Gay conservative group reaches out to Bachmann
By Chris Moody
As gay-issue advocacy groups increase pressure on Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann over her views about homosexuality, the gay conservative group GOProud is requesting a meeting with the Republican presidential candidate to possibly lend a hand.
GOProud Executive Director Jimmy LaSalvia said that representatives with the organization have already met with some of the GOP candidates to discuss GOProud's legislative agenda--including a commitment to defeat a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, which Bachmann supports--and they hope Bachmann will grant them some face time.
"We have requested a meeting with Michele Bachmann," LaSalvia told The Ticket. "We've made this request, as with the other requests, in good faith." He said GOProud officials intend to "discuss issues important to gay conservatives" with Bachmann and "anything she wishes to talk about."
The confab between GOProud and Bachmann is not as unlikely as it might seem at first blush. GOProud's website lists 10 legislative priorities, and only one--the opposition to a federal marriage amendment--concerns gay rights. The other nine focus on issues that could appear on any conservative group's website, such as lower taxes, support for Second Amendment rights and repealing the 2010 health care law.
While the three-term Minnesota congresswoman has largely confined her basic campaign trail message to economic issues, her past statements and policy positions regarding gay issues face ongoing scrutiny. As a Minnesota state legislator, Bachmann was a strong opponent of gay marriage, and this month, an advocacy group posted a video of a counselor at a Bachmann family-owned clinic telling a gay patient that he can be "cured" of homosexuality.
In an interview with Politico, GOProud chairman Christopher Barron said he was "concerned" and "troubled" by Bachmann's record and past statements about gay issues, but would not "be part of any 'war against Michele Bachmann.'"
GOProud officials generally stress that sending a Republican to the White House trumps a candidate's view on one issue.
"We are committed to defeating Barrack Obama in 2012," LaSalvia said. "And want to be helpful to whoever secures the GOP nomination."
A spokesman for Bachmann did not immediately return a request for comment.