Kansas Republican candidate Steve Fitzgerald knew he was speaking to a Democratic and Catholic audience when he told them they could not be good Christians and also support their party's platform on same-sex marriage.
But he says he doesn't understand the flap that ensued and ended up being recounted in The Huffington Post.
"I can't believe this is getting attention," said Fitzgerald of Leavenworth, who is challenging incumbent Democrat Kelly Kultala of Kansas City, Kan., for the 5th District seat in the Kansas Senate. "Here I am on a Monday night in Kansas, in the basement of a church speaking to 25 people, and what I'm saying is not new. I'm not even close to the only one who has said this. It's no big deal."
It's a big deal to Kultala, who describes herself as "a cradle Catholic" who says she grew up with the Democratic ethos of compassion and tolerance. The event was a candidate screening Oct. 8 by the Polish American Club at the St. Joseph-St. Benedict Catholic Church in Kansas City, Kan.
"I said to the crowd that someone is not allowed to come into our house and disrespect our Democratic Party, and my job as your senator is not to tell you what your morals should be," said Kultala, who received the club's endorsement.
Fitzgerald said he believes it is important for the country to have two political parties. "I call on you to fix the Democrat Party or leave it," he said he told the club.
The Democratic Party's platform supports same-sex marriage. Kultala said she and the party are tolerant of many different types of families. She said the issue is moot in Kansas, which in 2009 overwhelmingly supported a state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.