By Lucas Grindley
Originally published on Advocate.com August 26 2011 5:59 PM ET
Rep. Michele Bachmann has dismissed questions about same-sex marriage by national reporters as "frivolous," but during a town hall with primary voters in South Carolina on Thursday she portrayed her views on the issue as a major factor in whether she could be elected president.
The event was moderated by Republican congressman Tim Scott, who said he had a question from a man in the audience. "This question has been asked by several people and the question has to do with the defense of marriage," he warned.
Instead of refusing to answer by saying she's "running for the presidency of the United States" and implying the issue doesn't matter (as she did repeatedly during a recent string of Sunday interviews, including one on Meet the Press), Bachmann described a stand against gay marriage as critical to the success of Republicans.
"In our coalition we have fiscal conservatives, national security conservatives, the Tea Party movement, and we have social conservatives,"" she said. "You put that team together and there's no way that we can possibly lose the election in 2012. We need to stick together."
Bachmann even touted her time as a Minnesota state lawmaker when she introduced a bill to put a gay marriage ban up to a statewide vote. She said her bill, which failed at the time, was inspired by what she saw happen in Massachusetts when the state Supreme Court intervened and same-sex marriage eventually became legal.
"When that happened, I knew that my home state of Minnesota could be next," she said. "Minnesota and Massachusetts have a lot in common. And I was very concerned about that. And so I introduced a bill that would allow the people of Minnesota to define marriage as one man and one woman. In my home state, I was not exactly popular for doing that measure. But I felt that it was right to let the people of Minnesota decide on the definition of marriage, not a plurality of judges."
She wasn't shy about overstating the issue's importance.
"I think that this is such a fundamental issue, this issue of marriage, that I think it's one the people have to vote on," she said.
Bachmann concluded her answer by railing against activist judges and reiterating her support for amending the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage.
Full video of the answer is below, and it begins at about the 1 hour and 28 minute mark.