Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann has said being gay is "personal enslavement," "part of Satan," "sad," "dangerous," and is--in her estimation, a negative development--now "made to look good" on TV instead of the subject of mincing jokes. Her husband runs a counseling clinic that claims to be able to cure patients of their homosexuality. But now Bachmann says she's "not running to be anyone's judge." The Republican's thoughts gay people seem like a weird throwback, given that a majority of Americans now support gay marriage and Congress repealed the military's ban on gays last fall with overwhelming public support. But despite the conventional wisdom that the Tea Party doesn't care all that much about social issues, they're still very important in Republican politics. A Des Moines Register poll last month showed that 58 percent of Republican caucus voters would not support a candidate who was in favor of civil unions, Jennifer Jacobs reports.
Gawker's Seth Abramovitch collects some of Bachmann's comments as transcribed by anti-Bachmann site DumpBachmann.com in January, from a 2004 speech to the National Education Leadership Conference (you can listen to the audio here), that might be less weird to an Iowa Republican than your typical independent voter.
"...Any of you who have members of your family that are in the lifestyle--we have a member of our family that is. This is not funny. It's a very sad life. It's part of Satan, I think, to say this is gay. It's anything but gay."
"...Because if you're involved in the gay and lesbian lifestyle, it's bondage. Personal bondage, personal despair, and personal enslavement. And that's why this is so dangerous."
"...If you'll recall television maybe 15, 20 years ago, if you'd see something about gays it would be an outlandish kind of an outfit, it would be a kind of tittering, making fun. But that's different now. Now gays are made to look good."
But while these comments are shocking to what polls show are the average person, they fit right in in Iowa, which happens to host the first vote of the Republican primary. The state is a must-win for Bachmann, which helps explain why she was the first Republican candidate to sign a family values pledge put forward by the Iowa group The Family Leader called "The Marriage Vow"--a document that made the candidate promise to be faithful to her spouse, fight the establishment of Sharia law in America, oppose same-sex marriage, and agree that black kids had a better family life during slavery. After outrage about that little slavery bit exploded on the Internet, The Family Leader deleted the passage from its pledge. Bachmann's spokesman clarified, for the record, that "Congresswoman Bachmann believes that slavery was horrible." Rival candidate Rick Santorum later said he'd been "taken aback" by the adultery part. But he signed anyway.