Michele Bachmann bows out of presidential candidacy race

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Michele Bachmann, who opposes equal marriage rights for gays and whose husband’s counselling clinic was accused of trying to “cure” a gay patient, has confirmed she will not be the Republican party’s candidate in the US presidential elections this year.

Bachmann pulled out of the race after receiving just 5% of the vote in the Republican voter caucuses in her home state of Iowa this week.

R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of the National Log Cabin Republicans, said Bachmann’s focus on “divisive social issues demonstrated her lack of credibility.”

A member of the US House of Representatives for Minnesota and supporter of a federal constitutional ban on same-sex marriages, Bachmann said yesterday: “Last night the people of Iowa spoke with a very clear voice and so I have decided to stand aside.”

She spoke of the dangers of going “down the road to socialism” and, while not endorsing any other candidate, said: “I believe that we must rally around the person that our country and our party and our people select to be that standard bearer.”

She called President Obama’s healthcare reforms “left-wing social engineering”, and suggested they “endangered the very future” of the country.

Michael Cole-Schwartz of the Human Rights Campaign said: “Michele Bachmann has one of the worst records on LGBT issues of a presidential candidate in a long time.

“Unfortunately though, her exit from the race still leaves a field full of candidates who want constitutional amendments to ban marriage equality, a return to ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and continued workplace discrimination against LGBT people.”

Rick Perry, who finished fifth in the Iowa polls, was also rumoured to be pulling out, but instead announced he was heading straight to South Carolina, the third country to hold caucuses, to drum up support there while New Hampshire Republicans cast their votes.

In addition to being dogged in some corners by her own political positions, Bachmann was also campaigning under the controversy of her husband’s “gay cure” clinic, which came about when one of his Christian counselling institutions was recorded trying to “treat” a gay patient.

In July 2011, Marcus Bachmann denied a “special interest” in so-called gay cure therapies, saying: “Is it a remedy form that I typically would use? … It is at the client’s discretion. We don’t have an agenda or a philosophy of trying to change someone.”

He had said he would use his potential White House position to promote, among other issues, a same-sex marriage ban, saying: “We’re going to get this message across that marriage is between one man and one woman.”

During her campaign for the presidential nomination, Michele Bachmann’s views were scrutinised by an unusual range of questioners, with footage of the exchanges often being uploaded to Youtube.

Her inquisitors included a 16-year-old who refused to accept Bachmann’s argument that gay people already have equal marriage rights because they are entitled to enter into straight marriages.

Later, an 8-year-old whispering in her ear at a book-signing that his lesbian mother did not need “fixing” caused some to question whether he had wanted to stand up to the 55-year-old.

Most recently, she was heckled by a gay robot who insisted she “support equal rights for gay communities and robot gay people”..

Mitt Romney emerged first in the Iowa polls narrowly ahead of Rick Santorum. The next vote, the New Hampshire primary, will take place on 10 January.