House Speaker Kurt Zellers issued a solemn apology for permitting incendiary preacher Bradlee Dean to provide the opening prayer at Friday’s session.
“The decorum and the dignity of this body is my responsibility,” said Zellers. “I did not live up to that responsibility today. For that I apologize to each and every one of you.”
Zellers also denounced Dean, who questioned the faith of President Obama during his morning remarks and has repeatedly made malicious comments about homosexuals. “That type of person will never, ever be allowed on this House floor again as long as I have the honor of serving as your Speaker,” he said. “You have my commitment.”
Rep. Steve Gottwalt, R-St. Cloud, the lead sponsor of legislation that would place a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage on the ballot, also denounced Dean. “It was atrocious, ” Gottwalt said, of Dean’s remarks. “I cannot believe it. … Nobody checked this guy out.”
According to a report by Minnesota Public Radio, Dean was invited to deliver the prayer by Rep. Ernie Leidiger, R-Mayer.
The gay marriage bill has not yet been taken up on the House floor with just four days remaining in the legislative session. Gottwalt acknowledged that Dean’s appearance could hurt the bill’s prospects. “If you want people to vote in favor of this bill, why would you do that?” Gottwalt asked.