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Michele Bachmann, Husband Marcus Defend Characterizing Being Gay As 'Personal Enslavement'

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Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) (L) and her husband Marcus Bachmann encourage people to vote for her outside the Hilton Coliseum at Iowa State University August 13, 2011 in Ames, Iowa. Nine GOP presidential candidates are competing for votes in the Iowa Straw Poll, an important step for gaining momentum in a crowded field of hopefuls. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and her husband, Marcus Bachmann, sought to clarify their position on gays and lesbians in a new interview with People Magazine.

Michele Bachmann said in 2004 that being "involved in the gay and lesbian lifestyle" amounts to "personal bondage, personal despair and personal enslavement." She added that she was not "bashing" anyone.

Her husband has compared gays to "barbarians" who need to be "disciplined." He runs a Christian counseling center that has offered therapy to try to change sexual orientation, according to an undercover investigation by Truth Wins Out, a gay rights organization.

In the Oct. 31 issue of People, the couple defended themselves against accusations of harboring an anti-gay bias. "There's never been a bias," Marcus Bachmann said. "I'm no better than anyone else," Michele added.

People also talked to Michele Bachmann's gay stepsister, Helen LaFave, who Bachmann said she loved. LaFave said, "Yes, we are family and love each other, but she seems to have a disconnect. Her statements and actions related to gay rights are very hurtful, whether she understands that or not." Their once-close relationship reportedly strained over Bachmann's anti-gay activism.

Though Bachmann won the Iowa Straw Poll in August, she is polling in single digits nationally and in Iowa. Her New Hampshire staff reportedly quit en masse on Friday, but her campaign denied the report.

Bachmann also told People that she wanted her three daughters to learn how to shoot. "I think it's symbolically important," she said. "Women need that ability to protect themselves."

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