Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann on Wednesday announced her exit from the race for the White House — much to the delight of LGBT advocates who abhorred the anti-gay positions she espoused during her campaign.
Bachmann, a Tea Party favorite who represents Minnesota in Congress, declared she was suspending her campaign during a news conference in Des Moines, Iowa, on Wednesday after her dismal showing in the Republican Iowa caucuses.
“The people of Iowa spoke with a very clear voice, and so I have decided to stand aside,” Bachmann said.
In the Iowa Republican caucus, Bachmann came in sixth place and collected around five percent of the vote, even though the Hawkeye State is where she was born.
Calling on followers to rally around whomever the Republican Party selects as its presidential nominee, Bachmann said she began her campaign as a citizen who “believes in the foundation and in the greatness of our American principles.”
“Our principles derive their meaning from the Founders’ beliefs, which were rooted in the immutable truths of the Holy Scripture, the Bible,” she said.
Throughout the campaign — and over the course of her four years in Congress — Bachmann’s anti-gay positions vexed LGBT advocates who dreaded the prospects of her presidency.
R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of the National Log Cabin Republicans, said Bachmann’s decision to leave the race was appropriate because she focused too much on anti-gay rhetoric during her campaign.
“Michele Bachmann is not and cannot be a serious contender for the presidency, and Log Cabin Republicans are happy to see her step aside,” Cooper said. “While her focus on limited government and repealing the failed policies of President Obama was a positive, her focus on divisive social issues demonstrated her lack of credibility.”
Cooper said Bachmann’s lackluster performance in the Iowa caucuses should demonstrate to aspiring politicians that “earning a reputation for antigay extremism is a harmful distraction that ultimately leads to failure.”
Bachmann reiterated many times throughout her campaign her belief that marriage should be restricted to one man, one woman and was among the candidates who signed a pledge from the National Organization for Marriage committing her to oppose same-sex marriage as president. By signing the document, Bachmann promised to back a U.S. constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage throughout the country and to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court.
Bachmann was also among the candidates who have pledged to restore “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” if elected to the White House.
In the course of her career in Congress, Bachmann voted against hate crimes protections legislation, repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and a version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. She was elected to Congress too late to have voted on the Federal Marriage Amendment in either 2004 or 2006.
Bachmann has even expressed indifference to anti-gay bullying over the course of her campaign. Asked what she would do about bullying at rally in Costa Mesa, Calif., in September, Bachmann replied, “That’s not a federal issue.” The lawmaker has become associated with the issue of anti-gay bullying because of the rash of teen suicides in her congressional district.
The candidate has also refused to comment during her campaign on past anti-gay comments she made in 2004. Bachmann had once said ‘Gays live a very sad life” and “it’s part of Satan.”