As opponents of a same-sex marriage ban chanted outside the chamber, a pastor who has made statements about jailing gays led the Minnesota House in the daily prayer.
Bradlee Dean with Old Path Church in Minneapolis violated the House Chamber's long-standing policy that the prayer be nondenominational. He also took a swipe at President Obama implying he is not a Christian.
"It's not about the Baptists. It's not about the Catholics alone or the Lutherans or the Wesleyians or the Presbyterians, evangelicals or any other denomination but rather the head of the denomination, and his name is Jesus as every president up until 2008 has acknowledged," Dean said.
You can watch the video here.
According to the Minnesota Independent, Dean has made statements in support of jailing gays and also said that Muslim nations who execute gays are more moral than American Christians.
Rep. Tina Liebling, DFL-Rochester, said it was "the most divisive prayer I have ever heard in the chamber."
She said she tried to catch Dean to tell him that herself, but he had already left the floor. Beyond that, Liebling said she cannot believe Dean was allowed to speak on a day when the House could potentially be voting on a proposed Constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
"Here is a person who is the most hateful person you could find giving the so-called prayer on this day of all days is beyond the pale," she said.
House GOP leadership quickly realized they had a problem. They started the session over again with the House chaplain offering the prayer and then did the Pledge of Allegiance again and the roll call. Liebling said she appreciated that Republicans did start over.
In a statement, Speaker of the House Kurt Zellers apologized for the incident and denounced Dean.
"I respectfully apologize to all members in the Minnesota House of Representatives and all citizens of this state for today’s morning prayer. As Speaker of the House, I take responsibility for this mistake. I am offended at the presence of Bradlee Dean on the floor of the Minnesota House of Representatives. I denounce him, his actions and his words. He does not represent my values or the values of this state."