Bachmann sidesteps gay-rights questions

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) was peppered Sunday with questions about her thoughts on gay rights, but largely refused to engage them, arguing that those issues aren't on the front of voters' minds.

"I am running for the presidency of the United States. I'm not running to be anyone's judge," Bachmann said on "Meet the Press."

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The winner of the Ames straw poll this weekend faced aggressive questioning in several of her appearances on the Sunday morning talk show circuit related to her opposition to same-sex marriage and controversial past statements toward gays and lesbians.

The issue is a potentially beguiling one for Bachmann, the deeply conservative congresswoman hoping to carry the GOP banner in 2012. She's ducked most questions about her personal opinions toward gays and lesbians, staying on message with a jobs and economy-focused message.

But she's only more likely to face questions about her views as the campaign wears on.

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She was pressed on the issue on NBC's "Meet the Press," and faced similar questions on ABC's "This Week", where she sidestepped a question on whether she would appoint an openly gay or lesbian person to her administration.

"I would look, first of all, will they uphold the Constitution of the United States? And, number two, are they competent to do what they need to do? And are they the best at who they are? That's my criteria, nothing more," she said.

Gay rights aren't the same wedge issue that President George W. Bush's reelection campaign had used to their advantage in 2004. More states have put laws on their books legalizing same-sex marriage or civil unions, and a Gallup poll in May found that, for the first time, a majority of Americans favor gay marriage.

For Bachmann, the issue is intertwined with her personal life. Her husband, Marcus, has allegedly run a clinic seeking to use faith-based efforts to help change individuals' sexual orientation.

The congresswoman reacted pointedly to a question about her husband's work during a speech last month at the National Press Club.

"I am running for the presidency of the United States. My husband is not running for the presidency," she said.

Bachmann's sought to keep the emphasis on her campaign and Tea Party-infused message, calling her social views on this matter a non-major issue.

"All of these kinds of questions really aren't about what people are concerned about right now," she said on NBC.



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