A 16-year-old high school student confronted GOP contender Michele Bachmann on same-sex marriage and gay rights at a campaign event in Iowa, leading the congresswoman to suggest that if gay people want to get married they should marry people of opposite gender.
In a video posted to YouTube and making its way through the blogosphere, Jane Schmidt, who identifies herself as the head of the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) at her high school in Waverly, Iowa, asked the candidate on Wednesday: “What would you do to help protect GSAs in high schools and support the LGBT community?”
LGBT is shorthand for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
Bachmann told Schmidt it was the government’s role to treat all people equally, and not give preference to any group based on sexuality.
“As Americans we all have the same civil rights,” she said. “That’s really what government’s roll is, to protect our civil rights. There shouldn’t be any special rights or special set of criteria based on people preferences. We all have the same civil rights.”
“Then why can’t same sex couples get married,” asked Schmidt.
“They can get married, [if] they abide by the same laws as everyone else. They can marry a man, if they’re a woman, and can marry a woman if they’re man,” Bachmann said.
Same sex marriage has been legal in Iowa since 2009, the result of a court ruling.
The video of Schmidt and Bachmann comes on the heels of another viral video in which a young Iowan confronts politicians about gay marriage.
A video of Zach Wahls, a 20-year-old University of Iowa engineering student who was raised by lesbians also went viral this week. The former Eagle Scout gave a three-minute speech before Iowa legislators in February, urging them not to pass a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage and civil unions.
Wahls told them, ” … the sexual orientation of my parents has had zero affect on the content of my character…If I was your son, Mr. chairman, I believe I would make you very proud.”