January 16, 2020 Media

Paul Gazelka Claims Homosexuality Can Result from Sexual Assault

Gazelka also claims homosexuals have a “myriad of issues”

Today, the Minnesota Reformer released a story highlighting an interview Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka gave to Truth & Liberty in which Gazelka made numerous, highly bigoted statements. In listening to the interview, the DFL uncovered several additional and deeply bigoted remarks made by Gazelka.

Homosexuality & Sexual Assault

During a discussion on a California ban on conversion therapy, Paul Gazelka attributed identifying as a lesbian to prior sexual trauma, stating:

“…as an adolescent, that’s when you’re most often confused about your sexuality. I mean, it’s complicated. You know, and if you were – y’know I listened to one speaker and he was talking about a lady that was lesbian, and he said before you judge her let me just tell you her backstory. He was a counselor, and he said she was chained to a toilet as a like two, three, four, five year old girl and raped by her dad, for years and years. How do you think she’s gonna feel? In other words, he’s trying to get you to realize that there’s a deeper backstory, and if you understand that, you can love them while you’re – while you’re bringing truth and trying to help them.”

As noted in the Reformer, “Gazelka also shared his belief that a person’s sexual orientation can be influenced by whether he or she had a strong relationship with a parent of the same sex.”

These claims are false. The American Psychological Association states that “no specific psychosocial or family dynamic cause for homosexuality has been identified, including histories of childhood sexual abuse.”

LGBT Youth Have a “Myriad of Issues”

These deeply prejudiced beliefs are rooted in the misguided notion that homosexuality is a defect in someone to be corrected. Gazelka makes it clear that’s exactly what feels when, during that same discussion of conversion therapy, he stated:

If somebody comes into [a counselor’s] office and says “I’m gay,” I’m hoping they help them. They’ve got a myriad of issues, they don’t have to work just on that issue to help that adolescent. And so, suicide is very, very high among adolescents that are dealing with same-sex attractions. You know, the thing I want to give them first and most is love, and then how can I walk with them. Y’know, because some people never shake a sexual attraction that the Bible would say is sin. They never shake it. You know, that doesn’t mean they have to give in to it; others find a way to have total freedom. But my job is to walk alongside them speaking the truth in love, but I want them to know that I care for them and I’ll help in any way I can.

Gazelka correctly notes that suicide rates among LGBT youth are heightened while in the same breath claiming that LGBT youth have “a myriad of issues” and that he believes their sexual orientation is something sinful that they must shake.

Brian Evans, DFL Communications Director, released the following statement:

“The bigoted beliefs Gazelka expressed in this interview are exactly the attitudes that made it so difficult for me to come out and still make it hard for LGBT Minnesotans to simply be who we are. Paul Gazelka cannot claim to love the LGBT community while fueling the homophobia that causes our community to face heightened rates of depression and suicidal ideation.

“Unfortunately for Minnesotans everywhere, Gazelka’s bigotry towards the gay community has infected his work in the Minnesota Legislature. Gazelka was responsible for blocking a DFL bill that would ban counselors from telling gay youth that their sexual orientation is wrong and needs to be changed. How can Minnesota’s LGBT community expect compassion from a man who turned his back on his own child?

“By this point, it’s clear that Paul Gazelka will not change his deeply bigoted beliefs. If DFLers do not take back the State Senate, then Minnesota Republicans will continue to be led by a man who uses the State Senate to attack our LGBT family, friends, and neighbors. That is unacceptable.”