Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann held a town hall meeting at the Pizza Ranch in Waverly, Iowa, on Wednesday and when asked by a high school student why it is gay people shouldn’t have an equal right to marry, Bachmann decided to set the record straight: gays do have an equal right to marry…. the opposite-sex spouse of their choice.
Jane Schmidt, 16, was the one asking the first question there. She deserves a proper answer and Bachmann did not give it.
Bachmann’s reasoning is circular and gives no insight into the issue: There is no civil right to same-sex marriage. Why? Because that’s not the law of the land. Why is that not the law of the land? Because there is no civil right to same-sex marriage.
Except it is the law of the land in Iowa where in 2009 the state’s supreme court ruled unanimously that a statutory ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Despite recent moves to try and change this, same-sex marriage remains legal in the state. Even so, same-sex partners are denied the federal benefits of marriage due to the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
This leads to our next issue. Bachmann’s second point is that you should not and do not get special privilege for your sexual practices.
Unfortunately she does. For being in a heterosexual marriage Bachmann gets access to in excess of 1049 federal rights and benefits that are denied same-sex couples in the handful of states where same-sex couples can marry, and that is not to mention the broad range of rights they are denied in states that ban same-sex marriage, rights that include joint adoptions and survivor benefits.
Toward the end of the video Bachmann is also keen to highlight her GOP credentials as supporting small government and letting the people of Iowa decide their issues themselves, yet she clearly does not support small government in all regards because she vehemently supports the Defense of Marriage Act which has been found to infringe state autonomy because it denies federal recognition to same-sex couples and therein prevents states from offering those couples equal marriage rights.
A presidential candidate should not have to dodge questions from a teenager. When they do, as Bachmann did here, we know there to be a serious problem.
Image taken from YouTube video under fair use terms.