- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 7, 2015

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has issued an executive order aimed at protecting clergy, religious leaders and religious groups from being penalized by the state for opposing same-sex marriage.

The order, issued Tuesday, said the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last month legalizing gay marriage across the nation has the potential to infringe upon religious liberties.

The state and U.S. constitutions protect religious liberties, and Kansas enacted a law in 2013 saying that state and local agencies can’t substantially limit someone’s exercise of religion without a compelling reason.

The order says state agencies can’t alter contracts with individuals or religious groups, change their tax status or deny them licenses or tax breaks based on their refusal to perform same-sex marriages or provide services for such marriages.

Separately, Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, said Wednesday that four Catholic bishops — Kansas City Archbishop Joseph Naumann, Dodge City Bishop John Brungardt, Salina Bishop Edward Weisenburger, and Wichita Bishop Carl Kemme — signed a statement in support of Mr. Brownback’s executive order.

“When five individuals on the Supreme Court redefined the institution of marriage for the entire country,” the bishops said, “the Kansas marriage amendment approved by 70 percent of the voters in 2005 was struck down.”

“In this country religious freedom has meant the right to live one’s faith in one’s daily life, at home and at work, in private and in public,” they wrote, according to Catholic League.

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