At a press conference held by Republican opponents of marriage equality, Gruenhagen explained his view:
GRUENHAGEN: When we’re talking about gay marriage, we’re not talking about an immutable characteristic like the color of your skin. Okay? The human genome map was completed in 2003. There is no gay gene. Okay? So the concept that you’re born that way and it’s an immutable characteristic is an unscientific lie.
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When pressed by a reporter, Gruenhagen added. “It doesn’t matter what my opinion is. It matters what the scientific facts are… it is a sexual choice.”
Gruenhagen’s opposition to LGBT equality and science is nothing new. In 2011, he dismissed the work of biologist Alfred Kinsey, calling the late sexuality expert a “filthy, perverted unscientific liar” and calling for all of his research to be destroyed. Last year, he told a Tea Party rally that “the concept of sexual orientation was started by Sigmund Freud… he’s a pervert, he’s a moron in my opinion, and I don’t believe in anything that he came up with.”
Sen. Hall, a minister, noted in the same press conference that while this bill specifically protects religious leaders’ right not to officiate at same-sex weddings, a future bill might take that protection away. “I personally will go to jail,” he promised, “before I ever perform a marriage to a homosexual.”
Last November, voters in Minnesota both rejected a proposed marriage inequality constitutional amendment proposed by the then-Republican-controlled state legislature and elected new Democratic Farm Labor (Minnesota’s Democratic Party) majorities in both the state House and Senate. Both Hall and Gruenhagen were among those voting to put the amendment on the ballot. Governor Mark Dayton (D) has pledged to sign a marriage equality bill if it reaches his desk.