US: Kansas Democrat defects to Republicans over ‘homosexual agenda’

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

An anti-gay Kansas Democrat has announced she will defect to the Republicans, citing the “homosexual agenda” and Democratic “hostility” to her views.

Jan Pauls, who sits in the state’s House of Representatives, announced her decision yesterday at a joint conference with GOP legislators and state Republican Chairman Kelly Arnold.

Pauls is one of the loudest anti-gay voices in the House, authoring the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, and pushing for a constitutional amendment.

Last year, she fought to keep the state’s sodomy ban on the books, and has repeatedly argued against anti-discrimination laws.

Explaining her decision to leave the Democrats, Pauls singled out Tom Witt – the executive director for Equality Kansas – claiming his “homosexual agenda” in the party had made it “hostile” to her views.

Pauls claimed that Witt sought to have her censured by the Democrats for her anti-gay views, while he has confirmed to Associated Press that he will work to prevent her re-election.

Earlier this week, Topeka, home of the Westboro Baptist Church, became the second city in Kansas to pass equality laws banning anti-gay discrimination, following Lawrence.

In February, a bill which would have allowed religious business owners to discriminate against gay people won approval from the House, but was vetoed by committee..

Several attempts have been made in the state to pass bills banning anti-gay discrimination outright, but none have maintained traction in the conservative legislature. 

The state does not recognise same-sex marriage.

Kansas Amendment 1 states: “The marriage contract is to be considered in law as a civil contract. Marriage shall be constituted by one man and one woman only. All other marriages are declared to be contrary to the public policy of this state and are void.”