Dahlkemper: Faith-based letter ‘misinterpreted’

Peg Welch, center left, and her wife Delma Welch gather with others at a gay marriage rally on the steps of the state Capitol Tuesday, May 20, 2014, in Harrisburg, Pa. Pennsylvania's ban on gay marriage was overturned Tuesday by a federal judge in a decision that makes same-sex marriage legal throughout the Northeast. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Peg Welch, center left, and her wife Delma Welch gather with others at a gay marriage rally on the steps of the state Capitol Tuesday, May 20, 2014, in Harrisburg, Pa. Pennsylvania's ban on gay marriage was overturned Tuesday by a federal judge in a decision that makes same-sex marriage legal throughout the Northeast. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

ERIE, Pa. (AP) – Former Democratic congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper says her decision to sign a letter asking President Barack Obama to create a religious exemption to a planned executive order about gay and lesbian hiring is being “misinterpreted.”

Dahlkemper, who served one term in the House before losing her first re-election bid in 2010, was elected Erie County executive last year.

The Erie Times-News says Dahlkemper has been stung by criticism that she doesn’t support gay and lesbian rights since signing the letter. The letter was signed by faith-based leaders across the country, and urged the president to include a religious exemption when he signs an executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating against gays and lesbians in hiring.

Dahlkemper says she still supports gay rights, and was asked to sign the letter by a member of Obama’s 2010 campaign staff.

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