Barbara Shelly

Sam Brownback’s hypocritical Independence Day message

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback says he is considering proposing a new religious objections law following the U.S. Supreme Court's legalization of gay marriage, and he defended his administration's resistance to the ruling.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback says he is considering proposing a new religious objections law following the U.S. Supreme Court's legalization of gay marriage, and he defended his administration's resistance to the ruling. The Associated Press

In light of his resistance to complying with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s Independence Day message is nothing short of preposterous.

Here’s the message, in full:

“On July 4, we celebrate the birthday of America. We remember the founding generation — their courage, their resolve, and their love of country. It was the conviction that all men are created equal and endowed with certain unalienable rights that compelled the Founders to face the mighty British Army on the battlefield. The Declaration of Independence was their creed.

“This love of liberty is the Founders’ legacy. It is not passed down in the bloodstream, but in the hearts and minds of Americans. We must cultivate a similar love of freedom in ourselves and our children, as we seek to preserve our rights and liberties.

God Bless America.”

But in the heart and mind of the governor of Kansas, this love of freedom and liberty does not extend to gay and lesbian citizens.

Kansas is now one of the few states where same-sex couples who marry cannot yet change their last names on their driver’s licenses. There is no word on whether newly married gay and lesbian couples can file joint tax returns. And Brownback has instructed state agencies not to change policies to accommodate same-sex couples, which means state employees who are gay cannot add their spouses to their state health plans.

Oh, and Brownback has hinted he will push for some kind of “religious freedom” law enabling people to deny services to same-sex couples during the next legislative session. Exactly what Kansas’ faltering business climate does not need.

Brownback’s stance toward gay and lesbian citizens is beginning to look pathological. He revoked an anti-discrimination policy a few months ago, and now he is resolutely denying gay Kansans the full benefits of marriage.

The good news is that Brownback will lose this fight, through lawsuits if necessary. A majority of Supreme Court judges have ruled that marriage equality for gay and lesbian Americans is the law of the land.

With that in mind, I will echo the closing remark of Brownback’s Independence Day message.

God Bless America. On that much we can all agree.

To reach Barbara Shelly, call 816-234-4594 or send email to bshelly@kcstar.com. On Twitter @bshelly.

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