A Minnesota Republican lawmaker said Wednesday that homosexuality is an addiction, even as other lawmakers push a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in that state.
"It's an unhealthy sexual addiction," said state Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen (R-Glencoe) at a press conference, according to the Star Tribune.
"So the concept that you're born that way and it's an immutable characteristic is an unscientific lie, OK?" Gruenhagen continued. "The human genome map has been completed. I urge you, as the news media, to give both sides a fair and open hearing on this debate."
Contrary to Gruenhagen, who runs a small insurance and financial services firm, all mainstream psychological associations have concluded that homosexuality is not a mental disorder. According to the American Psychological Association, sexual orientation is thought to form organically between "middle childhood and early adolescence" and no sound research has found that attempts to change it through therapy are either safe or effective.
Meanwhile, lawmakers are seeking to overturn Minnesota's 1997 ban on gay marriage. Although passage of the bill is not certain, the Democratic Farm Labor Party holds majorities in both houses of the state legislature.
State Rep. Branden Petersen (R-Andover) has announced his support for the measure. He shrugged off a threat from the National Organization for Marriage to spend $500,000 to defeat any Republican lawmaker who votes for the bill.
"Regardless of the amount, whether it's $500,000 or $50 million, my vote is not going to bought either way. I'm going to do what's right," Petersen said, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "If they want to throw away $500,000, then that's their decision."