Minnesota State Republican Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen, an outspoken opponent of marriage equality who last month called homosexuality an “unhealthy sexual addiction,” caused an uproar yesterday on the House floor when he broke protocol in order to introduce an “ex-gay” friend.
The Star Tribune reports:
Minnesota Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen caused an outcry on the House floor Monday when he introduced a visiting friend who he said had exited the “gay lifestyle.”
“He was active in the gay lifestyle for about 10 years, and then he left it, got married and he now has three children,” said Gruenhagen, R-Glencoe.
Soon after he made the comment, the House shut down the sound from the floor session, which was near its conclusion. According to legislators who were on the floor, some members were visibly outraged.
“It was a completely inappropriate statement to make on the House floor,” House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, said later. “I also think the content of his statement at that point in time in this legislative session was inappropriate in itself.”
In addition to being grossly offensive, Gruenhagen’s comments were made in violation of parliamentary procedure: he improperly used a “point of personal privilege” — which interrupts all other business on the floor and is only supposed to be called when a member feels his or her personal comfort has been unduly violated by the words or actions of another member — in order to forcibly introduce his “ex-gay” friend to his House colleagues.
Of course, the “pray away the gay” lie is totally devoid of merit; literally every single mainstream organization of medical and mental health professionals has come out against efforts to change sexual orientation because they don’t work and they harm people, increasing their risk of anxiety, depression, and even suicide.
On the bright side, it says a lot about the progress we’ve made in educating people about the dangerous “ex-gay” myth that Gruenhagen’s comments were greeted with revulsion by many of his House colleagues. While we certainly have a ways to go toward the eradication of the “ex-gay” myth, we’ve come a long way, baby!