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Michele Bachmann, one of the frontrunners in the Republican bid to unseat Obama in the 2012 presidential election, is coming under fire because of her rigid opposition to homosexuality.
In 2004 she was an enthusiastic proponent of amending the US Constitution in order to ban gay marriage. That same year, she told a conference of educators that “if you’re involved in the gay and lesbian lifestyle, it’s bondage. It is personal bondage, personal despair and personal enslavement.”
Furthermore, she claimed that gay rights advocates were planning to use the public schools as a platform to normalize homosexuality. “This message could be very easily misunderstood. Who is he speaking to—8-year-old boys? And so you have a teacher talking about his gayness. He goes home then, and says ‘Hey mom, what’s gayness? We had a teacher talking about this today.’
The mother says ‘Well, that’s when a man likes other men and they don’t like girls.’ The boy’s 8, he’s thinking ‘I don’t like girls. I like boys. Maybe I’m gay.’ And you think, that’s way out there. Kid isn’t gonna think that. Are you kidding? That happens all the time. You don’t think that’s intentional, the message that’s being given to these kids? That’s child abuse,” she said.
According to The Daily Beast, back in 2005 when two women approached Bachmann in the bathroom to discuss her stance on gay marriage, she ran away crying and calling for help. She then called the police and told them that she felt “absolutely terrified and has never been that terrorized before as she had no idea what those two women were going to do to her.”
Her husband, Dr. Marcus Bachmann, has also come under fire for his views on homosexuality. He runs a chain of counseling centers in Minnesota called Bachmann & Associates and therapists working under him have been accused of supporting “reparative therapy,” a scientifically-discredited attempt to turn homosexuals into heterosexuals.
Although Bachmann denies this, the gay rights group Truth Wins Out sent an undercover operative to one of his clinics and the counselor claimed that it was possible to reduce or eliminate same-sex attraction through therapy. What he did not say, however, was that the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Psychiatric Association have taken a strong line against reparative therapy, stating that it is both ineffective and potentially damaging.
Last year, Marcus Bachmann told a Christian talk-radio host that gays and lesbians were “barbarians” who needed to be “educated” and “disciplined.” In the same interview, he claimed that the public school systems were guilty of actively encouraging homosexual behavior, and he said that all these “open doors” would cause the homosexual population to increase.
Although the Bachmanns’ hardline views will win them plaudits from evangelical Christians, they are likely to alienate mainline Protestants and independent voters. The same words that galvanized her support among the religious right could ultimately prove to be her undoing if she ends up going to the polls in 2012.
Image Courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/