The top Republican in the Minnesota Senate is under fire for his comments about homosexuality.
In November, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka gave an interview to the Truth & Liberty Coalition, a Christian activist organization, and it resurfaced this week thanks to an article by the recently launched political news website Minnesota Reformer.
The story has caught the attention of a number of state lawmakers, some of whom have made statements condemning Gazelka's remarks.
In the interview, given Nov. 25, Gazelka suggests same-sex attraction results when "there's not a good connection" with the "biological parent... of the same sex."
You can view this comment in the video below just after the 49:00 mark:
Gazelka also equates childhood trauma with homosexuality, telling the story of a "lady that was a lesbian" who had been "chained to a toilet as a like two, three, four, five-year-old girl and raped by her dad, for years and years."
"How do you think she's gonna feel?" he added.
In talking about his choice to vote against a bill banning "gay conversion therapy" in Minnesota, Gazelka had this to say:
"If somebody comes into (a therapist’s) office and says 'I'm gay,' I'm hoping they help them. They've got a myriad of issues, (and) they don't have to work just on that issue to help that adolescent."
The interview prompted a press release from the DFL, in which the party calls Gazelka's comments "highly bigoted" and slams him for attributing "identifying as a lesbian to prior sexual trauma."
In the DFL's release, party communications director Brian Evans is quoted as saying that Gazelka's comments "are exactly the attitudes that made it so difficult for me to come out and still make it hard for LGBT Minnesotans to simply be who we are."
He then goes on to mention Gazelka's public rift with his child, Genna Gazelka (who identifies as bi-gender and uses they/their pronouns), who in May condemned their father for his vote on conversion therapy.
At the time, the younger Gazelka also revealed to the Star Tribune that they were sent to a "therapist who decried same-sex relations," which was "tantamount to what could be said of torture or sexual torture.”
"How can Minnesota’s LGBT community expect compassion from a man who turned his back on his own child?" Evans said.
Meanwhile, lawmakers and other party leaders are sounding off on Twitter, including former state representative Erin Maye Quade, who attacked Gazelka's interview in a series of tweets: