The gay son of a former Ku Klux Klansman is planning to challenge a conservative Kansas legislator in the state’s primary election this August.
Erich Bishop, 28, announced his plans today during a rally at the state capitol in Topeka, The Topeka Capital-Journal reports. He will run in the Democratic primary against state representative Jan Pauls of Hutchinson, who despite her party affiliation “has been as right-wing as any of her Republican colleagues on social issues,” the newspaper reports. She recently has backed a bill that would allow state residents to opt out of laws that conflict with their religious beliefs, such as laws prohibiting anti-LGBT discrimination.
Today’s rally was a gathering of people opposed to that bill, which has been passed by the state House of Representatives and is awaiting a vote in the Senate. Bishop, announcing his candidacy while addressing the crowd, discussed experiencing bigotry firsthand.
“My father is a former member of the Ku Klux Klan,” he said. “To call my household as a child racist and homophobic would be an understatement. My father rightly faced opposition from people like you.”
Bishop has worked as a certified nurse assistant and last year earned a degree in philosophy from the University of Kansas, graduating with honors.
The pending legislation is a reaction to a gay rights ordinance adopted by the city of Lawrence, where the university has its primary campus. Read more here.