At an appearance in Waverly, IA, Michaele Bachmann set the stage for the following exchange with comments about “true tolerance” in the context of religious displays in school:
“I think we have really forgotten what true tolerance means,” Bachmann said. “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.”
She then turned to Jane Schmidt, a Waverly High School student and president of the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance. Here’s their exchange in full:
JANE SCHMIDT: 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.
ELLA NEWELL, a junior at Waverly High School: Wouldn’t heterosexual couples, if they were given a privilege then, that gay couples aren’t, like given that privilege to get married, but heterosexual couples are given a privilege to get married?
BACHMANN: Remember every American citizen has the right to avail themselves to marriage but they have to follow what the laws are. And the laws are you marry a person of the opposite sex.
There. Got that? You might have to re-read it a few times to follow Ms. Bachmann.
Gays want “special privileges” while people like Ms. Bachmann follow the law of the land.
Even more reason why “the law of the land” needs to change.