Remember when Michele Bachmann was challenged to a debate by a high school student and didn’t accept it? There’s probably a good reason for that and it’s demonstrated by her inability to make a coherent argument during an exchange with a couple high school students in Iowa recently. During a campaign appearance at a pizza place, two students questioned Bachmann about same-sex marriage and she babbled incoherently:
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.
Leaving aside the utter stupidity of the argument that everyone is equally free to marry someone of the opposite gender — the same argument that failed on interracial marriage more than 40 years ago — and the fact that she never offers any actual normative argument for her position, and the fact that she is clearly arguing for special rights while claiming to be against them, she’s also wrong on the legal facts. In Iowa, the law says you can marry someone of the same sex. And because she didn’t even attempt to make a normative argument against that law while simultaneously arguing that it’s the state of the law itself that matters, she defeated her own argument. And she’s not smart enough to recognize it.