December 02, 2011 6:00 pm ET - by Julia Krieger
When it comes to anti-gay rhetoric, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) is outspoken. She's said "it's part of Satan" to call homosexuality "gay," and has indicated that she believes homosexuality can be cured. As a legislator, she's made no bones about her opposition to same-sex marriage. On the campaign trail, she's courted virulently anti-gay groups and suggested that as president, she wouldn't nominate a pro-marriage equality justice to the U.S. Supreme Court.
So when an Iowa high school student who's a member of a Gay-Straight Alliance asked Bachmann about supporting the gay community, it's no surprise that she didn't really answer the question, instead turning to a defense of her opposition to marriage equality.
JANE SCHMIDT: My name is Jane Schmidt, I'm in charge of the GSA over at the high school.
BACHMANN: What is that?
SCHMIDT: It's the Gay-Straight Alliance, and one of my concerns is the lack of government support for the LGBT community. So, my question for you is: What would you do to help protect GSAs in high school and support the LGBT community?
BACHMANN: Well, number one, all of us have as Americans have the same rights. We have the same civil rights. And so, that's really what government's role is, is to protect our civil rights. There shouldn't be any special rights or special set of criteria based upon people's preferences. We all have the same civil rights.
SCHMIDT: Then why can't same-sex couples get married?
BACHMANN: Well they can get married, but they abide by the same laws as everyone else. They can marry a man if they're a woman, or they can marry a woman if they're a man.
SCHMIDT: Why can't a man marry a man?
BACHMANN: Because that's not the law of the land.
SCHMIDT: So then, heterosexual couples have a privilege.
BACHMANN: No, they have the same opportunity under the law. There is no right to same-sex marriage.
SCHMIDT: So, you would do nothing to support the LGBT community?
BACHMANN: No, what I said is there are no special rights for people based upon your sex practices. There's no special rights based upon what you do with your sex life. You're an American citizen first and foremost, and that's it.
Bachmann's argument is inane at best, but her choice to completely ignore the question in order to launch into an anti-gay talking point is also notable. There are plenty of things Bachmann could've said — for example, she could have talked about the anti-gay bullying that has been cited as a cause of the teen suicide epidemic in her district, and about the importance of student groups like Gay-Straight Alliances that support LGBT students and that could help in combating such tragedies. But Bachmann is a bigot, so instead of answering the student's question she just explains why she thinks her own bigotry is justified.
Alexandra Petri of the Washington Post has a great take on Bachmann's twisted sense of logic:
I'm glad Bachmann wasn't there for history. "Why can't Rosa Parks sit at the front of the bus?"
"She can sit," Bachmann would say. "She can sit at the back of the bus."
I'm glad she isn't my waiter. "Is there a vegetarian option?"
"The vegetarian option is steak," Bachmann would say, not blinking an eye.
"Is there a way for people in wheel chairs to access the sixth floor?"
"There's a way. They can take the stairs," Bachmann would say, still not blinking.
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