Openly gay Minnesota state Senator Paul Koering is being criticized for going out with a porn star, the Minnesota Independent reported.

Koering is a two-term senator who is facing a difficult August 10 Republican primary. He came out to his Fort Ripley constituents in 2005 after breaking rank with Republicans over a bill that called for a constitutional ban on gay marriage. The bill was sponsored by Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, a former member of the Minnesota Senate. But last year, Koering voted against a gay marriage bill.

The date was revealed when porn actor Brandon Wilde tweeted: “Dinner with (Mn) senator was Amazing he is a great guy :).”

The 45-year-old Koering told gay porn website The Sword that he did “not see anything wrong with going out with him.”

“Do I think that being a porn star is the best thing? No. But that's his choice,” Koering said. “I think he's a nice guy.” Koering said he met Wilde at a gay pride picnic.

Wilde, who divides his time between West Hollywood and Brainerd, has starred in videos for gay porn websites such as My Brother's Hot Friend and Cruiser Boys, and once advertised as an escort on the site

Wilde told The Sword that Koering told him that if re-elected “he'd make it so gay marriage was legal in Minnesota.” A claim Koering has denied.

The chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota said Koering had shown “incredibly poor judgment.”

“Instead o focusing his efforts on job creation and the betterment of Senate District 12, Paul Koering has demonstrated incredibly poor judgment by spending time with an escort and pornographic film star,” Tony Sutton said in a statement to the Brainerd Dispatch.

Paul Gazelka, Koering's GOP primary challenger, told the paper that it was inappropriate for any politician to date a porn star.

“If you're a politician, you need to represent your area,” Gazelka told ABC affiliate KSTP, “and I felt that what he's doing doesn't come close to representing the values here in central Minnesota.”

Gazelka, a former state representative, also said that Koering's alleged comment to Wilde that he'll work to legalize gay marriage would be an issue in the campaign.

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM), the nation's most vocal opponent of gay marriage, recently launched a $200,000 campaign in the state urging voters to call on lawmakers to take up the issue of defining marriage as a heterosexual union in the Minnesota Constitution.

In the ad, NOM called Minnesota “the next key battleground state” in the gay marriage debate, and claimed that state lawmakers were preparing to legalize the institution.

Social conservatives worked overtime to derail Koering's 2006 re-election bid.