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September 17, 2014

Column: Bachmann’s gay stepsister left hurt, confused

New York Times columnist Frank Bruni visited Minnesota to speak with Helen LaFave, the gay stepsister of Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. LaFave and Bachmann first got to know each other about 40 years ago when LaFave’s father married Bachmann’s mother, and the two had a warm relationship, Bruni writes.

But LaFave, who has rarely talked to the media, said it stung when about a decade ago Bachmann “began to use her position as a state senator in Minnesota to call out gays and lesbians as sick and evil and to push for an amendment to the Minnesota constitution that would prohibit same-sex marriage,” Bruni writes.

Bruni continues, “‘It felt so divorced from having known me, from having known somebody who’s gay,’ said Helen, a soft-spoken woman with a gentle air. ‘I was just stunned.’”

Since then, the two women have seen each other on occasion, and Bachmann has told LaFave, “I love you,” leaving LaFave more confused than ever, Bruni writes. LaFave was at a 2006 congressional hearing on a marriage amendment during which Bachmann spoke of the threat posed by the likes of LaFave, MPR reported.

Bachmann’s opposition to gay rights has been consistent in her political career. She spoke to Jay Leno about it last year, and left the talk show host a bit baffled:

In 2004, at an education leadership conference, Bachmann offered her thoughts on a marriage amendment and homosexuality in general. “I am not here bashing people who are homosexuals, who are lesbians, who are bisexual, who are transgendered. We need to have profound compassion for the people who are dealing with the very real issue of sexual dysfunction in their life, and sexual identity disorders. This is a very real issue. It’s not funny, it’s sad.” Here’s more: