Monday, May 29, 2006

The Michele Bachmann Interview

The Michele Bachmann Interview

Finally, I’d gotten it. The interview I’d been trying to get for a year with one of the most controversial people in the state: State Senator Michele Bachmann. I was scheduled to get fifteen minutes to talk with her. I managed to get sixty. “You got more time than the Star Tribune,” her assistant told me after the interview. Originally, I was going to transcribe every word of the taped conversation and just have that be my article, but seeing as how she speaks incredibly quickly—and articulates remarkably well—and seeing as how I want to sort of have a life outside of typing an hour of a conservative politician’s positions on gay marriage and the origin of life (I’ll get back to that), and seeing as how, now that I think about it, her arguments are easily dismantled, I decided I’d quote select portions of the interview and try and be honest about describing the platform she’s running on, and what she’d do if elected to the United States Congress.

But first, a prologue: Born-again Christian Michele Bachmann has been a state senator (not a U.S. Senator) for the past four years, during which time she’s been at the forefront of the charge against gay marriage, doing so much as to delay the progress of the state budget and bonding bills at the capitol by being so forceful about getting gay marriage some attention. Now she has her sights set on the to-be-vacated Congressional seat of Representative Mark Kennedy, who will be seeking to claim the senate spot vacated by Senator Mark Dayton. Confused? Essentially, this incredibly conservative politician wants to become a U.S. Representative, and she’s poised to win. I can only hope that doesn’t happen.

Now, I could just come out and say that I’m pretty sure Senator Bachmann is borderline psychotic. I could say that if she’s elected it could very well lead to the end of humanity. I could say that if she wasn’t attractive and was instead more visually comparable to, say, the offspring of Janet Reno and a frog, then she would have as much chance of getting elected to any public office as Reno-frog would have of winning a beauty pageant. (That’s our fault, really, for being so superficial.) But I want to be fair. So this will be both a sort-of news article and opinion article.

Before I begin, though, you should know something: I went in to the interview with about five prepared questions. Being the true, steadfast politician that she is, Senator Bachmann’s logic was incredibly broad (and for the most part, fairly good) for the majority of her answers, but when she got specific, that was when she’d get my mind to shoot off in different directions. She’d say something ridiculous, but it would be hidden under a pile of her typical republican rhetoric. And by the time I mentally dug through the pile, she’s moved on to something I might be able to contradict. Did she really just say that? Wait, what did she just say now? I’d better pay attention. The bottom line is that she has her oratory polished, and me butting in would be an unneeded smudge. That isn’t to say I didn’t try to challenge her outright. There are moments on the recording where I can be heard trying to cut in, but she kept on talking.

And like a proper politician, she rarely answered my yes or no questions (like the first one following this introduction) with a “yes” or “no.” It’s easy to see that she’s ready to blend into the boring landscape of the U.S. Congress. But do we really need another politician who’s willing to put important issues on the back burner in order to concentrate further on a federal law stating that a marriage is defined as between one man and one woman? We’re in the middle of a friggin’ war. We’re heavily reliant on foreign sources of energy. The government may be breaking the law with illegal wiretaps. Gay marriage should be one of the last issues our representatives concentrate on, right after a law allowing ducks to dance, and before a ban on unlicensed silverware transportation. Kidding. It’s an important issue, but not important enough to put aside things that need to get done ASAP, like, say, budget and bonding bills. Whoops.

So here we go. These are exact excerpts from the interview. The only edits I made were removing the occasional, “Um,” or adding an ellipsis where she got completely off-track. Nothing is being taken out of context. I won’t sink to the level of Michael Moore, unless I'm making fun of her. Also be advised that she gets off-track. A lot. And keep in mind the endnotes, most of which show that she’s just plain wrong about a lot of the things she says.

TC: “Do you support the death penalty?”

MB: “Um, you know, the death penalty is currently law, but, again, it’s a state decision as opposed to a federal decision. And it’s up to the states whether or not they want the death penalty. Obviously Minnesota doesn’t have a death penalty. But I know after the—are you familiar with the Dru Sjodin case?”

TC: “Yeah, Pawlenty—“

MB: “After the Dru Sjodin case there’s been quite a bit of debate that’s elevated on that issue of whether or not we should have the death penalty. I understand why people would want to have the death penalty. I understand why it would be considered a deterrent, because that person would never re-offend. I also understand the arguments of people who don’t want to have the death penalty, and, again, that is a decision that should be made state by state.”

That was a simple yes or no question. She made it complicated. I didn’t get a straight answer. No biggie.

TC: “For gay marriage, you support leaving it up to the states, right?”

MB: “It’s called—It’s same-sex marriage is the term, and that should be a state decision. That should be a—now, however, at the federal level, marriage is also a federal issue. Before Utah was allowed to be entered into the States, Utah had to agree to outlaw polygamy, because, of course, they had polygamy back in the mid-1800s with the Mormon community, so they had to agree to outlaw polygamy in order to be eligible to be accepted into the union.
There are national implications for the definition of marriage, and with Social Security and with benefits and entitlements, and service in the military, there’s a number of areas where marriage enters into the equation. At the federal level I do believe that marriage should be defined as a man and a woman. However I believe that at the state level, constitutional amendments should be passed, and of course I would support that effort because I’m carrying the constitutional amendment here in Minnesota. [1]”

TC: “Can you give me one reason, and you can elaborate if you want, why same-sex marriage would be—Why you would vote for a federal ban?”

MB: “Well it’s not just a ban on same-sex marriage, what it is—the effort allows the people to define the laws that they live under. What we have seen in the last few years is an impassioned increase in the number of activist judges who are making our laws for us. Not just in the area of redefining marriage, but also in the area of private property rights with eminent domain. The Kelo decision, that came out this last summer, the Supreme Court issued, where they stated that it was fine for a local unit of government to condemn one private person’s property for the purpose of giving it to another private person so the government could benefit because the tax revenues would be enhanced. That’s an egregious violation of the Fifth Amendment’s “takings clause,” and – but what we’re seeing are court opinions where judges are becoming super-legislators. They’re taking the law into their hands. We saw that in the area of marriage in the Massachusetts [vs.] Goodridge decision [2] that was handed down in November, 2003, and that was probably one of the worst decisions I’ve seen because the judge decided that—four out of the seven non-elected judges decided that they would order the legislature to pass a law in conformity with the judges’ will. That’s unbelievable, because that’s a denial of our representative form of government. We live in a constitutional republic. Some call it a democracy, some call it a republic. We live in a representative form of government. The only legitimacy that government has is: We rule by the consent of the governed. That consent is given at the ballot box. It was first given when we established the Declaration, second at the Constitution, but—We are legitimized by your votes at the ballot box. We don’t go and vote for judges to make law. They’re there to interpret the law, not make law. That’s [why] you vote for people like me, you know: Senators, representatives, governors, presidents. You vote for those people to make the laws. This is a big, big deal, because we can’t have judges making the law. We need to make the law. If we’re going to redefine marriage, and that’s a perfectly legitimate debate, we need to do that in this form, the form of the legislature. That’s the process argument that I’m giving you, because we have something called separation of powers doctrine, where the judge has a sphere of influence, the legislature has a sphere of influence, the administrator [sic] has a sphere of influence. Judges are deciding that they’re everything now. When that happens, we live under an oligarchy, and not under a representative form of government. And the answer doesn’t depend on whether you like the outcome of the decision that the judge makes—They might rule tomorrow, ‘We’re going to outlaw all same-sex marriages.’ They’d be wrong, because their job is not to make law; their job is to interpret the law, and they’ve been wild in their definition of what they call interpreting the law. That’s a big deal.

“Another reason I’ll tell you why I think this is such a big deal is because what we have seen happen in Canada, just five hours north of us, and the Netherlands and Belgium where they have legalized same-sex marriage—and let me divert by saying when we define marriage it outlaws not only same-sex couples, but it also outlaws polygamy and it also outlaws group marriage. Once we’ve redefined—“

TC: “What’s group marriage?”

MB: “That’s where you’d have maybe like, four get married together. We had our first group marriage occur in Belgium this summer. [3]”

TC: “What’s the difference between that and polygamy?”

MB: “Polygamy would be like one man, seven women. Or one woman, seven men. So it’s—“

TC: “Oh, okay.”

MB: “—Man-woman, but it’s, you know, multiple on one side or the other. Group marriage is where you have, you know, two men, two women, you know, it’s more. But, once we redefine marriage away from one man, one woman, then we’ve opened the door up for our new basis for marriage being consent. And if consent is the basis that marriage is going to be laid upon then it would be discriminatory of government to say, ‘you can’t have same-sex marriage’ or ‘you can’t have polygamist marriage,’ or ‘you can’t have group marriage, you can’t have pedophilia where you have adults and minor children [getting] married .’ [4]We couldn’t outlaw two brothers from getting married [5], because they’d have a family relationship with one another. In other words, if you redefine marriage to allow for anything, then all of a sudden marriage means nothing. It’s gone. And the one thing that we know, that anthropologists tell us, and sociologists, is that marriage between man and woman has existed from the very beginnings of recorded human history. This isn’t a republican agenda [6]. It isn’t a catholic agenda. It isn’t a western civilization agenda. If you look in a tribe, nation, people group throughout all of civilization, the standard for marriage has always been the same; it’s between men and women. It’s almost always been one man, one woman [7]. But Middle Eastern nations, for instance, have had polygamy, and they’ve had harems and that sort of thing, so it’s occurred, but the standard has never been, in any society, other, than between men and women. And primarily between one man, one woman. If it’s that universally practiced, in the eastern hemisphere, western hemisphere, northern, southern, uh, you know, stone age cultures versus highly civilized cultures, if it’s been that standard, then that should tell us that there’s something about this that works [8]. Biology alone tells us that man and woman are complementary, and that that’s how the human race propagates. In our society, in the United States, we don’t have prohibitions between same-sex couples living together. They can. You can live together, you—they can buy a house together, they can buy a car together, they can buy a business together, in some counties in Minnesota they can adopt a child together. They can have contractual rights where they give power of attorney to each other so that they can visit each other in the hospital. They can assign benefits, life insurance benefits to each other. They can have a will if they want to, or trust, they can create trusts, and so that they can take care of one another. And so the arguments that we hear from the homosexual advocacy community aren’t—have no basis in law. There are no prohibitions that the couples encounter other than automatic right of survivorship under Social Security [9]. They don’t have that automatic right because federal law defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Other than that, they enjoy almost every right that there is. So what we’ll see occur if we open up the door and redefine marriage, it doesn’t stop with just same-sex couples. It can’t [10]. It’d be considered discriminatory. So we would have to open the door to polygamy, to group marriage, to two people of the same family—which would be incestuous relationships—and also pedophilia. That would also be lifted. There are profound implications for society for redefining marriage, which is why I believe, because of those profound implications, one judge, or two judges should not be allowed to make that decision, it should be—the greater debate should occur here within the legislature, so that we can talk about the potential implications and ramifications for our society if we alter the definition of marriage. Because marriage is where family is created. It’s where children are born and it’s where children are raised, and we have an incredible investment in the next generation who’s going to come up and continue our society, and so, we focus on, oftentimes the sexual—adult sexual desire and that isn’t what this is about at all. It’s about what is the greater good for children. What’s the greater good for our society into the future. And that should be worthy of public debate [11].

“Let me also give you some other indication of what we saw occur in Canada and Spain and also in the Netherlands and Belgium. When they legalized same-sex marriage almost immediately we saw discrimination against the entire population for opposing same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage created rights for same-sex couples to marry in Canada. You know how many people in Canada went to veil themselves of the newly created right of same-sex marriage?”

TC: “I don’t.”

MB: “There’s – less than one-and-a-half percent of Canada’s population is homosexual or lesbian [12], less than one-and-a-half percent.”

TC: “Admittedly.”

MB: “Of that one-and-a-half percent of the population, that considers [themselves] gay, less than two percent were even interested in availing [sic] themselves of getting married. So, for just an infinitesimal fraction of an infinitesimal fraction of the population [13], the entire laws [sic] were changed. That impacted 100% of all Canadians, every man woman and child. Not only every man woman and child, every school in Canada was impacted, because schools had to start teaching that this was normal, natural, and maybe kids should try it [14]. Over 70% of the parents in Canada don’t agree with that statement [15]. They lost their right to control their child’s education, because this now had to be taught in the public school system. People of faith in Canada overnight lost their right to have their free speech on the issue of homosexuality. Do you know in Canada, today, it’s illegal to speak against homosexuality on the radio? [16] If this was a radio show [fiddles with tape recorder] that you were recording right now, this would be against the law. You’d go to jail and I would go to jail because Canadians lost their free speech rights to speak out against homosexuality on the radio, on TV, in print media, it goes farther than that. In Canada you cannot speak from a pulpit and say that God or the Bible say that homosexuality is wrong or that same-sex marriage is wrong. We have a bishop, Bishop Henry [17] in Canada, he was brought before the human rights tribunal, given a 30-day sentence, because he preached a homily from his pulpit. This is not a small thing; this is a big thing. We have never, in 228 years of our nation’s history…been discriminated against on the basis of freedom of speech and expression [18] and religious freedom. To this extent that we have seen replicated in Canada, Spain, Scandinavian nations, Belgium, now also we’re seeing it in the UK. There are profound implications for government censorship—and it is government censorship—of speech. We may not agree with speech, but we should allow for the differentiation of diversity speech.”

TC: “Right, but if, if, if same-sex marriage were—“

MB: “Legalized.”

TC: “Legalized here, wouldn’t the First Amendment protect—“

MB: “No. It wouldn’t because right now, through Congress, the Senate has already passed the hate crimes legislation, or the hate speech legislation, and that includes the same bill that Canada passed that would outlaw speech and expression against homosexuality [19]. This is profound. This is profound. It hasn’t passed through the House yet. A good friend of mine who is an African-American woman who’s a lesbian, she’d been out—well, former-, she had been a lesbian for 14 years, she came out of the lesbian lifestyle, she went out to Washington to speak against the hate crimes legislation, because, she said, ‘Do you want to tell me that I was more valuable to this country when I was a practicing lesbian than I am now that I’m heterosexual, so that the law will protect me more as a lesbian than as a heterosexual? Why is that? Why would the law discriminate against us based upon our sexual behavior?’”

TC: “But isn’t the law discriminating against them anyway because they can’t get married?”

MB: “No. That’s not discrimination. [20] That’s the right of the people to define the laws that they live under. Marriage is, and always has been throughout recorded history, between a man and a woman. This is just the last few milliseconds of human history [21] where we have thought that we can define marriage to be something other than what it is.”

TC: “If you look at – I’ve been—I’ve talked with anthropologists about this and they—they’re sure to point out that, you know, throughout history, it’s usually been one man, multiple women. Not just one man, one woman. So—“

MB: “That’s not true. [22] I’m-I’m sorry. Whoever you talked to, that is not—that is not the case. Are you talking about extramarital affairs? Or are you talking about marriage? Serial marriage?”

TC: “The idea of, like, throughout the past, like, hundred-thousand years, or even farther than that.”

MB: “There’s only five-thousand years of recorded human history. We don’t have a hundred-thousand years of recorded human history, it’s five-thousand years of recorded human history.”

TC: “So, what about, like, fossils, and stuff, that can be dated with—“

MB: “I think the fossils would show that we have heterosexuality because you wouldn’t have a society continue if you have same-sex couples [23].”

TC: “I mean the fossils that we find that we can carbon-date to show that they go back dozens of hundreds, er, dozens of thousands of years.”

MB: “Carbon dating has problems, but what I’m talking about is recorded human history. If you look at, um, recordings whether it’s chiseled in stone, or whether it’s papyrus, or whatever it is, um, human history has been recorded for five-thousand years. It hasn’t been recorded more than five-thousand years. And in the five-thousand years of writings that anthropologists and historians have, what they’ve discovered is that that’s been the basis of society is the man-woman relationship.”

TC: “Do you believe that the earth is only that old, or…”

MB: “I’m not a scientist, I’m a tax lawyer!” [Laughs]

TC: [silence]

MB: “I know the limits of my knowledge!”

TC: “Well, because I—when the entire scientific community agrees on something, that—you know—the earth is much older than 6000 or 5000 years old, isn’t that kind of—“

MB: “Oh, I’m not discussing the age of the earth.”

TC: “Okay.”

MB: “That’s not what I’m discussing [24]. I’m talking about recorded human history. And I’m not talking about fossils. I’m not talking about, uh, dating of rocks, or dinosaurs, or what’s—that’s not what I’m talking about. What I’m talking about right now, just so that you and I understand each other, is what we know from man writing down, whether it’s chiseling it in stone or writing it on papyrus, or writing it on leather scrolls, the farthest back that we go is about 5000 years for mankind writing down our story, and whether that’s in, like the oldest is the Sumerians, that’s the oldest known culture, that’s in—let’s see—in Iraq, modern-day Iraq. Ur is the Chaldeans. Particularly the area called Ur is where the Sumerians lived. That’s—Most people agree that that’s probably about the oldest civilization that’s been discovered, and the Rosetta stone—I don’t want to pretend that I’m an anthropologist, I’m not. But just from the—That’s all the longer that we have for recorded human histories.”

TC: “Are-Are you sure? ‘Cause I—“

MB: “Ask somebody!”

TC: “I have.”

MB: “Find out.” [25]

MB: “[Allowing same-sex marriage] sounds very—It’s an appealing prospect that sounds very tolerant and very sophisticated to say, ‘Well sure, why shouldn’t everybody be able to do what they want to do?’ And then to give them legal protections as well. And we are a very tolerant society, and we allow—We don’t disallow, um, you know, 17 people, if they want to live together, they can do whatever they want to do. If a same-sex couple moves next door to me, I’ve been married almost 28 years, that’s not going to cause me to get a divorce or threaten my marriage. That isn’t the point [26]. The point is the force of law. The force of law will impact you, will impact my children, will impact my husband, will impact you, will impact every single person in this state, the force of law, because then I will lose my right, if my children are in public schools, over what they’re going to be taught as what is normal and natural and what they should try. That’s a big deal. That’s a big deal because we should not have our cultural values that have been in norm throughout our culture challenged in opposite of what the overwhelming bulk of the culture wants to have happen with their children. That’s a big deal [27]. We can disagree on that. We can absolutely disagree, but what you’re talking about is imposing a very minority view on the overwhelming majority [28], and telling the majority, ‘You, or your children must be taught this, and you must agree with it to the point that you are not allowed to disagree with it, not in public. That’s where Canada’s at right now. That’s where the nations that have legalized same-sex marriage are at right now. Same thing happened in Sweden. Another pastor, wasn’t even from the pulpit, had to do 30 days jail time. Åke Green is his name. He had to do jail time [29]. So I mean, this is a real thing that’s happening across the world. It isn’t enough for the gay community to just get the right to marriage for same sex couples. There was a forum here at the U of M law school about 2 and a half years ago and it was law professors from around the country on our stage saying, ‘Yeah, we need to get rid of prostitution laws, we need to get rid of laws that prohibit incest, that prohibit pedophilia. We need to have same-sex marriage and we need to have group marriage and we need to have polygamy [30].’ Well, see, it doesn’t stop just with same sex couples. The door is open and I’m just telling you, we have—you and I have never lived in a society where marriage has been redefined. We haven’t. We don’t know the level of destabilization that can occur [31]. The only example that we have is fatherlessness. And if you look, especially at the African-American community, no community has been more devastated by fatherlessness. Today in the African-American community you’re looking at 70-80% of all African-American that are born, are born without a father. Tremendous destabilization, poverty has occurred within that community. If you have same-sex couples and polygamy and group marriages where we don’t have both mother and father as a stabilizing influence in a child’s life, the only thing we know from research so far is that this is a very destabilizing effect on children [32]and we do need to think seriously about the next generation, because it’s not just about satisfying adult desire. Adult desire today can’t be satisfied in our society. People can do it and they have legal protections surrounding them. They have every contract right in the world. They have everything they want [33]. What they don’t have is the force of law to force me into agreement and to force my silence in opposition to their view. That’s ultimately what this is about. The forced silence of opposing views. That’s why. We need diversity of opinion and we need to have a strong stable society. Are there same-sex couples? Of course there are. There always have been in every society you will see people who will have practiced homosexuality or—No that’s not true, not every society has practiced it…In fact, the Hmong community, we have a big Hmong community here, they’re essentially pagan, you know, maybe 10 percent are Christian, but 90 percent—this is what they call themselves, I’m not, this is not a derogatory term on my part. They call themselves pagan. They have told me they had never even heard of homosexuality as a practice [34]. Never heard of it until they came to the United States. Never heard of lesbianism. It wasn’t a norm. And so, one thing I think we need to appreciate is the fact that we live today in a ‘Will & Grace’ culture, and so it’s very normative now because of what we’re seeing in our media. It hasn’t always been that way. And I believe that there are profound consequences for our nation but also for the next generation if we do alter the definition of marriage. And at minimum we need to maintain our representative form of government where we the people get to decide the laws of the land.”

So, her logic is that federal tolerance of gay people means that laws would pass denying her and other semi-fundamentalists their right to speak out against homosexuality. Free speech would be violated. Well, no, it wouldn’t. The First Amendment does protect free speech, including hate speech. That’s why there are still KKK rallies and’s anti-America and anti-gay protests. (The people at have even gone as far as to continually protest the funerals of fallen American soldiers because of America’s gay tolerance.) Gay marriage is legal in Massachusetts. Have Senator Bachmann’s predictions come true? Are people forbidden there from speaking out against homosexuality? Has their right to free speech been infringed? No. So she’s just plain wrong.

Also, Senator Bachmann mentioned that legalizing same-sex marriage would lead to legalization of incest and pedophilia. No it would not. No one is advocating doing that. Have any of the other countries that have legalized same-sex marriage legalized incest or pedophilia? No. Did Massachusetts? No. Would the rest of America? No. Case closed. I find it worth noting that she isn’t afraid to use other countries as examples for part of her justification for being opposed to gay marriage. But she doesn’t acknowledge the fact that none of these countries have done the things she’s saying that we would do.

TC: A few years back, there was a bill that came through Congress that—if it would’ve passed—would’ve banned gay couples from adopting in Washington D.C. If elected to U.S. Congress, would you vote for a ban on gay adoptions in D.C.?

MB: “I would stand for the traditional family for D.C. You just put your finger on the pulse when you look at D.C. There is more fatherlessness in D.C. than probably any other area of the United States and what we need to do is to encourage both mother and father in a child’s life, and that’s—that’s so crucial to the development of a child that they have both the role model of a man and a woman. It isn’t—isn’t that two men are, are bad. That isn’t what this is about. But, think of a little girl. How are two men going to teach a little girl how to be feminine, and how to be responsive as a girl needs to be responsive? A girl needs a mother. Same thing with a little boy. A boy needs to grow up to learn how to be a man. How is a woman going to do that? I know. I grew up in a fatherless home. I know what that level of devastation is—to be deprived of both mother and father. It isn’t the best interest of a child to intentionally deprive a child of either a mother and father. I’ll tell you, the way that it is today because of the level of abortion in this country, there are [pause] 10 parents that want to adopt a child for every available child that’s available [35]. We were foster parents to over 23 children that we took into our home, and when it comes to adoption, there are tons of parents who would love to adopt a baby. And so, if we have children that are available for adoption—and there are few because of abortion, but there are some—should we intentionally deprive that child of a mother and a father? Think of that think that through. Think of the inherent advantage that a child has if they have a stable home with a mother and a father. They don’t need great wealth, but if they have a mother and a father, that’s inherent stability, and I would not want to intentionally deprive any child of that stability that they can have. I know from personal experience. That’s a tremendous advantage. And I just think we need to be thinking about the most vulnerable among us. We need to put their best interests first. We are not denying adult desire. We are not denying satisfying adult desire. But that should not be the preeminent focus of government; to satisfy adult desires. Our preeminent focus should be what is the best for our society, what is the best for continuing our society, what’s the best for the most vulnerable among us, what’s the best for our children. And that should be where our decisions lie.”

So there you have it. I didn’t include her response to the question of whether or not she would be OK with abortion in cases of rape, incest, or when the mother’s life is at risk because her response was just a long way of saying she is OK with abortion in those circumstances. She is pretty staunchly pro-life, mind you.

I also didn’t include her response to my question, “Can you give me three reasons why people my age who are just going to be able to vote in this coming election should vote for you?” Because she gave me this condensed version as I was leaving: “The three big things that I’m concerned about in going to Congress [are]: Making sure our country is safe from terrorist threats from abroad, and illegal immigration at our borders; I’m concerned [with] Social Security reform, particularly with your generation; the third is to get the federal government out of the local schools.”

And one final quote from our up-to-date-on-scientific-happenings state senator: “Scientists—you know—aren’t locked down in agreement on the issue of the age of the earth.” Yes they are, Senator.

1. What she’s talking about here is her bill that, if it would’ve passed, would put the following question on the ballot in November of 2006: “Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that marriage or its legal equivalent is limited to only the union of one man and one woman?” If the people of Minnesota voted “yes” on it, same-sex marriage and civil unions would be banned. Fortunately, the bill will most likely not get to the top of the State Senate’s “To-Vote-On” list this session, just like last year.

2. It was actually Goodridge vs. Department of Public Health

3. It was not government-involved. It was a private ordeal with no government in the equation.

4. It would be discriminatory, absolutely. This type of discrimination is necessary, though, with pedophilia being illegal for reasons I won’t waste ink with. I’m sure you can figure them out. The only people who would support legalization of pedophilia are pedophiles.

5. This really shows the attitude that Senator Bachmann has toward America: Pessimism. Do you know of anyone in the world who would want to marry their sibling? This also brings up the question of why the government is involved in marriage in the first place.

6. Yes it is.

7. Even in the Bible, for example, Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11), Abraham had his first child by his wife’s slave (Genesis 16). So she’s wrong. Unless she’s looking at more recent history, within the last couple hundred years, when men essentially owned their wives, and when it was legal for a man to rape his wife.

8. It has worked in the past because divorces were rare before a century ago due to it being shameful, and because the couple that was basically forced to get married in the first place (for economic reasons like property management) by their respective families. With a divorce rate at more than 50% today, when divorce isn’t seen as so shameful a practice, it’s obviously not exactly working. Not that I don’t respect marriage or anything. I’m just illustrating my point.

9. Wrong. Other prohibitions the couples encounter include: The right to inheritance of property; the right to sue for wrongful death; and the right to income tax deductions, credits, rates exemptions, and estimates; spousal immigration benefits; joint tax filing; spouse of veteran medical care discount; death benefits for surviving spouses of government employees; and many, many other things.

10. Yes it can. And if legalizing same-sex marriage would be such a slippery slope, why not have separate, additional laws banning the things she spoke of legalizing individually, like polygamy and group marriage?

11. Also worthy of public debate is why marriage is a legal institution in the first place.

12. I found no evidence supporting this. According to, there have been upwards of 15,000 same-sex marriages that have taken place in Canada thus far.

13. Canada’s population is 30,000,000. 1.5% of that is 450,000. 2% of that is 9,000. Neither of those numbers are infinitesimally small, and they’re too small to begin with.

14. She could just be exaggerating. But even as an exaggeration that’s completely unfounded and untrue. Children in Canada are not taught that “maybe they should try” homosexuality.

15. Senator Bachmann is not keeping up on the data that she is distorting (I found no surveys done of Canadian parents and their attitudes toward the supposedly “pro-gay” curriculum). A 2001 poll showed that 30% of Canadians surveyed supported same-sex marriage. However, 2003 polls showed over 50% of Canadians supporting same-sex marriage. From what I’ve found, the debate in Canada was really about the use of the term “marriage,” considering more than two-thirds of Canadians were in favor of same-sex couples in a loving, stable relationship getting the same rights as heterosexual couples. Also, people used to (and in some areas of the country, still do) oppose teaching students that people who aren’t white are inferior to those who are white. Think about that.

16. Is it? R v. Keegstra (1990) in the Canadian Supreme Court ruled speech a basic political principle.

17. Bishop Frederick Henry was never imprisoned.

18. What about the Red Scare? McCarthyism? FCC censorship today? Countless other examples are there.

19. The only bill I could find that sort of relates to what she was talking about was the Children’s Safety Act of 2005, H.R. 3132, and in it, Sec. 249 “Hate crime acts,” which doesn’t say anything about what she said.

20. That’s the definition of discrimination, even if it is demanded by the people.

21. Here she does not say “recorded human history.” So she’s wrong.

22. Yes it is. Ask any anthropologist. Or just look at any non-modernized region today. Tons of polygamy.

23. Our society is continuing, and we have same-sex couples.

24. Just a second prior she answered my question about whether or not she thought the planet was more than 5,000 years old. Therefore, we were having a discussion about it. Therefore, she changed the subject as well as her mind.

25. She’s partially correct based on what she’s saying. But she’s saying it for the wrong reasons. She’s ignoring the fact that we have tools that our ancestors made 2.5 million years ago ( Just because we didn’t write down that we had hammers means that we didn’t exist?

26. Yes that is the point.

27. It would be a big deal if it were true.

28. The Annenberg Public Policy Center took a survey that revealed that 48% of Americans oppose a Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage, while 43% are in favor of it. (National Annenberg Election Survey Press Release dated July 2, 2004.) The New Hampshire Survey Center in May of 2005 found the following results with a margin of error of 3.6%: 50% of Americans oppose having same-sex marriages; 46% favor it. Neither of those results show any “overwhelming majority.” (# Scott S. Greenberger, "One year later, nation divided on gay marriage. Split seen by region, age, Globe poll finds," Boston Globe, 15 May, 2005)

29. He did go to jail for 30 days, but he was also acquitted in an appeals decision.

30. The only possible event Senator Bachmann could be talking about here would be the “Gay Rights after Lawrence” symposium that took place on November 22, 2003. I emailed one of the organizers and panelists of the event (Professor Dale Carpenter), asking him if he remembered them discussing legalization of polygamy, or incest, or prostitution, etc., or if there ever was such an event at which these discussions took place. He told me that not only were those topics never discussed, he didn’t remember seeing Senator Bachmann in attendance. So she’s getting her information from a dishonest third-party, most likely.

31. We can look at other countries, or Massachusetts. So far, no destabilization as far as I can tell.

32. Senator Bachmann is absolutely incorrect here, at least in relation to same-sex couples and children. All the research shows that same-sex couples are perfectly fit to be parents (, and they never really have to worry about accidental pregnancies, now, do they?

33. See #8.

34. What she may have heard from the Hmong community may have been that Hmong culture does not accept the fact that homosexuality exists. What she didn’t hear, or chose not to hear, was how Hmong culture has deep roots in polygamy. This is by no means a bad thing, of course. For more information about this, Google will give you a plethora of results relating to polygamy in the Hmong culture.

35. I have found no statistic supporting this. The last I heard, there were more kids to be adopted than there were parents to adopt them.


Blogger spycake said...

Congrats on tracking her down, and thanks for the voluminous footnotes! I wish the major news outlets would analyze her statements once and awhile!

5:08 PM  
Blogger BalmoralRed said...

Nice work. I interviewed Bachmann a few years ago, so I know what you mean about her tactics to dodge questions, avoid rational conversation, depart from her almost scripted oration, and circle back on you like one of those raptors from Jurassic Park. I always wonder how politicians like her, who continuously cite examples and statistics that are either inaccurate, exaggerated, or completely fabricated, seem to get away with it. Blah. Nice work. Loved reading the transcript. Gave me flashbacks of listening to her longwinded responses to my questions. What a piece of work...

10:21 PM  
Blogger Tom said...


I found you through Facebook, as I'm also a St. Olaf goon. That transcript is fascinating and disturbing, and only cements my opinion of her (an ill-meaning, uninformed asshole).

9:34 AM  
Blogger scarlet said...

Kudos. Kudos to "TIMMO" that you landed an interview with Bachmann. It's always great to hear Bachmann articulate her platform which, unlike many political candidates running this election whose political associations I won't mention, she's actually got ISSUES to address that affect WE THE PEOPLE. Sure there's a "friggin' war", sure there's the issue of dependency of foreign oil, sure there's lots that need to be addressed. But the way liberals negate the issues at home that affect the American people never ceases to puzzle me. By the way, liberals cry that same sex marriage is not a big deal throws me for a loop. You destroy the family unit, you've destroyed a society. Typical of liberals, you major on the minors and ridicule people that have forsight and principle. Is that what colleges are turning out--kids (thinking their being "political") that mimic mainstream bashing and ridicule of real politik policy makers but can't take their heads out of their own rear-ends long enough to observe real life and come up with an opinion that has at least a grain of sense.

2:34 PM  

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