A politician in the state of Kansas has said gay people are a “third sex”.

The lawmaker, Republican representative Dick Jones, made the comments during a committee hearing which met with a florist who is being sued for refusing to provide flowers for a wedding.

Jones said that the “third sex”, gay and lesbian people, had been created by the US Supreme Court by legalising same-sex marriage last year.

He said: “The Supreme Court has, in fact, established a third sex for all intents and purposes. So there’s male and female and gay.”

“And they have brought on all of the elements of equality as they probably should have for that. But we must not forget that gay is strictly a sexual preference. It’s not a separate sex. But until we get the public to accept that, your desire to live in your Christian ethic, I think, is practically doomed, and I’m sorry to say that.”

Arlene's Flowers

The committee had met with Stutzman, who is being sued by the ACLU alongside the gay man whose wedding she refused to provide flowers for, to discuss the issue of “religious freedom.”

Kelly Fiedorek, an attorney who accompanied Stutzman would not weigh in on any individual piece of legislation.

“It’s very important to respect everyone. I think that’s something as lawmakers, you especially have a responsibility to do that and ensure that,” Fiedorek said.

However the meeting was criticised by gay rights group Equality Kansas.

Tom Witt, the charity’s director said: “Had this not been a one-sided presentation, we would have had an opportunity to set him straight on his understanding of what sexual orientation actually means.”

Supporters of the florist last year raised over $100,000 (£67,300) to pay Stutzman’s legal fees.