Ex-gay movement deeply tied to marriage amendment push

MINNEAPOLIS -- A Republican state legislator and a man who claims to be a “former homosexual” have teamed up to support an anti-gay-marriage amendment to the Minnesota constitution.

The group — called the Pro-Marriage Amendment Forum — is just one example of the deep ties between backers of the marriage amendment and the “ex-gay” movement. The connections have left some LGBT advocates wondering if it’s not just gay marriage these groups are opposing, but rights for LGBT people as a whole.

“Ex-gay” therapy is a controversial practice that involves efforts to help gays and lesbians either abstain from relationships with partners of the same sex or engage in heterosexual relationships. Most mainstream psychological, medical, and counseling organizations have criticized the therapy as harmful due to its very limited success rates and studies showing it may lead to depression or suicide.

Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen, a Republican who represents the city of Glencoe about an hour southwest of Minneapolis, and Kevin Peterson, a man who says he was gay until the age of 33, started the Pro-Marriage Amendment Forum in order to raise money in support of the amendment. They are planning to show a series of Powerpoint presentations around the state.

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