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Best State Legislators, Kansas 

Sen. David Adkins and Rep. John Ballou

The gay-marriage issue that made the Rev. Jerry Johnston a star also played a role in flushing two longtime Johnson County politicians from the statehouse. But in their departures, Sen. David Adkins and Rep. John Ballou distinguished themselves as the kind of principled men we like to see in Topeka. Adkins made a filibusterlike stand to sabotage the passage of a proposal that would have constitutionally defined marriage as one man and one woman. Adkins, a moderate Republican, told the Pitch that after losing the Republican primary for Kansas attorney general to Phill Kline, there was nothing more the conservative branch of his party could throw at him. But others know that Adkins' dramatic stand took a big chunk out of any lingering hope he had of attaining statewide office. Adkins declined to run for re-election. In an odd parallel, Ballou was tossed out over the same issue. For nearly a decade, Ballou had been the conservative's conservative, as anti-abortion, anti-tax and anti-gun control as they come. But Ballou couldn't hang with the conservatives on the gay-marriage issue. Knowing he was jeopardizing his chance at re-election, he voted against the proposal twice, arguing that denying rights to a particular group wasn't his understanding of true conservatism. He wasn't surprised when a candidate rose to challenge him mostly on that single vote.

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