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Watch Michele Bachmann's Openly Gay Stepsister Praise Obama Watch Michele Bachmann's Openly Gay Stepsister Praise Obama

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The Daily Fray

Watch Michele Bachmann's Openly Gay Stepsister Praise Obama

July 16, 2011

Michele Bachmann, whose fear of gay people is well-documented, has divulged in the past that she has a member of her family who is gay, adding that such a lifestyle 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." She went on to say that, "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."

The media has known about the existence of this family member, Bachmann's stepsister Helen LaFave, for some time. But as Bachmann's rhetoric against gays become increasingly strident, there is greater and greater curiosity regarding the relationship between the two. LaFave, who is openly gay and lives with her partner Nia Vronski, has taken issue with Bachmann's strong anti-gay politics since she proposed a gay-marriage ban in Minnesota. The Daily Beast reported how Bachmann's relationship with her stepsiblings grew "strained" over the issue of gay rights.

 "Helen always liked Michele, always," says Linda Cielinski, one of Bachmann's other stepsisters. "They lived together as teenage girls. They were very close at that time." Bachmann's anti-gay activism, Cielinski says, "was a hit to the gut."

And so, in April 2006, when the Minnesota Senate judiciary committee met for a hearing on Bachmann's proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, Helen LaFave, Wronski, and several relatives including Cielinski were all in the gallery. "I wanted Michele to put a face to this whole thing," says Cielinski. "These were family members she was hurting."

 
Given this, it's perhaps unsurprising that LaFave is (or was, at least) a supporter of Obama. The Daily Mail posts a video from of LaFave and her partner praising Obama after his inauguration. (The video is below.) LaFave says:
It's very important to me to be here today just because it's starting something new... it seems like a reawakening of the country, and to be part of that, and to see the first African-American president take office is very meaningful.”
One curious piece of the video is that LaFave says she got her tickets "through one of the Congress people," leading Daily Intel to ask, "Did Michele Bachmann get her lesbian step-sister tickets to the Obama inauguration?" Andre Tartar speculates that it "turns out the [Bachmanns] may have once done a favor for a gay person... While not conclusive, it does strike us as rather much of a coincidence that LaFave just happens to be related to the member of Congress from Minnesota's 6th district."
 
But before we go igniting family rumors, as Salon noted when it first posted the video, "we have no idea if she helped her stepsister gain access." And others bloggers, like Maureen O'Connor at Gawker, felt only dismay viewing the video. O'Connor writes:
How Bachmann can look at these mild-mannered ladies—one of whom she grew up with—and conclude that acknowledging their relationship would destroy America is beyond me. I can't even summon the sarcasm to write a joke about it.