A GOP lawmaker withdrew support for an anti-LGBTQ bill after his daughter called him out

  • Kansas state rep. Ron Highland was one of seven sponsors of the Marriage and Constitution Restoration Act, introduced in the state’s House of Representatives on February 13.
  • The bill would amend state law to define a same-sex marriage as a “parody marriage” and prohibit Kansas from enforcing policies that would protect the LGBTQ community.
  • Highland’s daughter, Christel Highland, wrote her father an open letter criticising his support for the bill.
  • Shortly after the letter was published to Facebook, Highland announced he was withdrawing his support.

A Republican lawmaker in Kansas withdrew his support for an anti-LGBTQ bill after his daughter shamed him in a letter she posted to Facebook.

Ron Highland, a member of the Kansas House of Representatives, was one of seven sponsors of the Marriage and Constitution Restoration Act, which would amend state law to define a same-sex marriage as a “parody marriage” and prohibit the state from enforcing policies that protect the LGBTQ community

Highland’s daughter Christel Highland, who identifies herself as a “proud member of Kansas City’s LGBTQ+ community,” wrote a letter to her father about the bill and posted it to Facebook on February 20.

“Further isolating the marginalized among the population you serve is far from your duty. Hate has no place in public policy,” she wrote. “I respectfully request an apology on behalf of my family and beloved friends that this cruel attempt at legislation impacts – viable or not – and I beg that you show yourself to be the honorable man I’ve always known you to be.”

Christel Highland told INSIDER she was “in shock” when she learned about the proposed bill, also known as HB 2320.

She ended her letter to her father by saying: “Legislation which 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.”

The Marriage and Constitution Restoration Act was first introduced on February 13 and calls for same-sex marriage to be ruled unconstitutional.

The bill also calls legal protections for the LGBTQ community “the greatest sham since the inception of American jurisprudence.”

After Christel Highland’s letter went public, Ron Highland withdrew his name from the bill.

In a statement to The Wamego Times newspaper seen by The Mercury, Highland said it was a mistake to support the bill and apologised.

“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 neighbours,” he said. “I have asked for my name to be removed from the bill. The process for doing so is in motion.”

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Christel Highland told INSIDER she is “cautiously optimistic” about her father’s decision to withdraw his support from the bill.

“I’ve since learned that there are similar bills receiving sponsorship in other states. In Kansas, HB 2321, called the optional elevated marriage act, still has his sponsorship,” she said.

The Optional Elevated Marriage Act, would also define same-sex marriage as “parody marriage,” and would establish an “elevated marriage” for straight couples looking for “higher standards of commitment.”

“I have not been able to study it in depth, but it is sponsored by a nearly identical group of legislators, and it seems to have similarly harmful language closely related to HB 2320,” she said.

Christel Highland told INSIDER she hasn’t spoken to her father since he announced his withdrawal. She plans to write him another letter, but will not post it publicly.

INSIDER has contacted Ron Highland for comment.

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