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Brian Brown's focus on Kansas, Gov. Brownback shows how much of a political game this is for him

by Jeremy Hooper

In a National Review Online commentary, Brian Brown, president of he deeply debt-ridden National Organization For Marriage, repeats his call for conservative Kansas governor Sam Brownback to just up and ignore court rulings, and stop same-sex couples from marrying in his state:

While voters may be helpless to do anything, states are not. It’s time for states to push back and put a stop to this unconstitutional usurpation of their right to define marriage. This push should start with Kansas.

Governor Sam Brownback has been a staunch defender of marriage. More than that, he’s a staunch defender of the voters of his state. In 2005, with the overwhelming margin of 70 percent of voter support, Kansans passed their constitutional amendment confirming the state’s historic understanding of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. We urge Governor Brownback to use his authority to order local clerks to refuse to issue marriage licenses in violation of state law. Although doing so obviously creates a conflict with the opinion of some federal judges, Kansas has every right to insist that this conflict be resolved by the Supreme Court. In the meantime, the state should not allow the spectacle of seeing its duly enacted laws ignored until the Supreme Court finally gets around to doing something.

This course of action not only is warranted as an appropriate exercise of state sovereignty but is especially appropriate in light of the fact that numerous federal courts, including the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and district courts in Louisiana and Puerto Rico, have upheld state marriage amendments like Kansas’s.
Kansas Is Right on Marriage [NRO]

Now obviously Brian's words are ludicrous and desperate. The idea that governor can just ignore the courts and wait for a US Supreme Court ruling, even though the US Supreme Court has already allowed Kansas to move forward with equality, has no grounding. Brian is just stamping his feet.

But more than that, his honing in on Kansas shows just how much of a political game this is for Brian and NOM. Because think about it. Why Kansas? Every day we get a new state that opens the door to equality and Brian could take this approach in any of them. The circumstances are near-identical in many other states. Why the intense scrutiny on this one state? It's quite arbitrary.

The reason, I believe, is because Brian knows he has a friend in Governor Brownback, who is a longtime champion of NOM's position. There are even some family ties that connect the governor to NOM's movement (the governor's daughter is married to an anti-equality activist who has spoken at several NOM rallies). Because of the close connections and political kinship, Brian surely hopes he can parlay the sway into some unprecedented move. We all know that Brian plays this whole thing like it's some sort of contest to score points against his opponents, and so I believe he's desperate to bend a friendly ear in order to gain some sort of traction in a game that he is so obviously losing. It's not because he has any better of a case to make in Kansas than he does in any other state; it's just that he has better access.

If Gov. Brownback were to take his marching orders from Brian, it would spark a heretofore unseen outcry and backlash that would blow up in their faces. I suspect Gov. Brownback knows this and will simply ignore Brian's attempts. But we shouldn't ignore Brian's attempts. They are so glaring in their willingness to put opportunistic politics above equal rights and judicial fairness.

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