A Colorado state representative has said she is ‘disappointed’ by an email sent by her own campaign team which outed her gay son to her supporters.

Republican Marsha Looper’s campaign manager forwarded an email which praised Ms Looper, and God, for her help in defeating a bill which would have given gay couples the right to form civil unions, the Denver Post reports.

The email said that in early May Ms Looper had secured an amendment in the Senate Bill on civil unions “to protect religious organizations and different kinds of counselors from harm for disagreeing with the civil unions provisions had it passed. (Praise God!)”

“God is truly to be praised for Marsha Looper because she also has a homosexual son.”

On 15 May, the bill was killed by a committee in the state House of Representatives, which the Republicans control 33 to 32, without a full vote.

Looper was “very, very disappointed” that her son’s sexual orientation was mentioned in the recent email.

She said: “I love my son. I always will. He has said, ‘Mom, I want my privacy.’”

In a statement, Ms Looper said: “I am disappointed that my campaign manager forwarded an email that would include any member of my family in policy discussions. My opinions, financials and policies are appropriate discussions for the campaign, however my family members’ personal lives are not a legitimate avenue for my campaign, or any other campaign to discuss.”

Gay Denver Democrat and House Minority Leader Mark Ferrandino co-sponsor of the civil unions bill, said: “I wonder if her son appreciates being used in this way.”

Ms Looper is facing a battle against House Majority Leader Amy Stephens next month to keep her seat after a reapportionment of the House districts.