Politics & Government

January 24, 2014

Brownback: Kansas’ same-sex marriage ban could be vulnerable

Gov. Sam Brownback reasserted his opposition to same-sex marriage Friday, but also acknowledged the possibility that the state’s constitutional ban could be vulnerable to a challenge in court.

Gov. Sam Brownback reasserted his opposition to same-sex marriage Friday, but also acknowledged the possibility that the state’s constitutional ban could be vulnerable to a challenge in court.

This past month federal district court judges struck down same-sex marriage bans in Utah and Oklahoma. If those decisions are upheld on appeal, they could open the door for similar bans in other states – like the one in Kansas – to also be ruled unconstitutional.

Brownback addressed the issue in a news conference with reporters.

“This is an obviously evolving situation,” Brownback said. “We’ll deal with it however the court puts it forth. The people of Kansas have voted – nearly a 70 percent vote, I think – in favor of the constitutional amendment in the state of Kansas that marriage is a union between a man and a woman.

“That’s the law here. We’ll see what the courts do,” he added.

Brownback also weighed in on other controversies driving debate in Kansas.

•  School finance: “Every year I’ve been in office we’ve put more money into K-12 (education),” he said, pointing to charts that showed the overall number of teachers statewide has increased statewide each year he has been in office. The governor’s communications office later sent out an e-mail with data from the Department of Education that shows the student-teacher ratio across the state has stayed consistently around 15 to 1 since 2011.
•  Medicaid: “The (Obama) administration is altering Obamacare on a weekly basis. So let’s watch and see what else they do, and I think that’s frankly a prudent course. … I think Obamacare has not gone well and has been a wreck,” the governor said, explaining his decision not to expand Medicaid now. Brownback said he is focused on reducing the number of Kansans on the waiting list for Medicaid.
•  Sperm donor case: “I think you just got to follow what the court and what their statutory interpretation has been,” Brownback said on a Shawnee County District Court’s ruling that a man who donated sperm to a lesbian couple five years ago must now pay child support.

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