Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has, once again, done something to make life worse for people in his state in order to pander to his religious base.
Under the order, the state can’t take action against a religious organization, including those providing social services, based on their opposition to same-sex marriage. The order means the state can’t take into account opposition to same-sex marriage when deciding whether to award grants or contracts with an organization, nor can it pull a group’s license or accreditation.
The order says the state can’t alter or take away the tax status or tax deductions afforded to religious organizations that oppose same-sex marriage.
In large part, the Order just reiterates what the Constitution already says. Despite what the Religious Right might have you believe, pastors aren’t going to have to officiate same-sex marriages and their churches won’t have to treat gay couples with any dignity.
But there are serious concerns with the reach of this Order:
Tom Witt, director of the gay rights group Equality Kansas, said the order may result in more litigation.
“The plain language seems to suggest that religious organizations that have contracts to provide taxpayer-funded social services will be able to deny taxpayer-funded services to LGBT Kansans. 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,” Witt said.
This is just what you expect from politicians who think the Bible trumps the Constitution. Gay and lesbian couples finally have the ability to get married, and Brownback (a Roman Catholic) responds by making sure religious groups receiving taxpayer money have the opportunity to discriminate against them with no punishment.
Here’s another concern:
Worse, let’s say you’re a gay person and are rushed to a Kansas hospital. If that hospital in any way is governed by a religious institution — and a great many are — they might refuse you services, or refuse to allow your spouse to make decisions for you, without any fear of state government interference. And if that hospital doesn’t accept federal funds, they are entirely off the hook, allowed to treat you and your spouse any way they please.
Earlier this year, by the way, Brown rescinded an Executive Order from the previous governor that protected LGBT state employees from discrimination. So a public school teacher who happens to be gay could now be fired by a hostile Christian administrator.
That’s the sort of awful human being Brownback is. He makes Texas look liberal. And religious people in his state don’t give a damn that LGBT people in the state are going to suffer because of his unwarranted fears about religious persecution.