Iowa Teens Challenge Michele Bachmann on Gay Equality, Hijinks Ensue

It’s no secret that the gay community isn’t high on Michele Bachmann’s list of priorities as a potential candidate for President, especially if you’ve been following the rash of suicides in Bachmann’s own school district, which Bachmann has utterly failed to respond to in word or deed. But Bachmann’s lack of support for our community hasn’t been a major point of criticism of her in the recent string of GOP debates and press coverage — until now.

While holding a campaign stop at a small town in Iowa, Bachmann was fielding questions from her audience when three GSA members from a local high school asked “What would you do to help protect GSAs in high schools and support the LGBT community?”

Bachmann’s basic answers is, while baffling, pretty par for the course: to sidestep the question by explaining that LGBT people don’t need any support! Specifically, she says that “As Americans we all have the same civil rights… That’s really what government’s roll is, to protect our civil rights. There shouldn’t be any special rights or special set of criteria based on people preferences. We all have the same civil rights.”

When confronted with the fact that we in fact have very different civil rights, as is evidenced by the fact that straight people can marry and gay people cannot, Bachmann a) demonstrates that she is unaware of the fact that same-sex marriage actually is legal in Iowa, when she b) explains that gay people can’t get married not because they’re second class citizens, but just because it’s illegal. You know, like jaywalking, or driving with bare feet in the state of Massachusetts. After all, straight people can’t marry someone of the same sex either! We’re all in the same boat on that one!

Michele Bachmann isn’t unique in the GOP or in the world in her beliefs about gay people and their “special rights,” but she’s pretty much on the bottom rung in terms of being able to explain or defend them. It’s telling that the students who are more or less the exact same age as the ones facing bullying and the suicide of their peers in Bachmann’s own school district are the ones who get that two groups with different rights aren’t “equal;” in 2011, shouldn’t any Presidential contender understand that too?

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Rachel is Autostraddle's Managing Editor and the editor who presides over news & politics coverage. Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

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80 Comments

  1. “gay people can’t get married not because they’re second class citizens, but just because it’s illegal.”

    Oh, Bachmann. You failed Introduction to Logic, didn’t you? I’d offer to help you identify tautologies in your “reasoning,” but then there’d be nothing left. You’re on your own.

        • She’s so pathetic. Let me tell you something about Michele Bachmann. We were best friends in middle school. I know, right? It’s so embarrassing. I don’t even… Whatever. So then in eighth grade, I started going out with my first girlfriend Nina who was totally gorgeous but then she moved to Indiana, and Michele was like, weirdly jealous of her. Like, if I would blow her off to hang out with Nina, she’d be like, “Why didn’t you call me back?” And I’d be like, “Why are you so obsessed with me?” So then, for my birthday party, which was an all-girls pool party, I was like, “Michele, I can’t invite you, because I think you’re an insane republican.” I mean I couldn’t have a republican at my party. There were gonna be girls there in their *bathing suits*. I mean, right? She was a CRAZY REPUBLICAN. So then her mom called my mom and started yelling at her, it was so retarded. And then she dropped out of school because no one would talk to her, and she came back in the fall for high school, all of her hair was cut like a midwestern soccer mom and she was totally weird, and now I guess she’s on crack.

  2. The awesomeness of these kids totally overrides the unawesomeness of Bachmann in this video.

    I feel like, in the last three years or so, the world has slowly started to realize that Iowa and Iowans are awesome. Because it is. And we are.

  3. Okay I never use the word retarded because my little brother is autistic and mean kids love to say mean words, but this lady is retarded. First of all, yes you can sing Christmas carols in school, I went to a public high school and as a matter of fact these students from the local high school here (TX) just rang my door bell to sing Christmas carols. Secondly, why the hell would we get rid of the Federal Department of Education? No offense, but as much as I hate how teachers are under paid and some schools do not get good funding but where would we be if schools were ran by the city and locals? What if it’s a school in the poorest town and the city doesn’t make much money? Isn’t the FDE the ones who allow underprivilaged children to get free lunch or is that just a TX thing because I know I was greatful that during a hard time while I was in school my mom was able to get us free breakfast and lunch. I really am trying to understand her political views, but they just do not make sense. Maybe I’ve been working on my Same-Sex Couple Adoption paper a tad bit too much today because I am becoming fed up with this bullshit when it comes to all the simple rights the LGBT community is asking for. Honestly we shouldn’t even have to ask. Maybe Bachmann should go read the Declaration of Independence again because in Sir Thomas Jefferson’s words “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Maybe if she keeps reading on too she’ll see that when you try to deny people rights they begin to rebel and we all start reading Henry Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience. Okay done ranting, sorry I am kind of pissed after all the research I’ve been doing for my last paper.
    On the flip side, I guess I better get a straight camp pamphlet from Stewie (Family Guy) because I swear I have the gay gene!

    • To add on to my poorest town with no funding rhetorical question, I must say she wants to get rid of the FDE and claims it was better because when she was younger there was no FDE but I must question how well funded her school was and I must point out if we get rid of the, as crooked as it may be, FDE kids can get an education and life expierence just like Bachmann. C’mon we all know she turned out just fine……

    • “Okay I never use the word retarded because my little brother is autistic and mean kids love to say mean words, but this lady is retarded”

      could you not think of any way to call her an asshole without using a slur for mentally/developmentally disabled people? she’s not disabled (as far as i know), just awful

  4. I want my 4 minutes and 57 seconds back. That kind of deliberate “ignorance” (in quotes because I doubt it’s real ignorance) and self-serving twisting of facts makes me ill. Her discussion of the First Amendment was also ludicrous.

  5. the evolutionary progression of the united states’ human rights and civil liberties granting is absolutely unacceptable. also, am i the only one who thinks the amount of power u.s. citizens willingly give to the federal government to determine our rights as human beings is fundamentally disturbing?

  6. Nope. After reading Henry Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience in 10th grade I began to question why the government has so much power and then many other works from him and similar authors later did I officially find it disturbing as well. I am starting to agree with Thoreau’s opinions, although his opinions were fueled by the Mexican-American War and slavery… I don’t believe that we should give our government that much control over our human rights and the irony is what is stated in our Declaration of Independence.

  7. That woman just makes me sick. I knew I shouldn’t have watched the video, because it would just make me angry, but I did it anyway. I am super proud of those girls for keeping their cool like that. I would have totally lost it if I had been there.

  8. OH MY GAAAAAAAWWWWWWWDDDDD!!! SHE IS SOOOO F***2$!!#! ANNOYING!! Talking to her is like talking to someone who’s slow in getting the point of the question. Her answers are just dumb. dumb. dumb. what’s even more annoying are the stupid claps that went along with her stupid answers. My Gawd!!! uuugghh!! :\

  9. For 5000 years, “marriage” has meant “a contract between one man and one woman”, not some other random combination of humans because it feels good. That definition of marriage is the bedrock of human society.
    MB’s response meant that society should not endorse gay marriage by giving it the high status of “marriage”. Ignore the perverted and false “interpretations” of her comments by gay media bloggers. She remains the most principled Constitutional Conservative on the American political stage.
    This was a particularly moronic screed on MB’s commonsense response and instruction to clueless gay activist students. The radical left, gay media no longer even pretends to report political news but instead feeds us radical left gay propaganda.

    • Um… I know I shouldn’t feed the trolls, but here on Turtle Island gay people have been getting married for at least 12000 years(and likely much longer). It was only since the Christians came that it was suppressed, and now gay people can get married again. And you know what, shockingly, while all this gay marrying was going on we had societies, and democracy, and complex religions, and lots of babies, and sustainable agriculture, and art, and mathematics, and the number zero, and french fries, and awesome shoes, and yes, even bedrock. So from where I’m standing not having gay marriage was a blip, and Christians are kind of weird. Just saying.

    • But I thought that the Bible said God created the earth 6000 years ago, so does that mean marriage wasn’t one man and one woman for the first thousand years?

      Hold on a second, let me just check the beginning of the Bible and why, what’s this? POLYGAMY, BAM. http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/says_about/polygamy.html

      If you’re going to claim from a Christian basis that marriage between one man and one woman is the bedrock of society, you might want to remember that Abraham (who is also considered a founding patriarch by Judaism and Islam) has multiple wives AT GOD’S INSISTENCE as well as concubines.

      YOU JUST GOT BIBLE-SCHOOLED BY AN ATHEIST, CHUMP

    • Actually, even in the Bible marriage was often between 1 man and 2+ women. Even if the kings were the only ones with actual harems, Jacob had Rachel and Leah who bore the twelve tribes of Israel…which is where I’m assuming you’re coming from, since you think the world is only 5,000 old?

      I really just don’t understand why you’re here. Couldn’t you go watch Hannity or something, and let us have our one small space?

  10. I really want to watch this right now, but I’m afraid to because it’s gonna be so fucking awkward and I’m sooo terrible at handling second-hand embarrassment. Kudos to these teens though for being total fucking badasses.

  11. “What I said is ‘There are no special rights for people based upon your sex practices. There are no special rights based on what you do with your sex life.”

    It would seem that Bachmann has never heard of Executive Order 13087. (or the subsequent orders that have followed it)

    While it might not apply to many people, it does apply to all federal employees, and those employed by federal contractors. So yes, Ms. Bachmann, there are rights based on sexual orientation. Protected by the federal government of the United States of America. You know, that government you’re employed by right now?

    I believe, based on that same law, if a gay person applied for a job as a staffer for Bachmann’s office (though God knows why they would want to), if she denied them employment because she didn’t like they were gay (you know, in her mind, no special rights), she would be in violation of federal law. In the EXACT SAME WAY as if she denied them employment because they were black.

  12. This is why I’m proud to be an Iowa teen. Wish I’d been there, I would have ran up and hugged that girl. Or ran up to Michelle Bachmann and said “thank you so much for being so wonderfully supportive of LGBT-rights and our grand state IOWA! We’re proud to be progressive.”

    …I just want to see what she’d do.

  13. I think people to need get out of the mindset that marriage is to do with religion or even love for that matter.
    At a base level a marraige is a contract between two people that legally binds them.

    If something goes wrong (which it often does) then things are much easier solved thanks to this marriage contract. A copuple with children spliting up without such a contract can struggle enormously. It’s there to protect everyone involved. It is nothing really to do with religion. It is a piece of paper.

    In a secluar society (which I believe America claims to be) religion should play no part in law making. Therefore to deny gay marriage by pulling quotes from the bible or claiming that it is ‘morally wrong’ is the most ridiculous arguement possible.

    I’m not American but things like this really anger me. For the most part I’ve only ever met intelligent open-minded Americans so I struggle to understand where this kind of thinking comes from.

    Makes me feel glad to live in Britian where most of our conservative politicians are gay. (Sorry for the rant)

    • Just as an aside, SO many of the members of the youth branch of the conservative party in Australia are gay men. At my university we referred to it as ‘the other queer collective’. I always thought it was just us. But is this a thing in Britain too??

      I get where you are coming from and agree with you for the most part but I would like to point out there are legal mechanisms to regulate relationship breakdowns that do not involve marriage. In Australia if you are in a genuine domestic relationship then family law applies to you regardless of whether you are married or not. So does tax, social security, immigration law etc.

      Of course I think marriage is symbolically important for same sex couples and it’s practically important in places where unmarried couples do not have legal rights, which seems to be all of the US as far as I can tell… but basically what I am saying is that marriage is important, but it’s also possible and important that unmarried couples (regardless of gender) have legal protection too.

  14. DOMA is a law that is specifically designed to protect the rights of the majority at the expense of the minority.

    The simple fact is that in several states we have marriage rights in the form of marriage or civil unions and without the ‘special right’ to descriminate against us we would have our rights granted by some states recognized.

    We aren’t asking for special rights, we are asking for the removal of the special rights they granted themselves at our expense.

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