A Rio Grande Valley lawmaker is using Father's Day to come out in favor of gay rights.
In an open letter, Texas State Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa (D-McAllen) says he favors equal rights and same-sex marriage.
Hinojosa shared a Father's Day letter addressed to his daughter Kris, who identifies herself as a homosexual.
The state senator wrote in the heartfelt letter that he loves his daughter unconditionally.
"It saddens me to know that you live your life in a society that views you as "different," or as someone who should not enjoy the same basic rights as a straight person does," Hinojosa wrote in his letter. "You are my daughter -- you deserve the same love and acceptance and to share in the same freedoms to marry the person you love."
The letter also serves as an op-ed piece for publications across the Valley.
Just last year, Hinojosa filed a bill to create civil unions for same sex couples.
The bill was defeated but Hinojosa remains committed to the cause.
A Father's Day Letter to my Daughter|..By Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa
From the moment you breathed life, when you first smiled up at me, I knew how strong the love of a father could be. An unconditional love for such an innocent child that only a father could know. As you began to grow, I hoped for a safe environment for you and wanted to protect you from the harsh realities of this unjust world.
But as you matured into a strong young woman, I began to realize there were cruelties I could not protect you from -- simply because of your sexual orientation. I could not protect you from the discrimination, ignorance or hate.
I knew that we have discriminated in our country against women until we gave them the right to vote. We discriminate, and often continue to do so, against African-Americans, people of Jewish decent, and Hispanics. However, I was unprepared for the discrimination you would experience for being gay.
As your journey into adulthood revealed that you are gay, it made no difference to me. You are still my daughter. You did not change. I will always love and support you unconditionally. Fathers love their children who have physical disabilities, intellectual disabilities, or are multi-ethnic. There are all kinds of children. A father's love is without end. Why would sexual orientation change anything?
I know you have encountered many challenges and struggles because of your sexuality, but I also know that my love has given you strength and courage. Views are changing as people begin to accept and understand that same-sex couples are part of our communities, culture and country. They live in our communities, work in our communities, attend church in our communities, and volunteer for our military where they fight for our freedom and liberty. They are our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, and colleagues and friends. Same-sex couples should be allowed the freedom to marry one another and be treated with dignity and respect.
It saddens me to know that you live your life in a society that views you as "different," or as someone who should not enjoy the same basic rights as a straight person does. You are my daughter -- you deserve the same love and acceptance and to share in the same freedoms to marry the person you love.
As a society we should not tolerate acts of discrimination, hate or violence for any reason. We are all equals. I remain committed to the cause of equality and most importantly in fighting to protect you and the children of all fathers. All men and women should have the freedom to choose their partner.
As you are all grown up now, you will still always be my little girl. I am very proud of you. I hope one day that you, too, can experience the love for a child. And I hope one day that your children will live in a world where they will not need protection for wanting to marry who they love.