At a time of intense intolerance and homophobia in American politics, Minnesota GOP Rep. John Kriesel took the floor to beg his colleagues not to vote for a constitutional amendment that would ban same sex marriage. Kriesel’s simple words and humanity offer a true profile of courage to politicians across the country.
This is his first term. He previously survived for ten years in the Minnesota National Guard and was deployed to Kosovo in 2004 as part of a NATO peacekeeping force and to Iraq where he was stationed at Camp Fallujah. He was awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge, Purple Heart Medal, and Bronze Star Medal. He lost his legs while serving in Iraq.
In the speech, he mentions Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt, a gay servicemember from Minnesota who enlisted in January 2009 and was killed Sunday, Feb. 27, in Afghanistan when an IED exploded during an attack on his unit. He was 31. Below is a tribute to Cpl. Wilfahrt:
Some of his colleagues, however, showed a different view by inviting a homophobia and extremist pastor to give the opening prayer.