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GOP Rep. Kriesel of Cottage Grove featured in anti-marriage amendment ad (video)

State Rep. John Kriesel's dramatic speech in the Minnesota House opposing a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage is featured in a television commercial for amendment opponents Minnesotans United for All Families.

The Cottage Grove lawmaker joined Rep. Tim Kelly of Red Wing as the only two Republicans to vote against the amendment, which will be in front of voters Nov. 6. Kriesel is retiring when his term ends in early January.

In the speech, Kriesel recounted when a bomb exploded in Iraq, causing injuries that eventually cost him his legs.

"I was in an incident and I nearly died," Kriesel said. "I remember laying there, looking down and seeing my legs mangled. I thought about my family."

He recounted the story of Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt, a soldier from Rosemount, who was killed in Afghanistan last year.

"He gave his life in Afghanistan protecting our freedoms," Kriesel said. "He was gay. I cannot look at this picture and say, corporal, you are good enough to fight for your country and give your life, but you are not good enough to marry the person you love."

After his May 2011 speech, opponents of the amendment greeted Kriesel as a hero when he left the House chambers.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.