Now, it's no secret that Michele and Marcus Bachmann don't like gay people. As a state senator, Michele introduced a state constitutional amendment barring marriage equality, and as a United States representative she's said she'd support a federal amendment doing the same. And in recent weeks a number of stories have revealed that her husband's Christian counseling clinic (which received state and federal support) preaches that gay people can be cured, which is not therapy that is backed by any credible medical association. And this morning Gawker points us back to an audiotape of Michele Bachmann from 2004, which was posted by the Dump Bachmann blog, when she was addressing an educational conference. She spoke exclusively about the threat of gay marriage.
Referring to the 2003 Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling that legalized marriage equality in that state, she said: "Something that was meant for evil was used for good," in that it helped garner George W. Bush's reelection. "If you're involved in the gay and lesbian lifestyle, it's bondage. Personal bondage, personal despair, and personal enslavement," she added. "And that's why this is so dangerous."
For good measure, she also threw in some broad lies. "Almost all if not all individuals who have gone into the lifestyle have been abused at one time in their life, either by a male or a female," she said. "There has been profound hurt that has happened in almost all if not all of their lives." And the consequences of legalized marriage equality, she warns, will be dire. "The first thing that will occur, once the legalization occurs, is that if this curriculum is not being taught already, it will be mandated, it must be taught in the schools."
Bachmann went on to lament the normalization of gay people on television and to look wistfully back on the days when the media used to only make fun of them. She called GLSEN's anti-bullying training to teachers "trash" and "garbage" and lambasted Sex and the City for having a minor gay character. And then she threw in the best whopper of them all. "I almost think that the gay community has hired [anti-gay hatemonger Fred Phelps], or created this guy, to do what he does," she said. "He is their best friend."
Here's the thing: Bachmann seems to realize that pushing the anti-gay button too hard could backfire for her — she dodged questions about her husband's clinic earlier this week, and her campaign refused to elaborate on what services it provides. But her anger-filled stance on the gay lifestyle isn't political strategy, like Obama's quavering on marriage equality or Mitt Romney's calculated support of equal rights for gay couples but not equal wording. It's clear she genuinely believes these things, fervently. It's part of her aggressively evangelical political agenda. So there will be no nuance, no evolution, no compromise coming from her direction on gay rights issues. The best she can do is hope to dance with the bigots now and avoid the issue in the general election.
Because the fact of the matter is, most Americans support the right of gay people to marry. Yes, there is a segment of the population that wants a politician to spout anti-LGBT rhetoric, but it's the segment that GOP candidates pander to in the primary and then flee from, toward the center, in the general election. And even though the vast majority of marriage equality supporters aren't single-issue voters that would turn away from a candidate based on their stance on the issue, the statistic does indicate that most Americans find persecution of LGBT people distasteful. Words like evil and enslaved and garbage aren't words that most voters like hearing coming from a leader when it's talking about fellow Americans who aren't doing anybody any harm.
Michele Bachmann in Her Own Words: ‘Gays Are Part of Satan’ [Gawker]
Marcus Bachmann's Big Gay Mess [Gawker]
Michele Bachmann: The Effects of Gay Marriage on Education [Dump Bachmann]
‘God Has Created You for Heterosexuality’: Clinics Owned by Michele Bachmann’s Husband Practice Ex-Gay Therapy [Nation]