Sen. Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota)
Ah, sisterly love. They say there’s no bond like the bond between sisters. Or at least Hallmark does.
Of course, there are plenty of sensible people who sing the praises of sisterhood. As Alice Walker once pondered, “Is solace anywhere more comforting than in the arms of a sister?”
Or, as Britney Spears once said, “I always call my cousin because we’re so close. We’re almost like sisters, and we’re also close because our moms are sisters.”
I’m not really sure what that means. I just like to work Britney Spears into this column whenever I can.
I, myself, have three sisters, and while we haven’t always agreed on everything or gotten along as kids, we have amicable grown-up relationships now. I can sleep comfortably at night without having to worry that one day one of my sisters will become a politician and will use that power to pass anti-gay legislation.
Sadly, Minnesota Republican Michele Bachmann’s sister gets no such peace of mind.
You see, Sen. Bachmann’s stepsister, Helen LaFave, is a lesbian. And Sen. Bachmann has spent the last two years trying to get legislation passed to make sure her sister never has the right to marry.
Family values, indeed.
Last week LaFave was in attendance at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing where Sen. Bachmann’s anti-gay marriage amendment was considered. The Committee rejected the proposal – but still, watching your kin argue that you don’t deserve equal rights has got to leave a mark.
“I came to the hearing because it’s a very personal issue,” LaFave told The Associated Press. “Michele’s been very out in front on it, and at some point I wanted to bear witness on what she’s doing that’s so personally hurtful to me and so many others.”
And how did Bachmann react?
“I love my sister, and I’m really glad she’s here with her partner,” Bachmann said. “We obviously disagree on this issue, and in that we’re not unlike many other families.”
True, family members disagree about a whole slew of issues, but Bachmann acts like she and her sister disagree about a highway funding bill or property taxes.
Of course, Bachmann comes from a long line of conservatives with LGBT family members who work against LGBT rights: Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich, Alan Keyes, Pete Knight. The list goes on.
But then, being a good sister isn’t nearly as sexy as being a rising star in the currently anti-gay Republican Party.
It’s also hard work. Take it from Maya Angelou: “I don’t believe an accident of birth makes people sisters or brothers. It makes them siblings, gives them mutuality of parentage. Sisterhood and brotherhood is a condition people have to work at.”