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Sat May 11, 2019, 06:43 AM

Gay conversion ban gets personal for lawmakers in emotional debate

Minnesota state Sen. Paul Gazelka, the Republican majority leader, faces a deeply personal and political dilemma as the Legislature weighs restrictions on so-called conversion therapy — the widely criticized practice of trying to turn gay people straight.

A DFL proposal to ban the practice with Minnesota children failed last week on a party-line vote after an emotional Senate debate where lawmakers in both parties recounted anguished stories from their own lives. But with some GOP senators threatening to upend their own Health and Human Services budget if the conversion ban were attached, Gazelka led the Republican caucus in voting it down.

Despite the defeat on the Senate floor, several members of Gazelka’s GOP caucus said they still want a bill to end conversion therapy this year, creating an internal rift that dredged up a lingering conflict in his own family.

Gazelka, a conservative Christian who has become a Capitol dealmaker, was silent during the middle-of-the-night debate, even as his emotions roiled underneath.

Read more: http://www.startribune.com/gay-conversion-ban-gets-personal-for-lawmakers-in-emotional-debate/509765022/

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