Kansas lawmaker Ron Highland has withdrawn his support for a bill characterising same-sex unions as “parody marriage” after his daughter, who identifies as LGBT, wrote him a letter condemning his actions.
The Kansas lawmaker admitted he was wrong to support the bill and apologised in a statement to the local newspaper The Wamego Times, quoted in The Mercury.
“The bill that I should not have signed on to cosponsor contained some hateful language which I do not condone, and it is against our Lord’s command to love our neighbors,” he wrote.
His daughter Christel Highland made the letter public via Facebook on Wednesday (February 20), a week after a group of lawmakers spearheaded by Republican representative Randy Garber, introduced legislation defining same-sex unions as “parody” in opposition to “elevated” heterosexual weddings.
“Legislation that reeks of utter disrespect toward anyone, actively striving to make the lives of others more difficult is beneath you.”
— Christel Highland, daughter of Kansas lawmaker Rep. Ron Highland
Christel, who identified herself as “a proud member of Kansas City’s LGBTQ+ community,” said she was “personally offended by the egregious nature of Kansas Representatives’ proposed legislation” and wrote a heartfelt letter to her father, asking him to reconsider his position and apologise.
“Hate has no place in public policy,” she wrote, “Ultimately, what is right can never be something that hurts another. You taught me that.”
She concluded the message writing: “Legislation that reeks of utter disrespect toward anyone, actively striving to make the lives of others more difficult is beneath you. I love you, I always will, in spite of your flaws. I cannot, however, condone your cruel actions. Shame on you.”
Sharing the news of her father’s apologies on Friday (February 22), Christel commented: “Now I have to write another letter. ❤️”
She also issued a statement to local media.
“It took strength to do what my Father did, and I’m proud of him for setting an excellent example to his colleagues and constituents by removing his co-sponsorship from HB 2320,” the statement read, quoted in The Wichita Eagle.
It added: “I think this situation is an example of what is possible if we work together toward good with love in our hearts. I can only hope that this is a step in a positive direction where we work to make the pursuit of happiness easier for one another irrespective of birthplace, race, beliefs, or orientation.”