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Minn. Republican for Marriage Equality

Minn. Republican for Marriage Equality


John Kriesel, one of only four Republican state house members to vote against Minnesota's anti-gay-marriage constitutional amendment Saturday, delivered an impassioned speech to the chamber in support of marriage equality.

Kriesel, who lost both legs in an explosion while he was serving in the military in Iraq, detailed how his love for his wife and children gave him the will to live after he was injured, and he asserted that it is wrong to deny gays and lesbians the right to marry the person they love. To say "You can love that person, but you can't marry them" is "wrong, and I disagree with it," he said.

He also showed a photo of Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt, a gay soldier from Minnesota who was killed in Afghanistan in February. "I cannot look at this family and 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,'" he said.

The house nevertheless voted 70-62 to place the amendment on the state ballot. With the senate's earlier approval, this means the matter will go before voters in November 2012. Minnesota gay activists are gearing up to lobby citizens to vote against it, and Gov. Mark Dayton has vowed to fight it as well.

Watch Kriesel's speech, posted by Pam's House Blend, here.

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