Reporting Pat Kessler
ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – A Minnesota state lawmaker is getting worldwide attention for his pro-gay comments he made during a hearing and those comments are now been seen on YouTube. In 48 hours, there were more than 180,000 views.
State Rep. Steve Simon, DFL-St. Louis Park, made the comments Monday in a Minnesota House hearing on a bill for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.
He questioned Minnesota clergy members using religious arguments to support a ban on gay marriage.
“Sexuality and sexual orientation are a gift from God,” said Simon. “And I think that’s true.”
“How many more gay people does God have to create before we ask ourselves whether or not God actually wants them around?” he asked.
Simon said he was reacting to a parade of Minnesota clergy in House and Senate committees testifying in favor of a gay marriage ban.
Reverend Tom Parrish, a Lutheran pastor from Hope Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, said he has ministered to many people who “practice the gay lifestyle.”
“While our goal as Christians is certainly to love others, it does not exist in a vacuum. Love is predicated on the truth of God’s word and His intent for the world,” he said in the hearing.
The video on YouTube of Simon is generating thousands of comments online from around the world.
Simon, who is not gay, said he didn’t plan his remarks in advance or expect the response afterward.
“People will go on to the next thing in 24 hours,” he said. “Everyone’s going to forget my name very quickly. It’s not about me or my name but I do hope the underlying message endures.”
Simon said he’s received hundreds of emails from across the country from people who have seen him on YouTube. All but two of them, he said, supporting him.