Michelle Steel, a member of the Orange County (California) Board of Supervisors, is running for Congress this year as a Republican hoping to unseat freshman Democrat Rep. Harley Rouda. That’s a tough order on its own, but it’s getting worse now that a video of Steel from 2014 has been released by the group Equality California.
Speaking to the Newport Mesa Tea Party when she was first running for the Orange County Board, Steel was talking about her two daughters. The older one, she said, was “perfect” and graduated from the University of Southern California. The younger one, not so much… in part because she supported marriage equality.
That daughter went to the University of California, Santa Cruz for a year after high school, Steel said. The daughter started to get more liberal at college.
“Then she started talking about that, you know, ‘I’m going to vote for Obama.’ There’s a change,” Steel said.
“And then she said, ‘God gave us two men — what’s wrong with gay marriage?’”
That was apparently a bridge too far for Steel: “We brought her back and we sent her to Marymount,” referring to the Jesuit Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.
The crowd laughed.
So that year, says Steel, she basically removed her child from UC Santa Cruz because it led her daughter to support civil rights… and sent her to a religious school instead for “one year of brainwash.”
At least she admits it’s brainwashing…? (That said, a Jesuit school like Marymount is hardly some bastion of fundamentalist thinking. Not sure why Steel would think going there would undo the damage.)
It’s not clear if this is an embellished story that she told for effect. It’s also not clear if that telling of the story comports with the daughter’s own recollection. But the bigger point is that Steel is a bigot who wants votes from other bigots, and she thought this was a way to endear herself to them.
According to Metro Weekly, Steel has a history of voting against LGBTQ rights.
In 2017, she voted against funding for the Orange County Human Relations Commission in 2017. She also voted to block a report about hate crimes against LGBTQ people, immigrants, and minorities in the county.
In case the decision to send her younger daughter to a religious school wasn’t a giveaway, Steel was cited by one anti-abortion group as being “passionately dedicated to her Christian faith.” And now we know what that means. She wants to use her religion to hurt as many people as possible — she already punished her own daughter for daring to show some humanity.
Her House race was never a difficult vote for decent people, but seeing how she speaks to her own allies is telling. You can support Rouda’s campaign here.