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Legislator/war hero John Kriesel named Lavender Magazine’s ‘Person of the Year’

Freshman state Rep. John Kriesel, a Republican from Cottage Grove, has been named Person of the Year by Lavender Magazine, a gay publication.

Kriesel was honored for speaking out against his own party’s push to put a constitutional amendment on the November 2012 that, if approved by voters, would ban gay marriage.

Kriesel lost both legs while serving in Iraq in 2006; he was elected to the House in 2010. He and Jim Kosmo wrote a book, “Still Standing,” about his war experiences,

Lavender magazine asked Kriesel why he bucked his party on the gay marriage issue. His response:

I try to put myself in other people’s shoes. When I got elected, the way I thought, the way I looked at things changed. Not to mention, when I got hurt in Iraq, everything changed. I realized that now I just wasn’t making decisions that affected my wife and my two sons. I had to (now) make decisions that reflect not only the best interests of the (approximately) 40,000 people in my district, but the greater good of the state.

At that time I didn’t know anybody that was gay. I didn’t have any gay friends. I’ve gained some now. But you have to put yourself in their situation. I would be so — not angry as much, but just hurt, devastated, if the government said, you can be with your wife, but you can’t marry her. You can’t share that. I just don’t get it.

And when I said, I wonder what that would be like, that’s when I said: there is no way. We can’t let this happen. And I think I was naive enough to think it wasn’t going to come up during session. And was hopeful it wasn’t going to come up during session. But once I was convinced that it was, I wanted to make it known right from the start where I stood. There wasn’t going to be any goofin’ around. And I said here’s where I’m at and I’m not moving. Here’s why I’m where I’m at.

And in the interview, he addressed one of the objections to gay marriage:

I get tired of the whole ‘protecting marriage’ thing. I am actually pretty confident that my marriage is just fine. So if Bob and Bill are a married couple and they move next door, they’re not going to affect my marriage. And if Jane and Sue are right next door on the other side, they’re not going to affect my marriage. That’s the beauty of America. Whatever makes you happy, as long as it’s not physically harming other people, have at it.

 Kriesel tweeted today about his Person of the Year selection:

I want to thank @lavmag for selecting me as Person of the Year for 2011! I feel very honored.

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Derrick Schluck on 12/15/2011 - 03:07 pm.

    “Thank God or whoever you thank” for people and leadership from people like Rep. John Kriesel.

    Thank you for your service and thank you for your leadership.

  2. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 12/15/2011 - 05:21 pm.

    Having followed John’s adventures since returning from Iraq I’m convinced his motives, and motivations are genuine.

    His conclusions are flawed, but I do admire the strength of his convictions.

  3. Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 12/15/2011 - 06:45 pm.

    Mr. Kriesel hasn’t looked into the law of unintended consequences. See Massachusetts as well as any impending lawsuits concerning polygamy.

  4. Submitted by Bruce Pomerantz on 12/15/2011 - 10:48 pm.

    Same sex marriage is outlawed now in Minnesota.(Laws of Minnesota 1997, Chapter 203, Article 10). The only difference between the current law and the proposed state constitutional amendment is the manner in which the law can be rescinded. However, if the amendment fails, nothing changes. Same sex marriage remains outlawed.

    I have volunteered to fight passage of the amendment. I wish that people leading the fight against the amendment would also lead in getting Chapter 203, Article 10 rescinded.

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