Minnesota State Rep. John Kriesel is among the Republicans joining the fight against a proposed gay marriage ban in the state.

On Thrusday, Kriesel announced that his group Republicans Against the Minnesota Marriage Amendment had joined Minnesotans United for All Families, the leading coalition opposed to banning gay marriage in the state's constitution.

“I'm Republican because I believe in individual liberty and freedom,” Kriesel said. “I believe this is an attack on that.”

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.”

Also joining the coalition are gay GOP group Log Cabin Republicans, which includes a number of prominent Republicans, Richard Painter, who was associate counsel for President W. Bush and Republican consultant Wheelock Whitney.