A 16-year-old girl challenges Michele Bachman on same-sex marriage

[Video Link] A brave girl asks Michele Bachman why same-sex couples can't get married.

During a town hall, 16-year-old Jane Schmidt, the head of her school's Gay-Straight Alliance, asked the famously anti-gay congresswoman how she would support the LGBT community. After Bachmann said that "all Americans have the same civil rights," Schmidt pressed her, even as virtually all the adults in the room broke out in applause in response to Bachmann's reply.

"Then why can't gay people get married?" Schmidt asked. They can, Bachmann assured her, as long as they marry a person of the opposite sex. A lengthy exchange ensued, wherein Schmidt kept her cool while calling out Bachmann's bullshit answers.

GOOD: People Are Awesome: This Young Activist Took Michele Bachmann to Task on Gay Marriage


  1. As a Republican, I take offense to Bachman claiming to be one of us. She’s a theocratic parasite that found a warm, inviting host to thrive in. My party should be doing our best to distance ourselves from her and her kind, not cater to them.

    Gimme a third party, please.

    1. Thanks Brian!  Our current political climate needs more Republicans like yourself calling out and distancing themselves from the Wing Nuts that are running the party right now.  I’m a Democrat but I want two strong healthy parties.  It’s a scaring thought that 50% of our parties are being controlled by factions like this.

      1. I’m a registered Democrat, but I don’t want just two healthy parties; I want at least one other party, if not more than that.  A two-party system will always be inherently flawed.

        And, yeah, yeah, there are other parties, but there is no hope that anyone in those parties would ever get elected, so we really do have a two-party system.

  2. I have to admire Bachman giving the mic back to the students over and over after they’d make it clear they were on the opposite side of her, rather than brushing them off and continuing the pep rally/photo opp as many politicians would. Of course it did give her a chance to spout more talking points to the base, who appeared to be lapping it up.

    1. The only reason she kept giving the mic back was so that she could hammer her odious and flawed points home again and again. Basically the answer to the girl’s question was “Well, this is how it is, and that’s how it will always be, so… screw you”. But only if it’s hetero screwing.

  3. “Schools that allow children with a background in Muslim faith to be able to pray in school. It’s the Christian kids who aren’t allowed to pray.”

    Wish she called her out on this bullshit. There is no one denying kids the ability to pray at school. What they are stopping is school sponsored/lead prayer.

    Also odd how she doesn’t call them Muslim children but “children with a Muslim background”.  Christian kids, no problem saying.

    1. That’s because she subscribes to a nasty bit of theology that says that everyone is a Christian, they just don’t know it yet, and it’s the duty of baptized Christians to “enlighten” their clearly confused neighbors. So the kid isn’t Muslim, she just hadn’t had a chance to talk to her yet.

      1. I actually agree more with that than the externally defining “Muslim Child”. I think Hitchens and Dawkins make the same point – children are brought up in a faith and calling them BY that faith means you acknowledge that process. Now, of course – saying that they are of a muslim background until they figure out how to properly love Jesus is just as inherently misleading. But labeling children by their parents’ religion is just wrong either way.

        1. Agreed. I’m religious- not part of the Abrahamic religions- but I do concede that slapping religious identity labels on children is a bit sticky. If I ever have kids (and that’s a BIG If) I intend to raise them in my faith, but I will acknowledge that they don’t meaningfully share my faith until they can make the decision on their own to do so. (And if they decide not to, totally fine with me.)

    1. Someone needs to explain the tyranny of the majority to this woman.

      Someone needs to explain democracy to her?

      Maybe, but I doubt it. She seems to get it.

  4. The applause right after everything Bachman was very distracting. It’s hard for me to decide if it’s disingenuous, or if some people were just impressed that she’s able to string a few words together in a coherent sentence.

    1. I’m pretty sure the people clapping were silence-activated androids. One could make pretty much any sound and they’d begin applauding once it stopped.

  5. My next question would have been, so because you insist the FEDERAL government shouldn’t have anything to say about who can marry who, you obviously would support REPEAL of DOMA, right? As it IS a federal law dictating exactly what you reject.

  6. I wish the young lady had asked Bachmann whether she considers it a civil right to be permitted to marry the person you love. That’s the crux of the matter.

    1. I swear I am not being stand-offish or trying to undermine that argument by being controversially extreme – but would you also allow multiple people to marry? Because to my mind, the concept of being able to marry the person you love should be able to extend to multiple partners, but every time I bring that up people think I am making the asinine “people will marry dogs” argument, which I am not.

      1. A better question would be, why not permit multiple people to marry?  What legitimate interest of the state is served by prohibiting it?

          1. The difference is that while same-sex marriage endows individuals with the rights available to all citizens, bigamy reduces the rights of one or more parties to the marriage. I’m all for polyamorous relationships if you can make it work, but introducing a state-sponsored marriage and all it’s attendant economic, social, and familial rights into that framework is unworkable. The State has an interest in protecting the rights of individuals, bigamy always reduces the rights of one of the individuals involved, in clear contrast with same-sex marriage.

          2. It’s because the Christians don’t believe in polygamy. They drove the Mormons out of Missouri for practicing polygamy (among other things). The Mormons set up shop in Utah because it was outside the United States and they could do what they want. So the Christians outlawed polygamy, and then made Utah as state so the Mormons would have to obey the law that they had no hand in passing. There’s no good reason for polygamy to be illegal except a lot of people like Bachmann want to rule over everyone’s bedroom.

            She has the gall to say the government’s job is to protect our rights, then in the next breath tell someone the government won’t let them do something that they should have every right to do. She doesn’t understand that laws can change but human rights are natural and immutable, including the right to love one another.

        1. Because multiple marriages are almost invariably 1 guy with a bunch of wives, it creates an imbalance where lots of young men have no prospects for marriage.  Young (and aging!) unmarried men are a destabilizing force in a community, and it is generally in the best interest of all involved not to let the population of them grow too large.  The easiest way to do this is to limit marriages to one couple only, although some societies have taken the approach of just sending the excess men off to war. 

          Gay marriage doesn’t cause this problem because homosexuality seems approximately equally common in both men and women.

          1. You’re missing the elephant in the room there – polygamists in today’s society don’t legally marry additional wives, but they certainly have them. Pretty similar to gay couples in most states, no?

            Because of the strength of women’s rights in the U.S., I can’t help but suspect that polygamy wouldn’t be as common even if it were legal.

          2. Polygamists in the US are such a tiny faction of the population that they don’t impact the community at large. 

            If it were legal it is impossible to say how common it would be.  All in all though, it’s not a great idea for society.

            There have been societies in the past that allowed polygamy and discovered the destabilizing influence of so many young unmarried men in society.  They were almost always in a constant state of low level conflict with their neighbors just to kill off the excess men. 

          3. So, you don’t think women’s rights in the U.S. would play a stabilizing factor? Consider this: never before in the world have stay-at-home dads been an actual thing, at least to the extent that they are today in the U.S.

            Also, my comment below raises some points relating to bisexuality that might be worth thinking about.

          4. There’s a false dichotomy here, between monogamy and this one Sister Wife hellhole version of multi-partner marriage. There’s no law of the universe that says multi-partner marriages always follow that model. There are various kinds of group partnerships in existence already that don’t resemble it at all. Many polyamorists would be only too happy to discuss them with you. At length.

          5. “Young (and aging!) unmarried men are a destabilizing force in a community, and it is generally in the best interest of all involved not to let the population of them grow too large.”

            Damn. The government better shut down 4chan as soon as possible then.

          6. “Young (and aging!) unmarried men are a destabilizing force in a community, and it is generally in the best interest of all involved not to let the population of them grow too large.”
            So, India and China are going to self-destruct?

        2. Well, one argument is that the state has an interest in inheritance and property rights, which are the basis of taxation in any sane system.   (Of course, most of us are under an insane system where we tax people for working hard, instead of taxing people who have enough stuff that they can spare some… but I digress.) 

          Anyway, the (rather weak) argument is that estate law is already complicated enough without trying to deal with multiple children of plural marriage.

      2. I think marriage should just be removed as a federal concern completely. There should be no legally sanctioned marriages – just religiously or civilly recognized unions that may or may not coincide with legally recognized partnerships, regardless of the genders or sexuality of the partners. So two straight best friends of the same gender could form a partnership that involves  sharing of resources and finances and receive whatever benefits the government deems appropriate for such partnerships that promote social stability and family. As many married people will testify to, marriage doesn’t necessarily have much to do with sexuality.

        1. Would this extend to immigration? Because my partner is Chinese and I’m American. But because we’re both male, he’s there and I’m here.  How would getting the feds out of marriage help solve our problem?

          1. I think this should be solved by not discriminating against immigrants. I hope that in 50-60 years that’s possible — in some countries, at least.

            The idea “union between people sharing a single budget” is simplistic, though. It doesn’t cover a lot of situations covered by marriage — immigration being one, others being at least hospital rights and parental rights. I hope/think those can be solved more-or-less separately, but, as in any real life civil rights idea, it’s where things start to get complicated.

          2. But I shouldn’t have to wait 50 years for my government to treat my tax-paying self as a full citizen. And that could be resolved pretty cleanly with a simple change to the marriage laws.

          3. Um, something odd happened to your answer. But, that’s besides the point.

            I guess it’s my fault, I wasn’t entirely clear. First, “50-60 years” was my depressed misanthropic self being cynical. Second, well, of course that any low-hanging fruits (like, just let gays marry) be picked first, instead of waiting for singularity. I should have made that disclaimer. Sorry.

        2. I think marriage should just be removed as a federal concern completely.

          Until that happens, would you mind if we had equal rights? kthxbai

          1. I completely agree. I’m not arguing against that at all. Just offering my (well, actually it’s originally my girlfriend’s) idea for a more ideal system. We should have equal rights regardless of whether marriage is federally recognized or just a symbolic religious or civil union.

        3.  the problem is that part of the consequences of a state-sanctioned marriage is the ability of each spouse to play a (legal) role in the affairs of the other that is not available unless they are married.

          if you simply allow individuals to create their own contracts, there is no uniformity in the shared spousal rights and responsibilities of any given married couple. one couple may have agreed to share indebtedness, another may not. this makes forming contracts with either one or both people in a “married” couple (by other parties, including the state) very tricky.  it will hard to know what the legal relationship and liability is.

          if you define what the “marriage” contract is, and then let any two people enter into that contract, then you’ve just allowed for same sex marriage.

          i think the state has a compelling interest in defining several aspects of a particular relationship that it considers to be to the benefit of society to see regularly formed between two people. these include medical decision making, financial inter-linkage, inheritance and more. i also think that the state has a compelling interest in these relationships being as stable and enduring as possible, given the cultural conditions at any point in time, and thus in making it harder to break this contract than it is to, say, sell you car.

          this means that the two people involved will likely be planning to (a) live together (b) be together for a long time (c) since most humans have some interest in having offspring, possibly raising children at some point during the existence of the relationship. i’m entirely comfortable with the state playing this role, but i see no reason why the gender of the two people needs to be a factor in whether or not to allow people to enter into this contract that we call marriage.

          1. There’s no reason why the state can’t have several different types of standard partnership contracts in the same way that there are several different types of Creative Commons licenses. There’s no reason that there has to be a one-size-fits-all “marriage” contract.

      3. Your argument still borders on the animal analogy, because it’s still asinine.  Who falls in love with two individuals and wants to spend the rest of their life with them?  If there was as many people having long-term, monogamous relationships with three people, that would be one thing, but they’re not.  Gay or straight, the majority of humans want a partner that they love and who will be recognized by their government. 

        1. What about bisexual persons? If a man and a woman find another woman or man or even one of each, what’s to say they can’t legitimately love multiple partners and emotionally support them equally? Your argument against polygamy sounds a lot like most arguments against gay marriage in that it simply discounts the possibility of it being a natural thing for someone.

          1. It’s not an argument against polygamy, I’m just talking about what’s predominantly the case with humans.  And I’m not trying to address a conceptual issue, but rather the fact that there doesn’t seem to be a need for this suggestion there’s a large quantity of multiple-lover groups that are fighting for equal marriage rights.  And I just happen to be bisexual and engaged to be married and like others like me, we don’t want to marry two people, we want a partner like almost everyone else on the planet.

          2. Plus, there is a difference between polygamy and polyamory.  I think most people here are talking about polyamory, and not polygamy.

            My best friends are in a polyamory triad.  Wife and bisexual husband have been married eleven or twelve years.  Husband has a gay boyfriend (whom we refer to as his husband); they’ve been together for 6+ years (living together for all of that).  The wife and gay boyfriend are very, very close, but not in a relationship together.

            They are, hands-down, the most stable relationship I have ever seen.  It is remarkable.  I have no idea how they do it (I can hardly deal with just myself sometimes, let alone another person … let alone two other people!).

          3. @marilove: What I’m suggesting is simply that there’s no reason the bisexual man and the gay man in that relationship shouldn’t be permitted to be married as well, in the sense that they receive legal benefits and rights.

            If you ask me, in a legal sense, polygamy is simply an extension of such polyamorous situations.

          4. Now that I think about it, you are totally right,    And I agree fully.

            I also love that  is saying such things like:

            The difference is that while same-sex marriage endows individuals with the rights available to all citizens, bigamy reduces the rights of one or more parties to the marriage.

            Without any kind of source or study as a reference. Just his own biases, used as some sort of fact or evidence, to support his arguments against polygamy.

        2. Who falls in love with two individuals and wants to spend the rest of their life with them?

          My best friends would really take issue with that.  Wife and bi-sexual husband (yes, bi men do exist) have been married 11+ years, and the bi husband has a gay boyfriend.  They’ve been in a poly triad for 6 or so years now (living together).  They have a very harmonious relationship.  Probably the most stable relationship I’ve ever come across, actually.

          Not to mention the fact that many straight couples don’t end up together for the rest of their lives, and in fact, not all plan on it. Not all straight couples marry for love.

          If there was as many people having long-term, monogamous relationships with three people

          And this doesn’t make sense. The argument for gay marriage is that we shouldn’t legislate against minorities. There will always be more heterosexual relationships than gay relationships.

        3. I do.
          I’ve got a husband of four years, and have been dating another man for almost three now.
          You are right, gay or straight, the majority of humans want a partner that they love and who will be recognized by their government.
          Its true. I just happened to have two partners that I love.

        4. Who falls in love with two individuals and wants to spend the rest of their life with them?

          Um, my friends who’ve been together in a threesome for 15 years now?

          1. Well, I can’t reply to your comment directly @twitter-110500419:disqus , but I would like @raleighstclair:disqus  to properly state whatever point he was trying to make since he seems concerned that he had a good point but didn’t make his point corectly.

      4. I can’t help but be mildly awed by how open-minded the readers here at BoingBoing are. We managed to take an argument about same sex marriage and peacefully turn it into a debate about steps beyond, particularly polygamy. I still contend that @sagodjur:disqus  easily summed up at least my thoughts on the issue. (Judging by the “likes” it’s received, I’d say he’s speaking for at least quite a few other people as well.)

        1. I can’t help but be mildly awed by how open-minded the readers here at BoingBoing are. We managed to take an argument about same sex marriage and peacefully turn it into a debate about steps beyond, particularly polygamy.

          Funny, it looks to me like two commenters derailed the thread so that we’re not talking about THE GAY anymore.

          1. With respect, I don’t consider the debate a derailment. If we’re not choosing to define “marriage” as narrowly as Ms. Bachmann does, than what should be included? What shouldn’t be? That’s the discussion I see, and I’m also enjoying how peaceful and respectful it’s been.

          2. My assumption regarding BB is that everyone here generally agrees gay marriage shouldn’t even be prefixed with the word “gay” and that anyone who thinks otherwise is holding onto some rather absurd moral ideals that they’d like to see impressed upon everyone else. This entire thread seems to speak to that.

            I don’t really see what’s so wrong about discussing marriage rights for THE BI – after all, same sex marriage is at least seeing some movement on the political front. I can’t even recall the last time polygamy was brought up in a debate that Mitt Romney wasn’t a part of.

      5. I, personally, would prefer if the government got out of the business of “recognizing” marriages altogether — hetero, homo, inter-species, et. al..

        1. To repeat @Antinous_Moderator:disqus :  Until that happens, would you mind if we had equal rights? kthxbai

      6. “but would you also allow multiple people to marry?”

        As long as they are consenting adults of sound mind, I cannot think of any ethical reasons why not. 

        It is so sad that people cannot think critically about an issue without resorting to slippery-slope hyperbole.

    1. Of course she wants to abolish the Dept. of Education. She doesn’t want to have to endure these lines of questioning in the future, and the best way to bring about that state of affairs is to start creating dumber children.

  7. “Then why can’t gay people get married?” Schmidt asked. They can, Bachmann assured her, as long as they marry a person of the opposite sex.

    Forgot the part where Michelle says “…like my husband did!”

  8. Bachmann’s responses are hilarious in how stupid and backwards they are, but that combined with the audience response makes me want to vomit. Seriously, I’m kind of nauseous right now.

  9. tl;dr version:

    MB: We all have the same rights. Nobody has special rights.

    Student: Then why do straight people have special rights?

    MB: Because that’s The Law.

  10. So, if the law itself is discriminatory, those who are discriminated against should suck it up because it wouldn’t be her job as a lawmaker to change it.With this attitude, from whom she is expecting to get vote from?Homophobes?

  11. Is there a transcript of this somewhere? I find it to embarrassing to watch  Bachman, even when someone is taking her down. It’s like watching Borat hand his poop to his dinner host.

  12. Love how the people mechanically clap every time she talks. We act like puppets so we deserve puppet rulers.

    Oh, and let’s stop calling rulers “leaders.” It’s offensive to leadership.

  13. 2 different modes of communication — that’s for sure!

    MB: When ideas fail, words come in very handy. 

    1. Um, no one. They’re clapping in support of a political candidate they believe in. They’re clapping when they hear things that sound good to them and that they agree with. Convincing anyone isn’t in the plan when you clap for something.

  14. With respect, I don’t consider the debate a derailment.

    1)  Right wing operatives routinely derail discussion of gay marriage with the formula, “If gays can marry, then what about ________?”
    2)  Discussions about gay issues are routinely disrupted by people trying to get people to stop talking about being gay.  cf. DADT, Silence = Death, “the love that dare not speak its name now won’t shut up”. 

    1. Antinous, I agree with you and I am always disappointed by how fast the issue gets stepped on. You are absolutely correct that the wing nuts often use this tactic to derail the discussion.

      The other people who do it are the poly crowd themselves, as they do not want to be left out. I understand not wanting to be left out, but I think we should focus on the fight for the removal of gender discrimination first and then go after the multiple partners issue. Both issues need to be resolved, but one step leads to the other. Removal of religious based definitions from American law is not going to happen by fiat but by a slow erosion process.

      Another side of the issue is that The Gay usually shuts up when The Bi or The Poly opens their mouth. This makes the Poly crowd seem louder than they are and loses the possibility of mutual support among minority camps that I would love to see.

      All of this adds up to a situation in which the tactic works really well and some of the progress provided by open discussion between smart people is blunted. This makes me sad. I am not sure what the answer is, but I know we are contributing to the situation by our own cynicism.

      I personally think marriage ought to be a legally defined situation governed under a section of contract law. But it will take a while to get there and I am patient and content with taking what steps we can to move along that path.

  15. Imagine Bachman as the manager of an animal shelter, and she gets it into her head to kill all stray cats she collects.  Then, a little girl who’s lost her cat asks Bachman what she would do should she find the cat. Can’t you see her reassuring the child: “No, we wouldn’t kill your pet. We don’t kill all cats. We only kill a cat if it isn’t a dog.”  One could choose a different analogy, but she really has that banality of evil thing going for her.

  16. I didn’t find the gay rant back and forth part very engaging.  Just people clapping whenever Bachmann make a half-point.  This is usually the case for every conversation in a political rally.

    What I did find intriguing was her reaction to the comments about prayer in school, as asked by the second student at the meeting.  In her response, she made the point, “when we had prayer in school, we didn’t have all of the problems that we do today.”

    I find this troubling, and very revealing about her campaign.  Saying that no prayer in school is directly linked to problems in the school system is just connecting two common trends without any evidence.  Basing law and major reconstructive changes based on half assed theories is exactly how to run a country into the ground.

  17. Men can marry women and women can marry men. There are roughly equal numbers of each, so both men and women have equal rights to marry, but applied to two separate groups. So you could say their rights are “equal but separate.” Catchy, I like that.

  18. it seems to me that our “two-party system” is non-existent. democrats and republicans are almost indistinguishable to me. i imagine that if we had a couple more parties, actual thriving ones, that the democrats and republicans would join together like a horrible, partisan voltron. (republicrats? i’m just spit-balling here)

  19. affording all humans the right to marry should not be considered inclusive.
    It should be considered exclusive to deny groups of people the right to marry based on a seemingly random, demographical classification.
    So… given that logic;

    If fat, white, middle-aged homophobes want to get married, what’s next?
    Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!

  20. Exchanges like this do not serve to make either side of the debate go. “Gee. Thanks to this question / response, I have seen the errors of my ways and will now pursue a new life according to this illumination.”

    It serves to help moderates determine who gets to lead the country next.

  21. “You have a right to breathe, you have a right to breathe nitrogen. There’s no federal law that allows you to breathe oxygen, there’s no extra rights for oxygen-breathers.”

  22. So, it’s completely fair that heterosexuals can marry people of the opposite gender (as they wish) and homosexuals can also marry people of the opposite gender (not that they’d normally want to), because that’s the law and it applies equally.

    So, why not change the law so that homosexuals also have the option to marry people of the same gender (as they wish) and heterosexuals also have the option to marry people of the same gender (not that they’d normally want to)?   

    The law still applies to everybody, so it’s fair, only everybody gets to marry someone of the gender they want to marry. This isn’t rocket science, and Bachmann is obviously being completely disingenuous in repeating “Well that’s the law as it is” to every repetition of the question. She’s obviously willing to change the law as it is on other subjects.

    Oh, and with regard to plural marriages, I’ve yet to hear any more convincing reason why the government has an interest in opposing that either. It is simply absurd to say that not many people want it, therefore the government has an interest in forbidding it. The government should have to demonstrate an overriding public good to be attained before forbidding anything to anyone. Saying that some types of polygamous marriages cause societal problems is not sufficient either; some types of monogamous marriages cause societal problems too, but no one suggests making all monogamous marriages illegal.

  23. Laws against gay marriage are discriminatory… not on the basis of sexual orientation, but on the basis of sex.

    Men have the legal right to marry a woman.  Women lack this right.  They are being discriminated against.

    Women have the legal right to marry a man.  Men lack this right.  They are being discriminated against.

    The fact that two groups are both being discriminated against is an argument FOR changing the rules, not against. 

  24. watched, the vid, wondered: how much $$$ to hire all of them “clappy the clapping clown” dorks in the audience?  because they sure did NOT applaud in response to some witticism on MB’s part…

  25. Isn’t same-sex marriage “the law of the land” in Iowa? Does that mean Bachmann’s fine with it?

  26. Hearing Bachmann’s comments on prayer in school turned on a light bulb for me.  She kept talking about how the government is limiting the free speech of the schools.  What she (they) don’t seem to get is that the schools ARE the government.  If you permit school-led prayer, you are using a tax sponsored government entity to require kids to make a religious observance (or perhaps awkwardly opt out).  

    I do think that some people are a little tetchy on the subject.  I’m an atheist and I don’t mind singing xmas carols, for instance, or even a creche in the public square.  It’s a slippery slope, sure, but our role as adults in this world is sometimes to keep our footing however slippery the slope might be.  

    I don’t believe that there are kids who are prevented from praying in schools.  Just plain don’t believe it.

    In the video when they were talking about prayer in school I kept waiting for someone to say, “So what if a school district where there is a very large muslim percentage decides to endorse muslim prayers during school hours?  What if they have a break after noon each day for Salah?”

  27. There has been enough time pass with legal same-gender marriage in Western countries, Canada, and the USA that if there are negative consequences to legal recognition of these relationships, then let’s hear about them. Let’s debate based on facts, whatever those facts may be. The fact that Congresswoman Bachmann does not cite any such facts to support her position is telling.

  28. “Special rights” is an illusion– if her premise that allowing opposite sexes to marry is a right all of us share, including homosexual couples that have no natural interest in marrying the opposite sex, then logically if we allow same-sex marriages then heterosexual couples would then share THAT right as well, and could marry the same sex, even though they have no interest in marrying the same sex.

    So by her own logic, banning same sex marriage is actually DENYING all of us a potential freedom.

  29. Apply Bachman’s logic to before women had the right to vote… “they are equal… as long as a women has a penis they can vote… therefore the law is applied equally…no special rights”

  30. When I lived in MN a decade ago, “Bachman” was a flower shop franchise, not a bigotted congresswoman . :(

  31. Again, Bachmann misspeaks. True, the DoED was elevated to Cabinet level in 1980 as part of Carter’s reorganization of Health, Education and Welfare into Education and Health/Human Services. Education has had a presence (major or minor) in the federal government consistently since 1868. It was a minor office, then in 1939 (thank you FDR), it was moved to what would become HEW in 1953.

    It’s called Wikipedia. Use it.

  32. Bachman’s pretty civil throughout the conversation, and it’s nice to see people in the audience calmly listening

    Pretty reprehensible things said there.  How would you help bullied children?  Government shouldn’t have any say in education, prayer in schools.
    There’s a pretty serious mean streak in the republican party, but making a promise to leave children, within a state sponsored institution, to fend for themselves seems harsh even by that standard.

    y’know, even if personal, not school lead, Christian prayer were in any way dissalowed, it sounds like children with a Christian background could still say Muslim prayers, so same opportunity under the law!

  33. Some questions that didn’t get asked there, but (if I had been the questioner) I would have asked:

    #1 (in response to ‘it’s the law of the land, a man can marry a woman or vice versa’):

    Then why can’t she change the law? Presidents don’t have lawmaking power directly, but there’s no restrictions on who can author a bill for presentation to the houses of Congress. The only restriction is that a congressman/woman must do the actual submission, and I highly doubt that Mrs. Bachman would be in such bad favor with the ENTIRE Houses of Congress that she couldn’t call in favors and get a bill introduced.

    #2 (in response to the whole Muslim kids question):

    What about kids who are of other religions than Christianity, Judaism, or Islam… or choose none at all? In the past, there have been clashes about nontheistic kids refusing to say the Pledge of Allegiance (or, their parents requesting they be exempted from it on their behalf) because it contains the words “under God”; this phrase was added to the Pledge during the McCarthy era, as a counter to so-called ‘godless communists’.

    There’s a whole mine of issues here that got glossed over. It might be interesting to see where it leads.

  34. Ah.. I really wanted the girl to ask why gay people can’t marry the person they love and watch Bachmann have nothing to say but “because it’s against the law.” Marrying the one you love in America, sometimes it’s against the law. Can someone that is able to tap into that  type of crazy tell me how she would have weaseled out of that one?

  35. As a libertarian, I really wanted to like Bachman. I really wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt. And I agree with her on some things, such as the DOE.

    But she has just utterly failed on too many counts.

    One, for being a religious nutjob. That’s really not what we need right now.

    Second, I remember visiting her YouTube page once. She had two videos. The first was ‘hi, I’m Michelle, I’m running for prez, blah blah blah. The second was ‘Israel Israel Israel God Israel America must do everything possible to help Israel.’ Which country is she running for president of, anyhow?

    Third, she just hasn’t thought things through well enough. Her moral compass is clouded by religious dogmatism. This is a perfect example; the current marriage laws are a clear violation of equal protection. The libertarian view is this: government has no business with marriage, they have muddied up a religious ritual by codifying it, marriage laws should be replaced with a contractual framework that any two adults can enter into. The church gets to do whatever it likes and call it marriage, but it has no legal weight. End of story, everyone is happy. Instead, she must tie herself in knots trying to defend an inherently discriminatory legal structure. 

    “No, laws prohibiting mixed race marriage aren’t discriminatory. Whites can marry whites, blacks can marry blacks, there’s no discrimination.”

    Not impressed.

  36. Anyone can get married, but it has to be the opposite sex?

    How in anyones mind is that Equality, in this day and age?
    People like this are the reason Slavery existed for so long…

  37. I’m no fan of Bachmann, but she is technically correct:  Straight people are prohibited from marrying prople of the same sex as themselves just as gay people are prohibited (in most states) prohibited from marrying people of the same sex.

    Is Bachmann really not able to see how this is discriminatory?  Or, is she simply proud of the fact that, so far, she and other bigots have the law on their side?

    Not having gotten elected to Congress by being stupid, my guess is that Bachmann is proud.

    The good news is that, the Republican party knows full well it has even less chance in a general election against Obama with Bachmann heading the ticket than it did with Palin on the ticket with McCain.  If powerful (i.e. big-money) Republicans come out in favor of Bachmann, we will know for certain that their intent is once again to throw the election to the Democrats.

  38. I remember being taught to be tolerant and accepting of other cultures. I guess what they left out is that we should be tolerant and accepting of people not in the US. But we should judge US citizens based on judeo-christian ethics.

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