Rep. Michele Bachmann is now infamous for her staunch support of a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot in Minnesota this year that would ban same-sex marriage. While Bachmann, whose husband, Marcus, runs a "therapeutic" practice that engages in so-called ex-gay or reparative therapy, has made no secret of her homophobic beliefs on her rise to prominence, that bigotry hits especially close to home for lesbian Helen LaFave, Bachmann's stepsister.
Bachmann's mother married LaFave's father 40 years ago, and the two women spent at least one summer living under the same roof when Bachmann was home from college and LaFave was finishing high school, according to a New York Times article published on Saturday.
In the article, Frank Bruni sits down with the usually reclusive LaFave, who says she was "stunned" when the Congresswoman began using her political influence to habitually vilify gays and lesbians.
"It felt so divorced from having known me, from having known somebody who's gay," said LaFave, who has been with her partner Nia Wronski for more than 25 years.
LaFave wrote Bachmann a letter in 2003 asking the Republican legislator to consider family members caught in the crossfire of Bachmann's antigay rhetoric. "You've taken aim at me," wrote LaFave. "You've taken aim at my family."
While LaFave generally avoids partisan statements regarding her controversial stepsister, she told The Times she was compelled to "speak out for fairness for those of us who are being judged and told our lives and relationships are somehow less."
Read the entire interview, including LaFave's recollection of hugs and 'I love you's exchanged at family gatherings here.