Bachmann leads the Tea Party Caucus, which she founded in 2010. She is a third-term member of the U.S. House of Representatives representing Minnesota's 6th Congressional District. Prior to her election to this position she served for seven years as a member of the Minnesota State Senate, where she led a campaign to ban same-sex marriage in the state. Before entering politics, Bachmann worked as a tax litigation attorney for the Internal Revenue Service. She holds a J.D. from Oral Roberts University, and an LL.M. in tax law from William & Mary School of Law.
Bachmann is unique among the 2012 GOP candidates in that her professional life has been defined by activism within the Religious Right movement. During the 1970s and 1980s she worked as a "sidewalk counselor," interrupting women attempting to enter abortion clinics. In 1993 she co-founded the New Heights Charter School, a public school that taught Christian biblical theology - until school district officials caught wind of what she was doing and threatened the school's funding, prompting her to run unsuccessfully for a position on her local school board in 1999.
Ties to Dominionism:
While Bachmann has never explicitly identified as a Christian Dominionist, she served as research assistant on John Eidsmoe's Christianity and the Constitution (1987), a classic of Dominionist constitutional interpretation, and has described him as a mentor who "taught me about so many aspects of our godly heritage." Bachmann's career as an activist, and later as a politician, has always centered on altering secular law to better conform to a Christian biblical worldview.
Views on Abortion and Reproductive Rights:
Bachmann supports a U.S. constitutional amendment banning all abortion. She has also proposed a ban on some forms of birth control, such as Plan B, to which she has incorrectly referred as "the morning-after abortion pill." She has criticized one of her opponents, Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), for instituting large-scale HPV vaccinations.
Views on Lesbian and Gay Rights:
Bachmann supports a federal ban on same-sex marriage and the reinstitution of "don't ask, don't tell" in the U.S. military. She has referred to same-sex marriage as "probably the biggest issue that will impact our state and our nation in the last, at least, thirty years." In a 2004 interview, she said that "it is our children who are the prize for this community" and that "the immediate consequence, if gay marriage goes through, is that K-12 little children will be forced to learn that homosexuality is normal, natural, and perhaps they should try it."
Views on Immigration:
Bachmann opposes the DREAM Act, and has called for children of undocumented immigrants born in the United States to be stripped of their citizenship. She is also the only GOP candidate to specifically call of the repeal of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which ended the practice of explicit racial quotas that favored white immigrants. "The immigration system in the United States worked very, very well," she said in a September 2011 debate, "up until the mid-1960s when liberal members of Congress changed the immigration laws."
Views on First Amendment Issues:
Bachmann has called for the reinstitution of prayer in public schools, and has argued that creationism should be taught alongside evolution in public school biology classes. Bachmann has also proposed legislation specifically prohibiting Islamic religious law from influencing U.S. policy, arguing that Muslims have been "taking over" and "diminishing" European culture. And in July 2011, she signed a pledge vowing to "[protect] women and the innocent fruit of conjugal intimacy" from "all forms of pornography," though it is not yet clear what this would entail on a policy level.