About a week after the state Senate voted down a proposed ban on gay conversion therapy for kids, the adult child of the Republican who led that vote is speaking out.
Genna Gazelka's father is Sen. Paul Gazelka, the majority leader of the Minnesota Senate. The younger Gazelka — who identifies as bi-gender and uses "they/their" pronouns — spoke to the Star Tribune on Friday in an exclusive interview.
“My question is, how can you say you love me and still do this, and do it at the governmental level, exercise your governmental authority, because you can’t stop me in my individual life,” they said of their father's vote.
Gazelka also told the paper they were sent to a "therapist who decried same-sex relations," which was "tantamount to what could be said of torture or sexual torture.”
As the Star Tribune notes, Sen. Gazelka denied sending Genna to "sexual-identity conversion" as a teen. You can read the rest of the report (and watch a video interview with Genna Gazelka) right here.
More about the failed ban on conversion therapy
As the Pioneer Press reports, DFL Sen. Scott Dibble of Minneapolis attached the proposal to a larger budget bill; it would have stopped any state money going toward such therapy, and also would have forbid mental health providers "from using it to treat children and vulnerable adults."
Last Wednesday, the paper notes, it failed in the Republican-controlled Senate, with some GOP senators expressing concern the ban would "amount to government intrusion into people’s lives."
Though there was some GOP support for the ban (most notably from Sen. Scott Jensen of Chaska), a group of about "a half-dozen Republicans" threatened to vote against the "gigantic health and human services budget bill it was attached to" if it passed, City Pages reports.
“It put the entire omnibus bill at risk,” Jensen told the paper, citing this as a reason the ban failed to pass.
Conversion therapy is a deeply contentious issue and has come under severe criticism in the science community; according to The Trevor Project, "no credible scientific study has ever supported the claims of conversion therapists to actually change a person’s sexual orientation."