Topeka — A prayer to open the House session on Thursday included comments about abortion, same-sex marriage and religious freedom.
Father James Gordon of St. John Vianney in Maple Hill, delivered the prayer, saying, "We ask you to strengthen our understanding of traditional marriage: one man and one woman. We ask you to bring us back to virtuous morals in society, morals that kept us from killing a child in the womb through abortion.
"We ask you to defend us now in the fight for true religious freedom and freedom of conscience, that seems to be threatened now in the public sphere."
Gordon was a guest of Rep. Mike Kiegerl, R-Olathe. People who are invited to lead the daily prayer to open the House session are asked to steer away from political topics.
House Speaker Mike O"Neal, R-Hutchinson, said Gordon's prayer "arguably went beyond" those guidelines.
House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, said the prayer was inappropriate.
"The prayer needs to be ecumenical," Davis said.
Thomas Witt, executive director of the Kansas Equality Coalition, which advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered persons, said, "Prayers at the beginning of the each day's session of the Legislature are meant to ask for the blessings of the creator. Using prayer to launch political attacks against one's opponents is unacceptable."