John Medeiros, a Minneapolis writer who curates an LGBT reading series there, has written a letter on behalf of Minnesota’s lesbian and gay community to an anti-gay state senator apologizing for ruining her marriage.
Senator Amy Koch resigned as the Minnesota State Senate Republican majority leader on December 15, and six days later acknowledged an “inappropriate relationship” with a legislative staffer.
“On behalf of all gays and lesbians living in Minnesota, I would like to wholeheartedly apologize for our community’s successful efforts to threaten your traditional marriage,” Medeiros wrote Koch, according to a December 22 story on citypages.com, a Minneapolis publication. “We apologize that our selfish requests to marry those we love have cheapened and degraded traditional marriage so much that we caused you to stray from your own holy union for something more cheap and tawdry.”
Koch has been a key GOP player in the effort to enact a state constitutional amendment barring marriage by same-sex couples. In the November 2012 election, voters will be asked to approve a ballot question stating, “A marriage between a man and a woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in Minnesota.”
On December 21, Koch, a Roman Catholic who is married and has one child, released a public apology stating she had engaged “in a relationship with a Senate staffer” that she acknowledged was “inappropriate” and reflected “mistakes and errors in judgment.”
Though she did not identify the staffer in question, citypages.com reported that Michael Brodkorb, a top state party official who was the Senate majority communications chief, was widely rumored to be that man. Brodkorb lost several GOP posts he held in the wake of Koch’s resignation.
Medeiros rubbed salt in Koch’s wound over the affair with a staff subordinate, writing, “We are doubly remorseful in knowing that many will see this as a form of sexual harassment of a subordinate.” The senator insisted no laws were broken.
Having become majority leader in early 2011 after Republicans gained control of the Senate in last year's elections, Koch had the shortest tenure in that leadership post in Minnesota history. She will not seek reelection to the Senate in 2012.
Democratic Governor Mark Dayton, a supporter of marriage equality, told Minnesota Public Radio that Koch’s resignation points up the hypocrisy of GOP efforts to amend the State Constitution.
“The Bible says, ‘Before you take out the speck in your neighbor’s eye, take the log out of your own eye,’” the governor said. “My mother used to say, ‘If the shoe fits, wear it. If it’s befitting for somebody whose own conduct doesn’t measure up to what they’re professing to believe in, or prescribing for others, then they should be called on that.”