Earlier this week, Michele Bachmann — still inexplicably running for President of the United States — swung into a Waverly, Iowa pizza parlor for a town hall-style campaign stop.
According to the Des Moines Register, the congresswoman’s comments included the usual right-wing fundamentalist talking points about religious displays and discussions in public schools:
I think we have really forgotten what true tolerance means. True tolerance means allowing people to express themselves and their beliefs. There might be people in this room that have no faith at all. You’re welcome here. Everyone is welcome here. But that doesn’t that mean that we squelch people’s speech that have religious-based values either. And we need to allow people to speak.
That’s when Jane Schmidt, a local high school student in charge of her school’s GSA, seized her own opportunity to speak. Her hat caught Michele Bachmann’s attention, and the congresswoman walked over to her and held out the microphone.
This is the conversation that followed:
JANE SCHMIDT: I’m in charge of the GSA over at the high school –
BACHMANN: What is that?
JANE SCHMIDT: It’s the Gay-Straight Alliance, and one of my main concerns is government support for the LGBT community. So my question is what would you do to protect GSAs in high school and support the LGBT community.
BACHMANN: Well, No. 1, all of us as Americans have the same rights. The same civil rights. And so that’s really what government’s role 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.
JANE SCHMIDT: Then, why can’t same-sex couples get married?
BACHMANN: They can get married, but they abide by the same law as everyone else. They can marry a man if they’re a woman. Or they can marry a woman if they’re a man.
JANE SCHMIDT: Why can’t a man marry a man?
BACHMANN: Because that’s not the law of the land.
JANE SCHMIDT: So heterosexual couples have a privilege.
BACHMANN: No, they have the same opportunity under the law. There is no right to same-sex marriage.
JANE SCHMIDT: So you won’t support the LGBT community?
BACHMANN: No, I said that there are no special rights for people based upon your sex practices. There’s no special rights based upon what you do in your sex life. You’re an American citizen first and foremost and that’s it.
Check out video of the exchange here:
First of all, mad props to Jane Schmidt for having the courage to take a stand like she did.
Second, it’s clear that when it comes to LGBT people, Michele Bachmann still doesn’t get it. She — along with fellow GOP
wingnut extremists presidential hopefuls Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, and Rick Santorum, to name a few — still falsely conflates sexual orientation with sexual acts. (It’s almost as though the mere mention of LGBT people activates some kind of gay porn highlight reel playing on a perpetual loop in the desolate recesses of Michele Bachmann’s subconscious mind.) She still disingenuously mischaracterizes the quest for LGBT equality as a demand for some set of “special rights.” And she’s still perfectly comfortable turning on that megawatt smile and glossing over the injustices faced by LGBT Americans and even the reality of heterosexual privilege.
Of all the things that Michele Bachmann and her ilk don’t get, though, what’s perhaps most telling is that they’re totally oblivious to the fact that their hollow sound bytes are resonating with an ever-smaller segment of American society. By stubbornly clinging to bigoted views in the face of an evolving social consciousness, people like Bachmann are only hastening their own irrelevance.
I wonder: could that be Marcus clapping so loudly in the background?