When Bluestem fans last read about Glencoe Republican Glenn Gruenhagen in Why did Steve Drazkowski, Glenn Gruenhagen, 3 other Republicans vote against farmers?, he was one of a handful of House Republican who'd voted against extending a common-sense farmer-lender mediation program co-sponsored by Republican Assistant Minority Leader Rod Hamilton (R-Mountain Lake).
The vote came on the heels of Gruenhagen pouring the rhetorical equivalent of proppant processing sludge into the state's debate over regulating frac sand mining by claiming that a Matt Damon movie was inflaming the debate.
As we noted in excruxiating detail in Stupid or dishonest? Glenn Gruenhagen blames years of frac sand controversy on new movie, Southeasten Minnesota citizens had raised questions and demanded township, city, and county moratoria on new sand mines long before the movie--about fracking, not mining--was even cast. Hollywood had nothing to do with their concerns; indeed, the grassroots groups struggled to get the state's attention for months, to the point where St. Paul filmmaker Jim Tittle, a Red Wing area native, had to create his own documentary.
In a press conference staged yesterday by Minnesotans for Marriage to announce opposition to the drive for marriage equality in Minnesota, Gruenhagen stepped forward as the chief legislative spokesman for misinformation about human sexuality.
Here's Gruenhagen speaking:
Fox9 News Tom Lyden fact checks Gruenhagen in GAY MARRIAGE: Republican Minn. Rep. flubs 'gay gene' facts:
. . .At a press conference following the announcement of the bipartisan law, Republican Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen trotted out one of the oldest arguments around to defend his opposition.
"The human genome map was completed in 2003, and there is no gay gene," he said.
Except that's not exactly true. The latest research into a "gay gene" points to what is known as epigenetics, throwaway DNA that triggers hormone production in fetuses. Furthermore, although scientists haven't found a "gay gene," they haven't found a straight one either.
Dr. Katie Spencer, of the University of Minnesota's program in human sexuality, says it's more complicated than just genetics -- and she wonders if it's even a relevant question.
"Gay, lesbian and bisexual people have existed throughout all time and all cultures throughout history," she said. "So, psychologists are not even interested in that question anymore. What we're interested in is the impact of discrimination on gay, lesbian and bisexual peoples' lives.". . .
Gruenhagen is in the insurance business, so how he suddenly became an expert in genetics is unclear.
"The concept that you're born that way and it's an immutable characteristic is an unscientific lie," he said.
It's even less clear to the real experts, especially when they don't believe it should matter at all.
"We don't care if it's a gene or not because that doesn't mean anything," Spencer said. "Whether something is a choice or gene doesn't matter because your rights aren't based on that." . . .
Here's the clip:
While Gruenhagen is already enjoying a banner year for blarney--and it's not yet March--he's had a reputation for annoying opinions since he served on the Glencoe-Silver Lake Public Schools board.
Lyden mentions the Glencoe insurance agent's view that alcoholism isn't a disease. Bluestem posted about his ideas in December 2010 in Bears watching: alcoholism, Glenn Gruenhagen, and the HHS Reform committee:
Mr. Gruenhagen holds distinctly minority opinions on alcohol abuse, as he wrote in a 2009 letter to the McLeod County Chronicle, Alcoholism is not a disease:
. . . I have extended family members who have been in treatment for alcoholism and chemical dependency and I am well aware of the pain and sorrow these problems bring to families. However, labeling alcoholism and drug addiction as a disease is not only medically inaccurate (since there is no germ or gene), it also sends a false message to the abuser that they are a victim rather than to accept some level of personal responsibility for their abuse and behavior. In addition, it sends the completely wrong message to our young people about the dangers of alcohol and illegal drug abuse.
I voluntarily participated in Gideon International jail ministry with local prisoners for over 13 years. One of the questions I routinely asked prisoners was "how many of you were on alcohol or illegal drugs when you were arrested?" The answer was almost always the same: over 90 percent said "yes." By the way, you won't get a DWI for driving with cancer.
Labeling alcoholism and drug addiction as a disease is a recent trend and is bad for both the addicted and the non-addicted. It is rooted in a false psychological medical philosophy that everyone is a victim when it comes to wrong and bad behavior.
I am sorry if this letter seems stern, but I am sick and tired of the victim mentality in our schools, prisons and culture . . .
Readers can explore more of Gruenhagen's pre-House career statements in May 2010 post,Gruenhagen endorsed in HD25A: Crack-pot opposes "boiling pot," mixed gender classes, and more.
Legislative career whoppers
Representative Gruenhagen is quite charming and friendly in person, and has an open door policy for meeting with groups seeking legislative relief, however much he may disagree with their agenda. It's not who gets into his office at the capitol that's the issue here, but the strange things that continue to come out of his mouth in hearings and public events.
Take his view of male sexuality itself as a "destructive" force. The Minnesota Independent reported in GOP’s Gruenhagen calls for destruction of ‘filthy’ Kinsey research that he said in Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance committee hearing on HF853 (a bill related to helping sexual trafficking victims):
Finally I would just add: there is nothing more destructive — or, one of the most destructive things to a society in terms of our women and children and even having economic consequences — is when the male sex drive is released in an uncontrolled and undisciplined way. There — you can’t print up enough money to take care of the consequences of that. So I beseech you as a man to expose the lies that have been permeated through our schools and our culture and of course we know Hollywood is brainwashed disciples of Dr. Albert Kinsey. I use the word “doctor” reluctantly. He’s a filthy, perverted, unscientific liar and his research needs to be exposed. Other than that, I don’t have a lot of opinion on the subject [Laughter]
Then there was his suggestion to castrate male sex offenders. City Pages Nick Pinto reported in Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen excited about farmyard castration for sex offenders [AUDIO]:
Concerned that the treatment program is too cushy for sex offenders, Gruenhagen first proposed that chain gangs might cure what ails sex offenders.
Then the Glencoe Republican had a better idea: "Are any states applying castration to this group of offenders?" he asked.
The clinical director for the sex-offender program, perhaps responding to the snickers that followed Gruenhagen's question, first tried to make sure everyone knew that slicing sex offenders' balls off was not on the table as an option:
"Chemical castration is the use of anti-androgens," said Jannine Hebert. "Someone either has a patch or they get injections to decrease their level of testosterone."
But while some states have experimented with making chemical castration a condition of parole, Hebert testified, it doesn't really make sense as a treatment because it doesn't address the causes of criminal sexual behavior in most offenders.
Gruenhagen is not stranger to the debate over marriage equality. In February 2012, the American Independent's Andy Birkey reported in Ex-gay movement deeply tied to marriage amendment push:
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.
Neither gentleman responded to requests by The American Independent for further information about the organization, but both did appear on the Late Debate, a conservative-libertarian radio program based in the northern suburbs of Minneapolis-St. Paul, last week.
“Kevin and I formed a 501(c)(4), and the purpose is to advocate and educate people regarding the upcoming vote in November,” said Gruenhagen. “It’s a 501(c)(4). You can make contributions to that org, but they are not tax deductible. There’s a place to donate; all the money is going to be used to cover expenses for getting out the information regarding the upcoming marriage amendment especially in the area of economic benefit to marriage and the consequences to our educational system.”
Read the rest of the lengthy article at TAI. In the summer of 2012, Bluestem posted about a joint Gruenhagen-Peterson Pro-Marriage Amendment Forum presentation to the Southwest Metro Tea Party in Chanhassen in Pro-Marriage Amendment Forum's Gruenhagen calls Sigmund Freud a pervert & a moron
Speaking on the topic "Does Marriage Matter" at the June 11, 2012 SW Metro Tea Party meeting in Chanhassen MN, state representative Glenn Gruenhagen shared his unflattering opinion of Sigmund Freud: "he started the concept of sexual orientation...he's a pervert, okay. He's a moron in my opinion and I don't believe in anything that he came up with."
Gruenhagen joined "ex-gay" activist Kevin Petersen at the group's regular meeting at a local rec center to advocate passage of an amendment to the Minnesota constitution which would limit the freedom to marry to one man and one woman.
Tea Party member Cindy Pugh--now a state representative who attended yesterday's press conference where Gruenhagen spoke--introduces the Petersen-Gruenhagen presentation; video of the entire presentation is available here in the SW Metro Tea Party archives. (Scroll down to find the June 11, 2012 clip).
At the Strib, Eric Roper reported that Rep. [Gruenhagen] says abortion encourages men to "use and lose" women:
"Men, a certain percentage have developed a perverted view of women," Gruenhagen said. "And what abortion tells men is they can use women and lose them. OK? Use and lose them and run from their responsibility."
"And then on top of that we have the state showing up and paying for the sexual exploitation of women. Ladies, let’s put a stop to this. Let’s put a stop to sending a message to men that they can use you and leave you with the consequences and have the government pick up the tab for that."
With conservative, small-government Republicans like former state auditor Pat Anderson and marriage equality co-sponsor state senator Branden Petersen speaking up for all Minnesota families, it's a head-scratcher that Gruenhagen has been pushed forward as the anti-freedom spokester.
On the other, maybe not. Soundly defeated in the HD 19A special election earlier this month, 1980s anti-sodomy Allen Quist has retired from seeking office.
Photo: Glenn Gruenhagen, via Star Tribune.If you enjoyed reading this post, consider giving a donation via paypal: