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Government

Gov. Brownback: Same-Sex Marriage Order Is Narrow

Governor Sam Brownback's chief spokeswoman says the governor's recent executive order on same-sex marriage does not apply to local governments.

Spokeswoman Eileen Hawley issued a statement yesterday in response to criticism from the group Equality Kansas.

The order this week protects clergy, churches and religious groups that refuse to participate in same-sex weddings or to provide goods, services or accommodations for them.

The order says state agencies and political subdivisions shall not punish them for acting on their opposition to same-sex marriage.

Tom Witt with Equality Kansas said cities, counties, school districts and other local governments fall under the definition of political subdivisions.

An American Civil Liberties Union attorney agreed.

Witt called the executive order an "unconstitutional power grab."

But Hawley said the order applies only to agencies and subdivisions over which the governor has legal authority.