Members of the House either clapped or groaned.
Just as the House was about to adjourn, Speaker Thissen ruled that points of personal privilege had gotten out of hand in the past few sessions, declaring that they would no longer be allowed for random shout-outs to personal friends and family members visiting the House.
Update: the AP reports about the incident in Minn. lawmaker's 'gay lifestyle' aside stuns peers. [end update]
It's unclear whether Thissen knew about Petersen and Gruenhagen's 501(c)(4), the Pro-Marriage Amendment Forum.
Via Mike McIntee at the Uptake, here's the transcript:
Paul Thissen: Announcements?Representative Gruenhagen.Glenn Gruenhagen: Point of personal privilegeThissen: State your point of personal privilegeGruenhagen: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I have a close friend here. The last couple years. His name is Kevin Petersen. Kevin why don't you stand up and say hi.The interesting thing about Kevin is he was active in the gay lifestyle for about ten years and then he left it, got married and he now has three children. Thank you.(light applause)(minutes later) Thissen: Members an announcement by the Speaker.So we have had for a long time on this floor the use of points of personal privilege to recognize friends and family, groups in the audience. That's actually not what points of personal privilege are for. They're to deal with issue of privilege of members of this House on the floor. So from now on, it really has gotten out of hand over the last several sessions, from now on if you have a point of privilege about something that's going to be happening that relates to you as a member of this body and it's about your personal privilege, that will be recognized. But we're not going to be recognizing groups. We're not going to be recognizing family members and friends on the House floor. You can do that in another form in another format.
Here's the clip:
[Update:] Minnesota Public Radio's Tom Scheck reports more of the reaction in Minn. lawmaker's 'gay lifestyle' aside stuns peers:
Several members of the Minnesota House are criticizing Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen, R-Glencoe, for introducing a friend on the House floor by saying that that he said "exited the gay lifestyle." . . .
Rep. Michael Paymar, DFL-St. Paul, said he was shocked by Gruenhagen's comments.
"It was an absolutely inappropriate use of the privilege of the House and it was very offensive. I'm glad the speaker ruled the way that he did," Paymar said.
. . . Gruenhagen couldn't be reached for comment after his speech. . . .GOP House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt initially sidestepped questions about Gruenhagen's comments, but later issued a statement calling Gruenhagen's comments "inappropriate." He agreed with Thissen on the decision to stop allowing members to announce guests on the House floor.
What Gruenhagen didn't tell his colleagues is his own relationship with Petersen, an arrangement that's no surprise for Gruenhagen watcher.
As the American Independent reported last February in Ex-gay movement deeply tied to marriage amendment push, Gruenhagen and Petersen had formed the Pro-Marriage Amendment Forum:
"A Republican state legislator and a man who claims to be a “former homosexual” have teamed up to support an anti-gay-marriage amendment to the Minnesota constitution.
The group — called the Pro-Marriage Amendment Forum — is just one example of the deep ties between backers of the marriage amendment and the “ex-gay” movement. The connections have left some LGBT advocates wondering if it’s not just gay marriage these groups are opposing, but rights for LGBT people as a whole. .. .
Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen, a Republican who represents the city of Glencoe about an hour southwest of Minneapolis, and Kevin Peterson, a man who says he was gay until the age of 33, started the Pro-Marriage Amendment Forum in order to raise money in support of the amendment. They are planning to show a series of Powerpoint presentations around the state.
Neither gentleman responded to requests by The American Independent for further information about the organization, but both did appear on the Late Debate, a conservative-libertarian radio program based in the northern suburbs of Minneapolis-St. Paul, last week.
'Kevin and I formed a 501(c)(4), and the purpose is to advocate and educate people regarding the upcoming vote in November,' said Gruenhagen. 'It’s a 501(c)(4). You can make contributions to that org, but they are not tax deductible. There’s a place to donate; all the money is going to be used to cover expenses for getting out the information regarding the upcoming marriage amendment especially in the area of economic benefit to marriage and the consequences to our educational system.'"
Bluestem Prairie reported that they took their show on the road to venues like the SW Metro Tea Party, hosted by now-Representative Cindy Pugh (R-Chanhassen) in Pro-Marriage Amendment Forum's Gruenhagen calls Sigmund Freud a pervert & a moron:
"Speaking on the topic "Does Marriage Matter" at the June 11, 2012 SW Metro Tea Party meeting in Chanhassen MN, state representative Glenn Gruenhagen shared his unflattering opinion of Sigmund Freud: "he started the concept of sexual orientation...he's a pervert, okay. He's a moron in my opinion and I don't believe in anything that he came up with."
Gruenhagen joined "ex-gay" activist Kevin Petersen at the group's regular meeting at a local rec center to advocate passage of an amendment to the Minnesota constitution which would limit the freedom to marry to one man and one woman. . . ."
Gruenhagen has been electrifying the twittersphere in Minnesota and beyond since he ridiculed the notion that same sex attraction was genetic, as The Uptake reported in GOP Lawmaker/Life Insurance Salesman Says Gayness A Mental Illness:
"Just when it began to seem there was a chance that the culture war over gay rights and the political battle over same-sex marriage might subside into reasonable discussion and rational agreement, a Republican Minnesota legislator has come along to remind us of reality: They are still out there.
Glenn Gruenhagen, a small-town insurance agent and legislator from Glencoe, Minn., went all retro on the issue of marriage equality Wednesday when Republicans held a press conference opposing a same-sex measure that was introduced Thursday.
Same-sex attraction “is an unhealthy sexual addiction,” said Gruenhagen.
“We’re talking about gay marriage…We’re not talking about an immutable characteristic, like the color of your skin, Ok? The human genome map was completed in two-thousand-and-three. There is no gay gene, Ok?
“So the concept that you’re born that way, and it’s an immutable characteristic, is an unscientific lie, Ok? I urge you, as the news media, to give both sides a fair and open hearing on this debate.”"
Last week, Bluestem Pairie was first to post about the Glencoe lawmaker's claims on the floor of the House about black families in Gruenhagen gone wild: "welfare" tells men to "impregnate as many women as they want":
In today's debate in the Minnesota House of Representatives, firebrand Representative and insurance agent Glenn Gruenhagen (R-Glencoe) introduced amendments--and controversy--into the fractious debate over HF5, a bill to create a state-run health care exchange.
Fresh from his controversial statements last week about marriage equality and the nature of same-sex attraction, Gruenhagen dove in with a claim that "welfare" programs were responsible for out-of-wedlock births among "minorities"--and so the health care exchange might further erode traditional marriage:
"When a country undermines traditional marriage, it cannot print up enough money to take care of all the problems that happen in our society. And we need to look no further than our welfare program and the black families in this country. Prior to the great society programs of the 60s the out of wedlock birth among black families was approximately, or was under 20 percent. Today that in the inner city, the out of wedlock birth for black families is over 80 percent. And one of the primary reasons for that is that we have developed government programs that will pick up the tab for having children out of wedlock. The result is we exploit our women, we create a bad situation for our children, especially minorities and we tell men that they can impregnate as many women as they want and the government will pick up the tab. I think we need to stop that philosophy not expand it as the ah.. with the credit in the health insurance exchange."
That was too much for House Health and Human Services Policy Committee Chair, Representative Tina Liebling (DFL-Rochester):
"Thank you madam speaker. I think we're pretty far afield here from the bill and even from the amendment with some of the comments that have been made. But I think it's just really important to at least correct the record in one respect. First of all, in Minnesota right now when people are on our MInnesota Family Investment Program, what a lot of people like to call welfare, and they have an additional child, they don't get any more money. They don't get more money. And what they do get is very, very low. So we have a welfare program that does not incentivise anybody to be on welfare. No rational person would want to be on welfare with what they get here and they certainly not incentivised to have any additional children."
Photo: Gruenhagen campaigning in 2010.
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