownback has signed a "religious freedom" executive order aimed at granting special rights to religious extremists in the wake of the ruling in Obergefell. Here are highlights from the Wichita Eagle:
Gov. Sam Brownback issued an executive order Tuesday prohibiting state government from taking action against clergy members or religious organizations that deny services to couples based on religious beliefs.
Among other things, the order is intended to protect religious organizations that provide adoption services for the state from having to place children with gay couples if it conflicts with their religious beliefs.
The governor's order came the same day that state workers were told their same-sex spouses could be added to their health plans.
Brownback said the order protects “Kansas clergy and religious organizations from being forced to participate in activities that violate their sincerely and deeply held beliefs.”
The order explicitly protects religious organizations that provide “social services or charitable services,” meaning that it extends beyond the wedding ceremony.
Tom Witt, executive director of Equality Kansas, a gay rights organization, called the order a “dog whistle” and said that it appears to “enable religious organizations that use taxpayer money to provide services to deny services to gay and lesbian couples.”
Micah Kubic, executive director of the Kansas chapter of the ACLU, said in a statement that the order means “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.”
The governor issued an executive order earlier this year that eliminated a protection against discrimination for gay state workers that had been established through executive order by Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.
Ron Nelson, a family law expert from Lenexa, said the order would mean that religious organizations that contract with the state to provide adoption services could refuse to place a child with a gay couple. “Any organization that contracts with the state that says their religious beliefs don’t allow them to do something, then they don’t have to do it,” Nelson said.