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Kansas lawmaker writes newsletter criticizing ‘homosexual agenda’

Kansas Rep. Francis Awerkamp, a St. Marys Republican, claimed that students were brought to the state Capitol “to promote the homosexual agenda.”
Kansas Rep. Francis Awerkamp, a St. Marys Republican, claimed that students were brought to the state Capitol “to promote the homosexual agenda.” jsleezer@kcstar.com

A Kansas lawmaker who wrote to his constituents recently about “the so-called ‘LGBTQ’ movement” and “the homosexual agenda” sparked a quick rebuke from the leader of an LGBT rights group.

In the newsletter, Rep. Francis Awerkamp, a St. Marys Republican, described an interaction during the 2017 legislative session where he said “organizers brought students to the Capitol to promote the homosexual agenda.”

Awerkamp said he explained to them “a man is a man, a woman is a woman, and marriage is between a man and a woman, and this is a reality that we cannot change.

“The teachers, one of whom was a man wearing a skirt ‘identifying’ as a woman, quickly led the students away,” Awerkamp wrote. “Re-establishing family values in our country will require effort, but a great first step is to stop using taxpayer dollars to teach, promote, and encourage the homosexual agenda.”

Earlier in the message, he wrote that “many attempts to undermine parental rights or advance the progressive agenda against the natural law were defeated this year,” but he never explained what those attempts were.

Though the lengthy newsletter details Awerkamp’s thoughts on the recently passed tax, budget and school finance bills, he doesn’t explain or give evidence for his comment on taxpayer dollars being used in the way he described.

Tom Witt, executive director of the LGBT rights group Equality Kansas, said Awerkamp’s comments seem to be referring to an equality day event his group held during the 2017 legislative session.

Witt said teenagers were at the event, but they weren’t there as part of a school function. There were no taxpayer dollars expended to have them visit their representatives and senators, he said.

“First of all, the only transgender teacher that was at our equality day was wearing pants, not a skirt,” Witt said. “Awerkamp is letting stereotypes control his thinking, and his comments about the people that were there are nothing but disrespectful and demeaning.”

Awerkamp did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Star on Thursday morning.

Hunter Woodall: 785-354-1388, @HunterMw

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