Hotdish Politics: Minnesota legislator's remark about "gay lifestyle” causes stir

  • Article by: RACHEL STASSEN-BERGER and BAIRD HELGESON , Star Tribune staff writers
  • Updated: March 11, 2013 - 7:36 PM
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Senator Warren Limmer, right, looked on as Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen cited studies saying "there is no gay gene" as one of the reasons he opposes a same-sex marriage bill. Wednesday, February 27, 2013.

Photo: Glenn Stubbe, Star Tribune

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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.”

He said he personally found the statement offensive.

Thissen also said that House members have used too much latitude in making end-of-floor-session “points of personal privilege” and asked them to rein those in. Republican and Democratic lawmakers said they approved of that Thissen instruction.

House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, said: “Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen’s comments today on the floor were inappropriate and it was not the proper use of a point of personal privilege.”

Two weeks ago, Gruenhagen drew national attention for saying, in the context of his opposition to legalizing same-sex marriage, that homosexuality was “an unhealthy, sexual addiction” and that “there is no gay gene.”

On Tuesday, the House and Senate will hold hearings on measures to legalize same-sex marriage.

RACHEL STASSEN-BERGER

 

Tax revenue below projections in February

Minnesotans paid less in tax in February than officials were expecting, a new revenue statement shows.

The state general fund took in $1.06 billion for the month, about $26 million less than projected. Income tax withholding was $566 million, $36 million below forecast. That was partly offset by strong sales tax collections, which came in at $370 million, $13.2 million more than projected.

Budget officials warn against reading much into monthly variances. Slight variations in when taxes are processed can create wild swings.

BAIRD HELGESON

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