Michele Bachmann on Civil Rights
Republican Representative (MN-6); 2011 GOP frontrunner
By 2001 Bachmann had won election to the Minnesota state senate, and two years later she seized on opposition to gay marriage as her signature issue. Christian conservatives rallied to her condemnation of homosexuality as sinful and reversible by prayer, and the issue became her path to election to Congress in 2006.
I rejected that kind of feminism. I was repulsed by the generalized worldview of liberal-left feminism, which tended to say things like, "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle." It's a free country, of course, and everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, but I wanted no part of an ideology that praised wives being apart from husbands of children being apart from fathers.
Of course, at the same time, I wasn't completely surprised by the MA ruling, because I knew that judges had gotten I the habit of legislating from the bench. I could see why judges might like to run the whole government; the only problem was, it's unconstitutional. Indeed, in the US Constitution, the judicial branch is listed third.
BACHMANN: I support the federal marriage amendment, because I believe that we will see this issue at the Supreme Court someday. And as president, I will not nominate activist judges who legislate from the bench. I also want to say, when I was in Minnesota, I was the chief author of the constitutional amendment to define marriage as one man, one woman. I have an absolutely unblemished record when it comes to this issue of man-woman marriage.
BACHMANN: Well, I do believe in the 10th Amendment and I do believe in self-determination for the states. I also believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. I carried that legislation when I was a senator in Minnesota, and I believe that for children, the best possible way to raise children is to have a mother and father in their life.
Q: What would a President Bachmann do to initiate or facilitate a repeal law on the state level?
BACHMANN: I'm running for the presidency of the United States. And I don't see that it's the role of a president to go into states and interfere with their state laws. I do support a constitutional amendment on marriage between a man and a woman, but I would not be going into the states to overturn their state law.
GINGRICH: Both the Army and the Marines overwhelmingly opposed changing it. And if as president- I've met with them and they said it isn't working and we should go back, I would listen to the commanders whose lives are at risk about the young men and women that they are, in fact, trying to protect.
BACHMANN: I would keep the "don't ask/don't tell" policy.
Q: So you would--whatever the Obama administration does now--you would try to go back? You'd try to reverse what they're doing?
BACHMANN: I would, after, again, following much what the speaker just said, I would want to confer with our commanders-in-chief and with--also with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, because I'd want to know how it was being implemented and if it has--had had the detrimental effects that have been suggested that will come.
It didn't take long for social media, then the blogosphere, then cable TV and finally the mainstream media to gingerly address the question: is Marcus Bachmann, like so many virulent anti-gay crusaders before him, a gay guy in denial? I suppose the Bachmann campaign could present Marcus as proof that "praying away the gay" really works.
More likely the campaign will ignore it all -- until some brassy reporter asks her, or him. And ironically, among social conservatives who adore her, speculation about her husband will only win her votes.
Opponent's Argument for voting No (The Week; Huffington Post, and The Atlantic): House Republicans had objected to provisions in the Senate bill that extended VAWA's protections to lesbians, gays, immigrants, and Native Americans. For example, Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) voted against the VAWA bill because it was a "politically–motivated, constitutionally-dubious Senate version bent on dividing women into categories by race, transgender politics and sexual preference." The objections can be grouped in two broadly ideological areas--that the law is an unnecessary overreach by the federal government, and that it represents a "feminist" attack on family values. The act's grants have encouraged states to implement "mandatory-arrest" policies, under which police responding to domestic-violence calls are required to make an arrest. These policies were intended to combat the too-common situation in which a victim is intimidated into recanting an abuse accusation. Critics also say VAWA has been subject to waste, fraud, and abuse because of insufficient oversight.
Proponents support voting YES because:
Rep. CASTOR: The march towards equality under the law for all of our citizens has sometimes been slow, but it has been steady. Over time, Congress has outlawed discrimination in the workplace, based upon a person's race, gender, age, national origin, religion and disability, because when it comes to employment, these decisions are rightly based upon a person's qualifications and job performance. This legislation that outlaws job discrimination based upon sexual orientation was first introduced over 30 years ago. A broad coalition of businesses and community organizations strongly support this landmark civil rights legislation, including the Human Rights Campaign; the Anti-Defamation League; and the NAACP.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
Rep. HASTINGS: Federal law bans job discrimination based on race, color, national origin, or gender. In addition, 19 States have passed laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. I strongly oppose discrimination in the workplace. However, I do not think it is the place of the Federal Government to legislate how each and every workplace operates. A number of States have enacted State laws in this area. That is their right. Many businesses have chosen to adopt their own policies. That is appropriate as well. This bill as written would expand Federal law into a realm where PERCEPTION would be a measure under discrimination law [which I consider inappropriate].
Congressional Summary:Congress finds the following:
Opponent's argument against bill: (David Brunori on Forbes.com): A bipartisan group of lawmakers thinks it's appropriate for the American taxpayer to subsidize organizations fighting for "traditional marriage." The Marriage and Religious Freedom Act would give non-profit organizations that don't like gay marriage the ability to engage in partisan political activities without the fear of losing their exempt status. The sponsors are touting the bill as a means of protecting freedom of conscience on the issue of marriage. The proposed law will allow non-profit organizations to engage in political activity, as long as it's for championing heterosexual marriage, while non-profits supporting marriage equality cannot engage in partisan political activity. The tax laws should be neutral when it comes to politics.
Congressional summary::Prohibits any interpretation of US administrative agencies, as applied with respect to individuals domiciled in a state of the United States:
Opponent's argument against (CNN.com Feb. 8 report on Attorney General Eric Holder's action which prompted this bill): In a major milestone for gay rights, the US government expanded recognition of same-sex marriages in federal legal matters, including bankruptcies, prison visits and survivor benefits. "It is the Justice Department's policy to recognize lawful same-sex marriages as broadly as possible, to ensure equal treatment for all members of society regardless of sexual orientation," Attorney General Eric Holder said. The federal expansion includes 34 states where same-sex marriage isn't legal. For example, a same-sex couple legally married in Massachusetts can now have a federal bankruptcy proceeding recognized in Alabama, even though it doesn't allow same-sex marriages.
Proponent's argument in favor (Washington Post Feb. 13 reporting on Sen. Ted Cruz): If passed, the bill would cede marriage definition to states for federal purposes, which would effectively reverse the gains same-sex couples made after the Defense of Marriage Act was overturned by the Supreme Court in June 2013. Cruz said, "I support traditional marriage. The federal government has tried to re-define marriage, and to undermine the constitutional authority of each state to define marriage consistent with the values of its citizens. The Obama Administration should not be trying to force gay marriage on all 50 states."
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