While officials from the Republican Party of Minnesota threatened to excommunicate the State Cloud State University chapter of the College Republicans for hosting Bradlee Dean, MNGOP legislator's in St. Paul did their best to uphold his homophobic values.
Just before the MN House was first scheduled to take up the marriage inequality amendment last year, Dean served as the chaplain of the day at the invitation of Rep. Ernie Leidiger, in which the junk metal rocker implied that President Obama was not a Christian. Typical of coverage at the time: Minnpost's Legislative firestorm erupts over Bradlee Dean's prayer. Republican leaders denounced Dean, though they still cling to an anti-gay legislative agenda.
The St Cloud Times' Danielle Cintron reports in Controversy surrounds presentation;Youth minister speaks at SCSU, attracts criticism from GOP:
Bradlee Dean and the band Junkyard Prophet came to campus at the invitation of the university chapter of College Republicans. That invitaiton attracted criticism from the Republican Party of Minnesota. . . .
Elizabeth Ilse, public relations chair for the College Republicans, said Ben Zierke, who is executive director of the Republican Party of Minnesota, told the chapter that if it went ahead with the event it would lose support of the state GOP. . . .
The Star Tribune reported that State GOP Chairman Pat Shortridge wasn’t happy that the College Republicans invited the controversial Dean to speak, and it’s encouraging the chapter to “use better judgment.”
Rep. Steve Gottwalt, R-St. Cloud, sent out a Tweet Tuesday that read, “I absolutely repudiate Bradlee Dean and his message of hate and intolerance! @SCSU because of 1 person's bad judgment; NOT sanctioned by GOP!”
“From what I understand, it was one individual who did this. It shows a serious lack of judgment and is unfortunate,” Gottwalt said later. “I think it’s unnecessary and inappropriate. It should not reflect the chapter of College Republicans at SCSU but on that individual.” . . . .
Public relations chair for the College Republicans Elizabeth Ilse told the St. Cloud Times that the chapter's detractors hadn't researched the circumstances behind Dean's appearance. The choice to invite Dean was proposed and approved at a meeting advertised to the SCSU CR's email list. Moreover, the students vetted Dean's message and found that he stands for the values of Minnesota Republicans:
“Obviously, (Zierke) was the one who didn’t do his research,” Ilse said. “We shouldn’t shun somebody from the Republican Party for speaking out about the core principles and values the party supposedly believes in. Our group didn’t use Google to find out information on him. We did our own research on Bradlee and he has a strong conservative message. He’s pro constitutional, pro family, pro vets and he speaks about the core values of the GOP.”
Despite Zierke, Shortridge and Gottwalt's demurrals, Ilse might be on to something, and one need look no farther than the state capitol, where legislators promoting Bradlee Dean's values with all the passion of spring-crazed prairie chickens strutting about on their booming grounds.
Two news stories illustrate their courtship dance to the socially conservative base. The Star Tribune's Rachel Stassen-Berger reports in Senate turns back effort to ban payments to 'pray the gay away' therapy:
DFL Sen. Scott Dibble, who sponsored the amendment that was rejected, said the fact that Medicaid pays for therapy purported to help homosexual people become heterosexual was 'galling and problematic.'
"Taxpayers are paying for what amounts to religious instruction and treatment that actively harms otherwise normal and healthy people," Dibble told colleagues on the Senate floor.
During Republican Michele Bachmann's presidential campaign her husband, a counselor, was accused of offering counseling to convert gay men to heterosexuality. The Bachmann's had previously denied the accusation. The clinic has received Medicaid payments.
During the debate, Senator Brown stood up for Bradlee Dean's values:
During the brief debate on Dibble's move to amend the ban onto a health and human services bill, Sen. David Brown asked Dibble about his religious beliefs.
"Sen. Dibble, I assume by the hand out that you have that your feeling is that the power of Jesus Christ doesn't have the power to redeem anyone. How would you respond to that?" Brown, R-Becker, asked Dibble.
Dibble replied that he believes in Christ's redemptive abilities. The amendment failed in a bipartisan vote as some DFLers did their own booming.
The other story? The AP's Brian Bakst reports on a little dog-whistling demogoguery by Emo Senator Mike Parry and The Draz in Minn. contracts may have domestic partner benefits, wherein the Republican lawmakers' delicate sensibilities ruffled:
Same-sex domestic partner health benefits are in play as part of Minnesota state employee contract talks, reopening a debate that raged at the Capitol a decade ago.
Republican lawmakers drew attention to the potential contract language Tuesday by circulating an offer sheet between Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton's administration and the largest public employee union. The proposed two-year pacts haven't been finalized, but the benefits were part of the "state's best offer" put before the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. . . .
nder the proposed language, same-sex domestic partners would be treated as dependents and would be eligible for family insurance coverage.
Sen. Mike Parry, R-Owatonna, has been pressing the administration _ without success _ to keep lawmakers apprised of the talks. Parry said state officials shouldn't assume lawmakers will rubber-stamp the final deals, and he said the domestic partner benefits pose a problem.
"We believe the governor should not be addressing social issues in collective bargaining contracts," Parry said. "We believe that that's the Legislature's responsibility and not up to the governor, as he has done with some of his executive orders, to try to go around the Legislature."
Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, called administration's offer to extend such benefits "troubling."
Heaven forbid that LGBT people in stable family relationship be treated like people. Bradlee Dean would be proud of them.
Photo: Prairie chickens. A little booming goes a long way.