Lawmaker ruffles feathers by introducing friend who left "the gay lifestyle"

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On the eve of legislative committees taking up a bill that would legalize same sex marriage in Minnesota, some lawmakers are stewing over a colleague's tactic on the House floor.

Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen, a Republican from Glencoe, introduced a friend who Gruenhagen said had been "active in the gay lifestyle for about 10 years" and then had left it behind.

Gruenhagen made headlines nearly two weeks ago, when he called homosexuality a choice and a "sexual addiction" that should not be recognized by state law.

His introduction of his friend Kevin Petersen Monday was deemed completely inappropriate by House Speaker Paul Thissen, who immediately admonished members to stop greeting friends or family members from the House floor.

Other DFLers in the House joined the speaker in condemning Gruenhagen's move. MPR reports the top Republican, House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, initially sought to sidestep the issue but later issued a statement calling Gruenhagen's comments inappropriate.

The liberal blog Bluestem Prairie has more on Petersen's work with Gruenhagen on last fall's unsuccessful effort to amend the state Constitution to recognize only opposite sex marriages.

Here's a video clip from the UpTake of Gruenhagen's remarks and Thissen's response:

Committees in both the House and Senate are scheduled to take up a bill on Tuesday that would repeal a law recognizing only opposite sex marriages.

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