By PATRICK CONDON
ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Republican lawmaker who invited a controversial pastor to pray in the Minnesota House chamber says he didn’t know about the pastor’s past comments about gay people and that he shouldn’t have invited him.
The prayer Friday morning by Bradlee Dean quickly prompted Republican Speaker Kurt Zellers to apologize to colleagues in a rare floor speech. Dean leads an Annandale-based evangelical ministry, and in past interviews he has called gay people predators and molesters. He also criticized President Obama in his prayer.
Rep. Ernie Leidiger (LIE’-digg-er) of Mayer says someone from Dean’s ministry requested the invite. Leidiger says he only knew of Dean’s past work educating students on constitutional issues and not his controversial past remarks.
The flap over the prayer came as the House was scheduled to possibly debate a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.