MN Pro Gay Marriage Republican: War Experience Taught Me the Importance of Love (VIDEO)

Over the weekend the Minnesota Legislature passed a constitutional amendment that, if approved by voters in a 2012 ballot, would codify the existing statutory ban on same-sex marriage by placing discrimination in the Minnesota Constitution. Not all Republicans supported this action however, with Rep. John Kriesel (R-Cottage Grove) telling the state House that a near fatal experience during his military service changed his mind on gay marriage.

During his testimony, Kriesel said that being injured “woke” him up and changed him, adding: “Because of that, it’s made me think about this issue. And say, ‘You know what, what would I do without my wife?’ She makes me happy. Life is hard. We’re in a really tough time in our history. Happiness is so, so hard to find for people. So they find it, they find someone that makes them happy, and we want to take that person away. We want to say, ‘Oh no, you can be together, you can love that person, but you can’t marry them.’ You can’t marry them. That’s wrong.”

He goes on to say how he believes that the marriage amendment does not comport with the American values that he fought to protect. He also talks about a now deceased fellow servicemember who was gay and gave his life during military service.

Watch Kriesel’s testimony below:

The House advanced the marriage amendment in a 70-62 vote. Due to legislative rules, the amendment cannot be vetoed by the state governor and goes straight to the 2012 ballot. Nevertheless, DFL Gov. Mark Dayton has vowed to fight the ban with “every fiber” of his being.

A recent poll suggests that 55% of Minnesotans surveyed do not want to enact a constitutional amendment banning marriage equality. This is a change on a 2004 Minnesota Poll that found 58% of Minnesotans supported a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to one man and one woman.

It should also be noted that a significant number of the public identifying as either Republican or Independent have come out against the amendment, saying they find the constitutional amendment unnecessary given the existing ban, or that they believe codifying the ban amounts to an abridgment of liberty. Read more here.

Read our past coverage of the issue here.

Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to US Army Photostream.


Suzanne B.
Sue B6 years ago

I have to applaud this man and thank him for his service. I do not understand why other Republicans dont see what he so clearly articulated. We send our brave service men and women all over the world to fight and die for other people's freedoms. We then bring them home to what we purport to be the greatest free society in the world, where people are actively trying to take the rights of others. It makes no sense. I want to make myself clear, my partner and I have been together for 16 years and we are married, there is no law they can pass that would make that untrue. So why does equality matter? For the future of the life we have built together, the assets we worked hard to accumulate, together. When an Aunt and cousins I have not seen in 25 years have more right to our posessions upon my passing than my life partner does, something is seriously wrong with the system. It is truly sad that most people feel threatened by our very existance

Catt R.
Catt R6 years ago

I like him, see I can to like something a Republican does.... I agree with Ron Paul on some issues too, but the ones we differ on.... are big time deal-breakers.

Joe R.
Joe R6 years ago

Thank you Rep Kriesel! I hope your fellow Republicans will listen. (I'm really amazed!)

Maarja L.
Maarja L6 years ago

So there actually are Republicans who think homosexuals should have the right to be married. That's wonderful. I'd almost lost hope.

Don Go
Don Go6 years ago

I wish I could vote. *not american*

I honestly don't know our country's stand on the homosexual marriage thing...maybe I should find out.

Jane L.
Jane L6 years ago

Wow, freakin' powerful video! I loved listening to this man speak about equal rights. He is an embodiment of someone speaking out his truth based on the reality he experienced. I feel that he is one of the most "qualified" individuals (for lack of a better word) to speak about this - someone who fought for american rights, who knew another human being who is gay do the same, and Kriesel himself had a near death experience to realize the importance of their spouse regardless of gender. It is a very unifying speech of the American people. Glad to know that popular opinion is changing.

Brenda Gilbert
Brenda Gilbert6 years ago

Equal means equal and that's all there is to it!!!

Tracey D.
Tracey D6 years ago

thanks for the article.

Heather G.
Heather G6 years ago

Charlotte, a "man and wife"? Do you also think the wife should obey the man?? Maybe your objection to gay marriage is that you don't believe the two parties in a marriage are equal. If you did you would say "husband and wife" or "man and woman."

Lilithe Magdalene

BTW beautiful video. Thank you.

Charlotte - I don;t hate you, I just pity your ignorance.