Minnesota State Rep. John Kriesel is on board with the effort to defeat a gay marriage ban at the 2012 ballot box.

Kriesel on Thursday confirmed to Politics in Minnesota that he is serving on the steering committee of Minnesotans United for All Families, the coalition working to defeat a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as a heterosexual union.

“I plan on being actively involved as much as I possibly can,” Kriesel told the publication.

During the debate in the House on whether to send the amendment to voters, Kriesel told colleagues that a near death experience while serving in Iraq changed his mind on the issue.

“It woke me up. It changed me,” Kriesel said. “Because of that, it's made me think about this issue. And say, 'You know what, what would I do without my wife?' She makes me happy. Life is hard. We're in a really tough time in our history. Happiness is so, so hard to find for people. So they find it, they find someone that makes them happy, and we want to take that person away. We want to say, 'Oh no, you can be together, you can love that person, but you can't marry them.' You can't marry them. That's wrong.”

On Friday, the Star-Tribune reported that Richard Carlbom was leaving his post as spokesman for St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman to lead Minnesotans United for All Families.

“We are going to get to know each other over the next few weeks and months – and share a common experience like none other,” Carlbom, 30, wrote in his announcement on Facebook.