A video was unearthed showing Republican congressional candidate Michelle Park Steel bragging about putting her daughter in a Jesuit school “for a year of brainwash” after the girl expressed her support for same-sex marriage.
The unearthed video: The 65-year-old Republican, who is running for California’s 48th Congressional District, made the provocative comment at a Newport Mesa Tea Party meeting in 2014, according to LGBTQ Nation.
- In the clip, the politician talked about her two daughters and described one of them as “perfect” while the other as being different.
- “She chose the university, Santa Cruz, and then she started talking about, you know, ‘I’m going to vote for Obama.’ There’s a change. And then she said, ‘God gave us two men, what’s wrong with gay marriage?’” she said.
- Steel then continued that she pulled her daughter out of college and enrolled her at Loyola Marymount, a private Jesuit university in Los Angeles, before getting her degree.
- “We brought her back and we sent her to Marymount…. one year of brainwash, and then after that, we sent her to Vanderbilt. Now she’s working for Edelman, a PR firm in Washington, DC,” Steel continued.
Who is Michelle Steel: Steel is a member of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, which “oversees the management of County government and many special districts.”
- She represents the second district that covers Buena Park (Portions of), Costa Mesa, Cypress, Fountain Valley (Portions of), Huntington Beach, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Newport Beach, Seal Beach and Stanton.
- Steel voted against the funding for Orange County Human Relations Commission in 2017 and voted to block reports about hate crimes committed against minority groups, such as the LGBTQ+ community and immigrants, in the county.
- She is running against Democratic candidate Harley Rouda, a supporter of the LGBTQ+ community who co-sponsored the Equality Act bill in 2019 that bans discrimination against that community in public accommodation, housing, credit and other related areas.
People’s reactions: After the video was published online, many in the community and its supporters expressed outrage, including Tony Hoang, the managing director of Equality California, who said Steel’s homophobia has no place in Orange County and in Congress. Congressman Rouda expressed the same sentiment.
- “Michelle Steel says she wants to represent Orange County families in Congress, but she’s made her contempt for thousands of her would-be constituents crystal clear,” he said. “Orange County families want and deserve a representative like Harley Rouda, who will fight to protect our civil rights — not someone who thinks LGBTQ+ people are second-class citizens.”
- The organization also described this incident as “part of a pattern of anti-LGBTQ+ actions and statements” made by Steel, Pink News reported.
- Hans Furtado Laursen, a doctor working in the frontline against the COVID-19 pandemic, also condemned Steel’s homophobic comment.
- “I’m on the front lines fighting COVID, but she wants to represent me by saying that families like mine don’t count,” said the doctor, who is raising a son with his husband. “She’s saying that my 1-year-old son, my husband and I don’t really count as equal before the law in her eyes. The Supreme Court says we are, but she doesn’t. I know this — I’m going to work extra hard to make sure that someone like [Democratic incumbent] Harley Rouda, who values and fights for all his constituents, continues to represent me in Washington DC.”
- In a statement to NextShark, Rouda describes Steel’s remarks as “toxic and harmful” to the LGBTQ community.
- “For thirty years, Orange County was represented in Congress by someone who believed that LGBTQ Americans deserved less because of who they loved. In 2018, advocates and allies from both sides of the aisle came together to defeat Dana Rohrabacher and his blatant homophobia. The first piece of legislation I signed onto as a Member of Congress proudly representing Orange County, was the Equality Act. I signed my name to send a message to Orange County, especially LGBTQ children — you are welcome in our community, I will support you, and I will not rest until we are all equal under the eyes of the law. A person who cannot support their own child for believing that love is love, and same-sex couples deserve the right to marry, is unfit to serve at any level of government. I look forward to defeating homophobia at the ballot box once again.”