A Minnesota House member's statements
made on the House floor one day before the beginning of a debate over
gay marriage sparked an outcry.
Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen, a Republican
from Glencoe, on Monday used a procedural tactic known as “points
of personal privilege” to introduce a close friend, Kevin Petersen.
“The interesting thing about Kevin is
he was active in the gay lifestyle for about 10 years,” Gruenhagen
told colleagues. “And then he left it, got married and now he has
The introduction drew an audible outcry
from members. (The video is embedded on this page. Visit
our video library for more videos.)
Gruenhagen and Petersen formed the
Pro-Marriage Amendment Forum to promote passage of a constitutional
amendment which sought to define marriage as a heterosexual union.
Minnesota voters turned down the amendment last November.
The remarks came a day before the House
and Senate are set to begin committee hearings on a marriage equality
Gruenhagen two weeks ago criticized the
effort to make Minnesota the 10th state to legalize such
unions, saying that its legalization would promote the “lie” that
being gay is not a “sexual choice.”
“There is no gay gene, OK? The
concept that you're born that way and it's an immutable
characteristic is an unscientific lie,” the
Pioneer Press quoted Gruenhagen as saying.
House Speaker Paul Thissen, a Democrat
from Minneapolis, responded at the end of the session by adding
restrictions to the use of “points of personal privilege,” saying
members could only use it to recognize groups, not friends and