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Paul Koering

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Paul Koering (born December 17, 1964 in Brainerd, Minnesota) is an American politician from Minnesota. A Republican, he represents the rural area of Fort Ripley, near Brainerd in the Minnesota Senate. He is a liquor store owner and small farmer, as well as a Roman Catholic.

He was first elected in 2002, defeating Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party Don Samuelson, who had been the Senate president. He was re-elected - overcoming both primary and general election opponents - in 2006.

Koering's positions tend to be conservative, including opposition to tax increases, opposition to abortion, support for tougher criminal sentences, and support for broad gun rights, including support for a general right to carry a concealed firearm.

In a notable exception to his conservatism, he has sided with state Senate DFLers in opposing restrictions on gay rights. Koering is believed to be the first openly gay Republican elected official in Minnesota.

Koering effectively 'outed' himself by breaking from the Republican Party line on a procedural vote in the Minnesota Senate. The pivotal moment came on April 7, 2005 when Minnesota State Senator Michele Bachmann, a Republican known for activism against gay rights, used procedural tactics to that would have forced a vote on her constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Minnesota.

April 7, 2005 also happened to coincide with the Gay & Lesbian Day at the Capitol, as well as the second anniversary of the death of Koering's mother.

Koering explicitly stated his sexual orientation a week later. [1]

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