Debate on same-sex marriage will resume today in Minnesota as both the House Civil Law Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee host hearings on a proposed equality bill. The legislation already has enough support to pass out of both committees and receive floor votes. Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen (R), a staunch opponent of marriage equality, got a headstart on the debate Monday with a particularly awkward use of a “point of personal privilege”:
GRUENHAGEN: I have a close friend here — the last couple years — 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.
Gruenhagen and Petersen worked together to try to pass November’s amendment to ban same-sex marriage, but were not successful. Last month, Gruenhagen explained his anti-gay positions by describing homosexuality as “an unhealthy, sexual addiction” and decrying any claim that it’s an immutable characteristic as “an unscientific lie.” Petersen believes that gay activists recruit “sexually confused people” by convincing them “that they can’t possibly change and gay is good.” He attributes his conversion to the ex-gay group Exodus and the Catholic celibacy group Courage.
Speaker Paul Thissen (DFL) made it clear after Gruenhagen’s comments that “points of personal privilege” will no longer be allowed for recognizing groups, family, or friends.