Minnesota lawmakers last week approved a 2012 ballot measure that would further restrict marriage equality in the state, but not before Republican Rep. John Kriesel offered an impassioned “hell no.”
It’s rare to see politicians, particularly Republicans, speak so adamantly against legislation that restricts LGBT people’s rights. Rep. John Kriesel, however, showed no fear in his dissent against the Minnesota vote.
Drawing on his experience in Iraq’s battlefields, the veteran told his colleagues that injuries sustained overseas changed his mind on the matter.
“If this was five, six years ago, I probably would have voted yes, [but then] everything changed,” he said. “Happiness is so hard to find for people. So they find it — they find someone that makes them happy — and we want to say you can be together, you can love that person, but you can’t marry them. That’s wrong. That’s wrong and I disagree with it.”
Kriesel went on to show a photo of a gay soldier killed in the line of duty, and declared, “I don’t know about you guys, but I cannot look at this family, look at this picture, and say ‘You know what, corporal, you were good enough to fight for your country and give your life, but you were not good enough to marry the person you love.’ I can’t do that. I cannot do that and I won’t do that. If there was a ‘hell no’ button right here, I would press it.”
Few other Republicans agreed, though, and the vote passed 70-62, meaning that the initiative will be on the ballot in 2012, despite the fact that Minnesota already defines marriage as “one man, one woman.” Those homophobes sure do like to lay it on thick, huh?