Minnesota GOP leader has family stake in gay conversion vote

"I cry over this issue," he told the newspaper , choking up during an interview.

Posted: May 11, 2019 1:26 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The top Republican in the Minnesota Senate, who helped defeat a proposed ban on so-called gay conversion therapy for minors, sent his daughter to a therapist opposed to gay relationships after suspecting she had a same-sex attraction when she was a teenager, the Star Tribune reported Friday.

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, a conservative Christian from Nisswa, led his caucus in voting down a Democratic proposal May 1 against the practice of trying to turn gay people straight.

"I cry over this issue," he told the newspaper , choking up during an interview.

Genna Gazelka, 30, who uses the pronoun "they" and now identifies as bi-gender, recalled being sent to a therapist who decried same-sex relations. The therapist was Marcus Bachmann, the husband of former U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, a fiery conservative Christian who ran for president in 2012

"This is harassment and it is tantamount to what could be said of torture or sexual torture," Genna Gazelka said of conversion therapy.

Genna Gazelka, who decided to go public because of the vote, also expressed hope that the ban will pass and, eventually, a family relationship that had become strained by their differences will be fully repaired.

Paul Gazelka acknowledged sending his child to therapy, but said it was for healing, not for sexual identity conversion. Now he said he's working to find a compromise that would ban coercive therapy techniques on children while preserving the right of therapists and pastors to speak freely with their patients, particularly those who say they are struggling with an unwanted same-sex attraction.

Some GOP senators threatened during the debate to vote down their own health and human services budget bill if the conversion ban was attached to it, while others still want to see the ban enacted this year. The majority leader has now turned to Sen. Scott Jensen to find a compromise that eluded them before. Jensen, a physician and Charka Republican, said his lesbian daughter helped change the views he learned growing up in a small, traditional town. But his patients are an even bigger influence on his thinking. He said he's seen teens and adults struggle with depression, sometimes deciding to end their own lives.

Sen. Scott Dibble, an openly gay Minneapolis Democrat who authorized the amendment that was defeated, said he feels momentum.

"Something very powerful is happening," Dibble said. "Hearts are being shifted and moved. Minds are being changed."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 449492

Reported Deaths: 6047
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin933031483
Ramsey40134741
Dakota33159344
Anoka31061365
Washington20220230
Stearns17922188
St. Louis13730242
Scott1199496
Wright11656104
Olmsted1054775
Sherburne822065
Carver696436
Clay653981
Rice610769
Kandiyohi554871
Blue Earth543233
Crow Wing484877
Otter Tail457967
Chisago453336
Benton421086
Winona390046
Douglas375766
Nobles371746
Mower367829
Goodhue349259
Polk328958
McLeod325745
Morrison312145
Beltrami311048
Lyon302538
Becker286239
Itasca285243
Isanti282941
Carlton280943
Steele27489
Pine267013
Freeborn247923
Todd232230
Nicollet225436
Brown215534
Mille Lacs214545
Le Sueur210715
Cass207723
Meeker200033
Waseca190116
Wabasha17243
Martin170826
Roseau165717
Hubbard149538
Redwood139827
Renville137540
Houston137213
Dodge13544
Chippewa131632
Cottonwood127718
Fillmore12435
Wadena120117
Rock110312
Sibley10857
Aitkin108333
Faribault106716
Watonwan10678
Pennington99715
Kanabec98018
Pipestone94723
Yellow Medicine93715
Murray8935
Jackson86010
Swift83518
Pope7415
Marshall70315
Stevens7018
Clearwater68514
Lac qui Parle65716
Lake64915
Wilkin6269
Koochiching59710
Lincoln4871
Big Stone4603
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Grant4298
Norman4248
Mahnomen4107
Kittson37220
Red Lake3174
Traverse2523
Lake of the Woods1951
Cook1150

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Reported Deaths: 4340
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk46016457
Linn17864278
Scott15566166
Black Hawk13875238
Woodbury13040177
Johnson1216051
Dubuque11434153
Pottawattamie9047113
Dallas896572
Story871235
Webster470172
Cerro Gordo467871
Sioux456157
Clinton451863
Warren449038
Marshall428662
Buena Vista393829
Muscatine392278
Des Moines383641
Plymouth351468
Wapello346598
Jasper324059
Lee318131
Marion305752
Jones272649
Henry264831
Carroll255934
Bremer246848
Crawford232324
Washington220332
Boone219517
Benton210150
Mahaska195037
Jackson193031
Tama188758
Dickinson186227
Kossuth174844
Delaware174536
Clay169820
Wright165224
Fayette163623
Hamilton160730
Buchanan160423
Winneshiek156919
Harrison156762
Hardin155529
Cedar154219
Clayton151548
Butler149224
Page144915
Floyd139836
Cherokee139227
Mills136916
Lyon135732
Poweshiek133924
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Allamakee129628
Iowa126022
Calhoun12299
Grundy121626
Jefferson121325
Madison12129
Winnebago119729
Mitchell116235
Louisa115430
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Chickasaw112212
Sac111115
Emmet110831
Appanoose110740
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Humboldt105819
Guthrie103424
Shelby103427
Franklin102718
Unassigned9410
Palo Alto90910
Montgomery86423
Keokuk85626
Howard84419
Monroe81319
Clarke7987
Pocahontas77711
Ida74730
Davis69421
Greene6947
Adair69020
Lucas6589
Monona64616
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Worth6133
Taylor5949
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Van Buren49713
Decatur4934
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