In this week’s Village Voice cover story, we take a long look at why the choice for gays and lesbians to marry (or not) is important. When recent Iowa Straw Poll winner Michele Bachmann stepped into the ring at Meet the Press yesterday, it was a doozy in terms of holding the presidential hopeful accountable on her dismal record on LGBT equality. As shocking as it was to see NBC’s David Gregory actually commit an act of journalism on MTP, he did so brilliantly, replete with awkward silences and even more awkward tape quotes.
Gregory played tape from a 2004 speech Bachmann gave in which, among other gems, she said calling homosexuality “gay” was “part of Satan.” The speech, which we at Runnin Scared brought to you a month ago and many gay publications have been talking about for a while, was largely relegated to LGBT circles. So it was fascinating to see MTP play Bachman’s words for Bachmann’s ears on a mainstream political show.
She was none too pleased with Gregory’s playlist, and defended her staunch record against gay rights by saying, “I ascribe honor and dignity to every person, no matter their background. They have honor and they have dignity.”
Gregory didn’t let her off the hook and kept at her: “Do you think gay Americans hearing quotes like that from you think that’s honor and dignity?”
He followed up by asking her if she’d appoint openly gay members to her administration or to the federal bench, which she kept dodging. But the most fascinating moment, for us, came when Gregory asked her if a gay couple who adopts children should be considered a family. Bachmann kept trying to frame the question about marriage, but eventually answered: “All of these kinds of questions really aren’t about what people are concerned about right now.”
We couldn’t disagree more, though. If people weren’t concerned about gay rights and marriage equality (or inequality), Bachmann wouldn’t have signed NOM’s pledge. Gay marriage has been a contentious and politically relevant issue in Iowa, where the Hawkeye native Bachmann is surging right now and centering her campaign, ever since that state legalized it in 2009. We certainly know LGBT equality is of paramount concern to many of our readers and story subjects, particularly the two couples we profiled in this week’s cover story.
And, as Gregory kept pointing out, Bachmann herself has said these types of questions are what should be defining candidates.