Watch: Conservative lawmaker, Iraq veteran crushes GOP gay bashing

By Stephen C. Webster
Tuesday, May 24, 2011 8:21 EDT
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In an amazing and impassioned speech, Minnesota State Rep. and wounded Iraq veteran John Kriesel (R) stood up to fellow Republican legislators before a vote on a constitutional amendment that would prohibit future lawmakers from legalizing same sex marriage.

“If this was five, six years ago, I probably would have voted yes,” he admitted — but “everything changed,” Kriesel said, after he was wounded in Iraq.

“It woke me up. It changed me,” he explained. “…Happiness is so hard to find for people. So they find it — they find someone that makes them happy — and we want to say you can be together, you can love that person, but you can’t marry them. That’s wrong. That’s wrong and I disagree with it.”

“This amendment doesn’t represent what I went to fight for,” Kriesel insisted, before holding up a photo of a gay soldier who was killed in Iraq.

“I don’t know about you guys, but I cannot look at this family, look at this picture, and say ‘You know what, corporal, you were good enough to fight for your country and give your life, but you were not good enough to marry the person you love.’ I can’t do that. I cannot do that and I won’t do that. If there was a ‘hell no’ button right here, I would press it. That would be the one I would press.”

The statehouse passed the marriage amendment by a vote of 70-62, with Kriesel being one of the only Republicans to vote against his party.

This video is from The Rachel Maddow Show, broadcast Monday, May 23, 2011.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Watch Kriesel’s full speech here, courtesy of The Uptake.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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