GOProud Seeks Audience with Bachmann
Gay conservative group GOProud says it would like a meeting with anti-gay politician Michele Bachmann in order to address controversial statements about GLBT Americans that Bachmann and her husband, Marcus Bachmann, have made, CNN reported on July 18.
GOProud, CNN noted, "supports traditional conservative issues such as limited government, lower taxes and a strong foreign policy." But the group is controversial among the GLBT community for its support of politicians and other personalities perceived as anti-gay, such as GOP presidential nomination hopeful Herman Cain and Ann Coulter, who delivered the keynote speech at "Homocon," a GOProud event that took place last September.
GOProud has also praised Bachmann for her political positions, but recent scandals surrounding the candidate have prompted the gay group to seek the meeting.
"We intend to discuss the issues that gay conservatives are concerned about," GOProud co-founder and Executive Director Jimmy LaSalvia told CNN.
According to GOProud, gay conservatives share many of the same concerns as their heterosexual counterparts: Limited government, reductions in federal spending, and the scrapping of President Obama's version of health care reform for something more palatable to conservatives.
But GOProud also works toward full legal equality for GLBTs -- in theory, at least. Among the group's other points is an opposition to the recurring proposition of amending the U.S. Constitution in a manner that would place marriage equality out of reach of gay and lesbian families, and strip marriage from same-sex couples living in the six states, and the District of Columbia, where marriage equality is currently legal.
As Bachmann's prominence has grown in a crowded field of GOP hopefuls for the nod to run against President Obama in next year's campaign, her legislative history has become more of an issue. As a Wisconsin state senator, Bachmann backed an amendment to that state's constitution to bar marriage equality, and adopted much of the standard rhetoric that accompanies the anti-gay marriage position.
"If we allow this to happen, group marriage, polygamy, and much worse would not be far behind," Bachmann claimed. She also stated that schoolchildren would be forced to learn about homosexuality in the classroom.
"In our public schools, whether they want to or not, they'll be forced to start teaching that same-sex marriage is equal, that it is normal and that children should try it," she declared.
Bachmann also opposed domestic partnerships and GLBT-inclusive anti-discrimination measures during her tenure in the Wisconsin state senate. Moreover, Bachmann made the claim, according to openly gay Wisconsin State Sen. Scott Dibble, "that being gay is a choice."
Comments made by Bachmann's husband Marcus have also reached the mainstream media. Last year, Marcus Bachmann told a Christian radio program that gays are the "barbarians" who threaten America, and added that gays need "discipline" and "action steps" rather than to be granted legal parity.
The Bachmanns own Christian counseling clinics in which so-called "reparative therapy" allegedly takes place. This is a modality that purports to "cure" gays as though homosexuality were some sort of disease. Mental health professionals have condemned the practice, saying that it can do far more harm than good.
Michele Bachmann was also the first GOP hopeful to sign on to a 14-point campaign pledge issued by an extremist Iowa group. The pledge contained numerous anti-gay clauses, including a suggestion that gays "choose" their sexual orientation and are a threat to public health. The mainstream media seized on another portion of the pledge, however; a passage that insinuated that African American children born into slavery were better off than they are today.
Bachmann was joined by another anti-gay politician, Rick Santorum, in signing the pledge. Santorum famously derided lifelong commitments between same-sex couples as the equivalent of "man on dog" sex.
Other GOP contenders refused to sign the extremist group's agenda, however, with Bachmann's fellow front-runner Mitt Romney's camp dismissing it as "undignified and inappropriate," according to a July 13 Associated Press story.
Despite all that, LaSalvia -- who was himself the victim of an anti-gay assault on July 15 -- told CNN that on many fiscal issues, Michele Bachmann's positions align with those of GOProud.
"I certainly agree with Michele Bachmann on a lot of stuff," LaSalvia said. "She's absolutely dead right when it comes to the situation our country is in now and the need to put our fiscal house in order."
But fiscal policy may be the only area of overlap between GOProud and Bachmann. In a debate in New Hampshire last month, Bachmann offered the contradictory message that she supports both the right of states to decide marriage issues for themselves, and an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would supersede all state laws, ban marriage equality across the nation, and dissolve existing same-sex marriages.