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Minnesota legislator introduces ‘ex-gay’ friend during marriage equality debate

By David Ferguson
Tuesday, March 12, 2013 11:11 EDT
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Glenn Gruenhagen house floor
 
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Minnesota state Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen (R) took an unusual step during hearings about same sex marriage in that state. According to Think Progress, Gruenhagen took a “point of personal privilege” during the hearing to introduce Kevin Petersen, Gruenhagen’s personal friend and his ally against the effort to legalize same sex marriage in the state.

“I have a close friend here,” Gruenhagen said during his testimony on Monday. “His name is Kevin Petersen. Kevin, why don’t you stand up and say hi? The interesting thing about Kevin is he was active in the gay lifestyle for about 10 years, and then he left it, got married, and he now has three children. Thank you.”

The testimony was part of the state’s House Civil Law Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearings on legislation that would legalize same sex marriage in the state. If the bill makes it through either of the two committees, a floor vote could be held within weeks.

Petersen and Gruenhagen founded the Pro-Marriage Amendment Forum, an anti-same sex marriage coalition that failed in its attempt in November 2012 to pass a an amendment to the state constitution defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

Petersen is an alumnus of the Exodus program, a religious counseling that claims to turn LGBT people into Christian heterosexuals. “Gay activists,” according to Petersen, recruit “sexually confused people” and convince them that “gay is good.”

Gruenhagen has called homosexuality “an unhealthy, sexual addiction.” To his thinking, the notion that sexual orientation is an immutable characteristic is an “unscientific lie.”

After Gruenhagen’s remarks, Speaker of the Minnesota House, Paul Thissen of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party informed the house that points of personal privilege will no longer be allowed as a way of recognizing family members, groups or personal friends.

Watch the video, embedded below via Think Progress:

[image via GlennForStateRep.com]

David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
 
 
 
 
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