Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka’s comments in an interview with Colorado televangelist Andrew Wommack generated strong reaction Thursday from Minnesota’s LGBTQ community and progressives, who pledged to flip the GOP-controlled state Senate.
In the hour-long interview, which was reported by the Minnesota Reformer, Gazelka explained why he believes churches and counselors should be free to help youth with “unwanted same-sex attraction.” He also said he believed homosexuality can be caused by having a poor relationship with one’s same-sex parent. He also opined on rural vs. urban welfare and Trump’s appeal in Minnesota.
Gazelka last year successfully defeated a gay-conversion ban at the Capitol. The legislation, sponsored by state Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, and state Rep. Hunter Cantrell, DFL-Savage, would have banned anyone from offering gay-conversion therapy to minors in Minnesota.
Dibble responded to Gazelka’s comments on Twitter by calling out his comments as “religious chauvinism” and “dog-whistling.”
Religious chauvinism, dog-whistling on race, dividing Minnesotans, characterizing LGBTQ people as sinners, saying those who disagree with him are in the "spirit of Antichrist" and "demonic inspired"…the MN Senate Majority Leader. Nice. #mnleg https://t.co/erAPZK2FOj
— Scott Dibble (@ScottDibble) January 16, 2020
State Sen. Melisa Franzen, DFL-Edina, said Gazelka’s comments gave her another reason to work “as hard as I can for a #DFLSenateMajority.”
Majority Leader @paulgazelka buddying up with a man whose contempt and intolerance for those different than him has no boundary.
— Melisa López Franzen (@MelisaFranzen) January 17, 2020
To Gazelka’s comment that, “A lot of my job frankly is stopping the onslaught of the left from continually moving us in a way that we know is contrary to the Bible,” the Jewish Community Action replied that it organizes “from our Jewish values, but religious ideology should never be the basis for legislation. MN isn’t a theocracy.”
“A lot of my job frankly is stopping the onslaught of the left from continually moving us in a way that we know is contrary to the Bible,” says Gazelka.
We organize from our Jewish values, but religious ideology should never be the basis for legislation. MN isn’t a theocracy. https://t.co/dEDl6bwwzE
— Jewish Community Action (@JCA_MN) January 16, 2020
But not all the comments were negative.
John Gilmore, a former columnist for Alpha News MN and conservative blogger, tweeted the story, with a blunt: “So?”
So? RT @MNReformer: Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka told a televangelist a couple months ago: “A lot of my job frankly is stopping the onslaught of the left from continually moving us in a way that we know is contrary to the Bible." https://t.co/O1AOsvvgNP via @mnreformer
— JohnGilmore (@Shabbosgoy) January 16, 2020
Others on Twitter, like Mike O’Rourke a former associate editor at the Brainerd Dispatch, focused on Gazelka’s comments regarding urban and rural welfare recipients:
The rural and urban stereotypes voiced by Sen. Gazelka are a little hard for me to swallow. I’ve lived in big cities and small outstate cities and would argue that plenty of loafers can be found in either environment. https://t.co/YruTAxeLCM
— Mike O'Rourke (@MikeORourkenews) January 16, 2020
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