The family of actor John Wayne is reacting to news this week that an effort to create a John Wayne Day failed to pass the legislature. The family said they didn't know the assembly was trying to get John Wayne Day passed "or we would have been there to speak on my father's behalf".
California lawmakers defeated the resolution earlier this week after opponents challenged what they say are racist statements by the late actor. Republican State Assemblyman Matthew Harper of Huntington Beach sought to declare May 26, 2016, as John Wayne Day to mark the day the actor was born.
An Orange County airport is already named after him. The bill, ACR137, is the sort of resolution that lawmakers frequently pass. But this one triggered a 20-minute debate Thursday before failing, 35-20, to what Harper called "the orthodoxy of political correctness."
Others lined up to denounce what Democratic Assemblyman Luis Alejo of Watsonville called Wayne's disturbing views on race.
Ethan Wayne posted on a Facebook page dedicated to his father, "I know that my father, John Wayne, had a great respect for all people no matter what color race or sexual preference they were. He taught us to treat all people the same. He felt strongly that things should be earned, and not given to someone simply because they were a man or woman or one race or another."
Several Republicans say Wayne is remembered worldwide as an American hero. They argued that lawmakers have honored others despite controversies that eventually clouded their legacies.
Click here to read the full statement from Ethan Wayne.