By Julie Bolcer
Originally published on Advocate.com August 14 2011 11:30 AM ET
Rep. Michele Bachmann tried to dodge questions about her views on gay and lesbian people by insisting to Meet the Press that “I don’t judge them,” but her evasive answers suggested that marriage equality, adoption rights for same-sex couples, and even gays serving in the White House would not be options under a Bachmann administration.
Gregory presented Bachmann with comments she made against the “gay and lesbian lifestyle” to the EdWatch National Education Conference in 2004. The Minnesota congresswoman said at the time that gay and lesbian people “live a very sad life” that is “part of Satan” with “sexual dysfunction and sexual identity disorders.”
The host asked, “That is the view President Bachmann would have of gay Americans?”
Bachmann responded, “I am running for the presidency of the United States. I am not running to be anyone’s judge.”
Told that her comments certainly sounded judgmental, Bachmann did not renounce her previous claims, but she said, “I ascribe honor and dignity to ever person no matter what their background. They [gays and lesbians] have honor and they have dignity.”
Asked whether she would appoint an openly gay person to her administration, her cabinet or to a judicial post, Bachmann said her criteria would be “where you stand on the Constitution, are you competent, and do you share my views.” Pressed on whether those “views” would allow for gay appointments, she declined to elaborate before saying, “I am not out asking any other questions.”
Asked whether she believed a gay couple that adopts children could be considered a family, Bachmann said, “When it comes to marriage and family, my opinion is that marriage is between a man and a woman.” Pressed further, she said, “You know, all of these kind of questions really aren’t what people are concerned about right now,” despite having made support for a federal marriage amendment a cornerstone of her political career and campaign.
Bachmann won the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa, an early test of enthusiasm for the Republican presidential field, on Saturday, besting Rep. Ron Paul, who came in a close second, by fewer than 200 votes. Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty finished a distant third and announced the end of his candidacy on Sunday. Also on Saturday, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, who can be expected to compete with Bachmann for social conservative voters, launched his candidacy with an announcement that overshadowed the Ames contest.
Watch the back-and-forth between Bachmann and Gregory from Meet the Press.
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