November 13, 2018
I know from experience that laws are hard to pass -- and they're just as hard to change. That's by design. Laws are meant to provide some stability from one administration to the next. But apparently, someone needs to share that insight to the new governor of Kansas, Laura Kelly (D). The state's next chief executive didn't waste any time letting locals know that their democratically-passed adoption law would be the first thing she'll scrap. Forty-eight hours after her win, the administration seems to have a new motto: upholding the law is optional.
Kelly, who must have graduated from Barack Obama's school of lawlessness, kicked off her victory parade by thumbing her nose at the legislature. After Kansas scored a huge victory in May -- passing a law that would stop the attacks on faith-based adoption groups -- the new governor has flat-out said she won't enforce it. Kelly, who called the Adoption Protection Act "discriminatory" says she's already had her staff "review how far the state can go to avoid enforcing the law." In her first statehouse press conference, the new governor was clear, "If there is way to direct the agency to not implement that, then I will do that."
Of course, none of this should come as a surprise. Kelly was endorsed by the state's biggest LGBT activists -- and seems intent on showing her gratitude. For now, though, no one is quite sure how the new governor can bypass the law. It states, very clearly, that Kansas can't block licenses, permits, grants, or any other contracts to adoption agencies because of their beliefs. If a Christian group wants to place kids with married moms and dads, that's their right. And as Chuck Weber, the head of the Kansas Catholic Conference, pointed out, conservatives were "very careful in drafting that bill -- dotting i's and crossing t's and making sure that this would pass constitutional muster."
There's absolutely no reason -- except spite and intolerance -- to force everyone else to chuck their beliefs as a condition of serving children in need of homes. For years, faith-based adoption and foster care ministries have helped take the burden off of the government's overextended, finally-strapped social service agencies. And here's the irony. On the same day the governor-elect made her pronouncement, HHS released a report on showing that more kids need homes than ever. "The number of children waiting to be adopted is at a high," CNS News points out. In other words, the worst thing we could do – in Kansas or any state – is elbow groups out when kids need them most.
Unfortunately, this debate has never been about children. It's about forced conformity. "This is not a surprise, that Governor-elect Kelly would try to circumvent the will of the people of Kansas to advance her own radical agenda," Weber told reporters. After eight years of Obama, Democrats have become the party of lawlessness. Don't like a policy? Don't enforce it. Kansas's new governor already promised to roll back the privacy protections that had been in place under Sam Brownback. "I am planning to actually have an executive order drafted before I take office," she vowed, triggering a fiery new debate over bathrooms, workplace freedom, and religious liberty.
Increasingly elections have far reaching consequences. If you don't think it matters who's leading our communities, our states or our nation, you're not conscious. States like Kansas prove: the people put forth from two parties have never provided a starker contrast in values and ideology than they do today.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.