Just when it began to seem there was a chance that the culture war over gay rights and the political battle over same-sex marriage might subside into reasonable discussion and rational agreement, a Republican Minnesota legislator has come along to remind us of reality: They are still out there.
Glenn Gruenhagen, a small-town insurance agent and legislator from Glencoe, Minn., went all retro on the issue of marriage equality Wednesday when Republicans held a press conference opposing a same-sex measure that was introduced Thursday.
Same-sex attraction “is an unhealthy sexual addiction,” said Gruenhagen.
“We’re talking about gay marriage…We’re not talking about an immutable characteristic, like the color of your skin, Ok? The human genome map was completed in two-thousand-and-three. There is no gay gene, Ok?
“So the concept that you’re born that way, and it’s an immutable characteristic, is an unscientific lie, Ok? I urge you, as the news media, to give both sides a fair and open hearing on this debate.”
Gruenhagen’s biography says that he holds a financial planning certificate from The American College of Financial Services in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. The school does not appear to offer degrees in human sexuality, genetics or media ethics. Nor was it immediately clear what the completion of the human genome map or the lack of a scientifically determined gayness gene has to do with civil laws permitting two human beings to marry, without regard to skin color, gender or insurance portfolio.
Although Gruenhagen technically is correct when he says scientists have not found a gene dictating sexual orientation, the question is far more complicated than he portrayed it. Scientists, in fact, believe that sexual orientation may be inherited and that it is affected by something called “epi-marks,” which control how genes are expressed.
At press time, it appeared that the American College of Financial Services does not have classes in epi-marks, either. But one thing was clear: As of Thursday afternoon, Rep. Gruenhagen’s comments were poised to go viral.
Watch the videos
Video at top: Gruenhagen says there is “no gay gene.”
Video below: Full news conference