Missouri House Speaker John Diehl, a Republican opposed to marriage equality, on Thursday announced he was resigning amid a sexting scandal involving a college intern.

The Kansas City Star reported on Wednesday that Diehl had declined to discuss whether he was involved with a female college freshman who worked as an intern at the state legislature. But after the paper broke the story, Diehl released a statement admitting to the relationship.

On Thursday, Diehl, 49, said in a statement that he is resigning from both his leadership position and his legislative seat.

“For the good of my party, the caucus, and this state, I'm not going to further jeopardize what we have accomplished this year and what can be accomplished in the future,” he said. “Therefore, I will be resigning the position of Speaker of the House and the office of State Representative in a way that allows for an orderly transition.”

The intern, Katie Graham, 19, also stepped forward on Thursday. In a statement, she said, “this is extremely difficult for both families, and I hope everyone can begin the healing process.”

Diehl has been praised by the Missouri Family Policy Council, an affiliate of the Family Research Council (FRC), for filing an amicus brief in defense of Missouri's constitutional amendment defining marriage as a heterosexual union.

The group lauded the speaker “for demonstrating moral leadership and true integrity in standing up for he sacred institution of marriage and the family values of the people of Missouri.”

In 2012, Diehl co-sponsored a bill that sought to prohibit students from forming Gay-Straight Alliances in public schools.

Diehl and his wife are raising three sons.