I was proud to partner with Garden State Equality in helping to voice Essex County’s opposition to Gov. Christie’s veto back in 2013 of legislation that would have allowed for same-sex couples to marry.
The policy change for driver’s licenses is a response to the USA Supreme Court’s recent decision legalizing same-sex marriage across the nation.
It prohibits state government from “taking any discriminatory action” against those who choose not to participate in a marriage that is ‘inconsistent with its sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman.’. “That’s disappointing and frankly, outrageous”.
On Tuesday morning before Brownback’s executive order, Kansas began accepting applications to add spouses of state workers married to someone of the same sex to their state health insurance benefits plans, according to Raw Story.
Gov. Brownback’s office did not answer questions from BuzzFeed News about whether the governor adopted same-sex marriage as state policy in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling. The state can either act in a timely manner to make those changes or it can wait until same-sex Kansas couples take the issues to court and force the state to act.
Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry said, “With the ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, the justices affirmed what a super-majority of Americans had come to understand: the freedom to marry is a precious, fundamental right that belongs to all, and that same-sex couples and our families share the same dreams and needs as any others”.
“This is a big hot potato and nobody wants got caught holding on to it”, said Witt.
The extension to religious social service agencies means that organizations such as faith-based adoption agencies and homeless shelters can refuse service to same-sex couples even if those agencies receive state funds.
Couples have been marrying in some local jurisdictions in Kansas since November pursuant to a prior federal appeals court ruling in favor of marriage equality and a subsequent district court ruling. Previously, the state has resisted making those changes in the days after the Supreme Court decision.
Terry Fox, Pastor of Summit Church in Wichita, Kansas, told Christian Examiner last fall that gay marriage is a states’ rights issue.
“We’re just trying to make sure we don’t miss anything”, she said. “We are still having this analyzed by our attorneys, but if this proves to be the case, the governor should be prepared to find himself on the losing end of more expensive litigation”.