Governor Sam Brownback is working extra hard to deny same-sex couples their legal right to marry, despite every federal court's direction. Is this even legal?
At some point a duly-elected representative of the people has to follow the law.
Someone might want to let the uber-conservative, ultra-religious Kansas Governor Sam Brownback know.
In January, he'll become the nation's worst governor, since smart Pennsylvania voters threw Tom Corbett out of office last week.
After plunging his state into a fiscal calamity so great it will take a Good Witch or a Wizard to fix the disaster, Kansas voters learned this week, conveniently for the man they just re-elected, that their state's finances are in even worse shape than reported.
"How convenient for Gov. Sam Brownback: Six days after Kansas voters re-elected him, they discovered Monday that he had sold them a budget with a $1 billion black hole," the Kansas City Star reports. "Brownback and conservative Republican legislators approved deep individual income tax cuts that took effect in 2013, then thought these moves would magically bring in lots more jobs and more state revenues. It hasn't happened."
Why mention Kansas' fiscal emergency?
"Extending marriage to same-sex couples in Kansas would generate an estimated $14.1 million in spending to the state economy," the Williams Institute reported last month.
That's just one reason, of course.
The other reasons?
Last week, on Election Day, a federal judge struck down Kansas' ban on same-sex marriage. He stayed the ruling for a week. Gov. Brownback and his Attorney General asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stay the ruling longer.
Last night the nation's highest court said no, effectively requiring the State of Kansas to allow same-sex couples the right to marry.
Anyone remotely cognizant of the law understands there are no other avenues, there is no other recourse.
Someone might want to let Kansas Governor Sam Brownback know.
"Gov. Sam Brownback isn't giving up on defending the state's gay-marriage ban despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling clearing the way for same-sex marriages in his state," the AP reported last night. "The Republican governor supports the ban and has said it is worth defending because voters overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the state constitution against gay marriage in 2005."
After the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the governor issued a statement saying he took an oath to support the state constitution.
He added that he would review the decision and consult with state Attorney General Derek Schmidt on "how best we continue those efforts."
This morning, the Governor and his Attorney General came up with a plan to "best continue those efforts."
AG Schmidt is claiming the ruling striking down the Kansas ban on same-sex marriage "applies only in Douglas, a northeastern Kansas county, and Sedgwick, in south-central Kansas, where the court clerks are defendants," the AP reports this morning. "The American Civil Liberties Union contends the ruling applies in all 105 counties."
The legal situation in Kansas is complicated by another case before the Kansas Supreme Court, which Schmidt filed last month. He persuaded the Kansas court to block marriage licenses for same-sex couples, at least while his case is heard.
Marriage licenses in Kansas are issued by district court clerks' offices after a mandatory three-day wait. In Johnson County, Court Clerk Sandra McCurdy said about 70 applications from same-sex couples are pending.
"Until I hear something from the Kansas Supreme Court, I'm not issuing any marriage licenses," McCurdy said.
How many courts will it take to tell Gov. Brownback that same-sex couples have the legal right to marry in all 105 counties in his state?
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