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
In 2012, Diehl co-sponsored a bill that
sought to prohibit students from forming Gay-Straight Alliances in
Diehl and his wife are raising three