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“They CAN Get Married”: Michele Bachmann’s Truly Worst Quote

Submitted by on June 1, 2013 – 10:50 amNo Comment
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Michele Bachmann announced this week that she would not run for reelection to Congress next year, and opponents rejoiced. Amid the celebrations and general insults, liberal media immediately started compiling the “greatest hits” of the ever-quotable Bachmann’s most outrageous statements. But most of those lists don’t include the one statement that I believe is the worst, the one that perfectly expresses the collision of hypocrisy, fundamentalism, factual inaccuracy, willful ignorance, and the debasement of the concepts “freedom” and “rights” that characterizes the Far Right today.

Speaking at a town hall event in her home state of Iowa in 2011, Bachmann fielded a question from Jane Schmidt, a brave teen who headed her high school’s Gay-Straight Alliance. The young woman asked the congressional representative what she would do to help the LGBT community. Unbelievably, Bachmann replied that she would protect their “civil rights” by denying them any “special rights.”

Confronted with this nonsense, Schmidt asked bluntly, “Why can’t same-sex couples get married?”

“They can get married,” replied Bachmann, “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.”

Wow.

And it goes on, with Bachmann deflecting the obvious argument that this gives heterosexuals a special privilege. In this short exchange, we can see how little Bachmann truly cares about (or understands) rights and liberty. As with many conservatives, when Bachmann wants something, it is her right to have it; when someone else wants something, it is a “special privilege” (or often, “government handout”). Theoretically, homosexuals are free to marry straight; the poor are free to be rich; the sick are free to get treatment; the disenfranchised are free to vote; but any attempt to actually make these things possible would be wrong.

As Alexandra Petri at the Washington Post perfectly expressed at the time, this is like telling people in wheelchairs that they are free to use the stairs.

Furthermore, Bachmann’s clearly intentional obfuscation masks her evangelical Christian motivations. I doubt that Bachmann actually thinks this exchange makes sense; but somehow, it is no longer quite appropriate for a politician on the national stage to say, “The Bible says homosexuality is a sin, and the Bible is the literal word of God, and that’s why I do everything I can to fight homosexuality in law.” A horrible sentiment for many reasons, but at least it has a sort of internal logic, which is more than I can say about Bachmann’s “rights” babble.

As for “factually inaccurate?” Bachmann claims that heterosexual marriage is “the law of the land.” However, in Iowa, gay marriage was and still is legal. But Bachmann would never let a silly thing like a fact get in her way.

Bachmann has made bigger gaffes and told more outrageous whoppers. She claimed she shared a hometown with John Wayne, when it was actually serial killer John Wayne Gacy; she said the founding fathers worked “tirelessly” to eliminate slavery; and she mangled the Yiddish language. But in my opinion, this is the quote that’s not just crazy, but offensive and dangerous. And unfortunately, the next wave of voices on the right are saying the same things.

What do you think Bachmann’s worst quote is?

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