Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has finally responded to the 130,000 petition signatures she received from her constituent, Tammy Aaberg, about the persistent anti-gay bullying taking place in her congressional district. Completely ignoring Anoka-Hennepin School District’s problematic “neutrality policy” prohibiting conversation about sexual orientation or any specific concern about anti-gay bullying, Bachmann said she is “listening” and agrees that “bullying is wrong“:
Unquestionably, bullying is wrong. I agree that no student should feel belittled or threatened by peers at school. All human lives have undeniable value, and I urge parents, teachers, and students alike to champion this fact in our community and to address instances of bullying promptly and firmly when they occur.
The vague platitudes in this response reflect her glib remark last month that bullying is simply “not a federal issue.” This letter is disappointing and does nothing to address Bachmann’s own role in promoting an anti-gay atmosphere in her district. Not to retread her entire anti-gay record, but here are some of Bachmann’s contributions to creating a hostile environment for people perceived as gay:
- On bullying: “Will it get to the point where we are completely stifling free speech and expression? Will it mean that, what form of behavior will there be, will we be expecting boys to be girls?”
- Can a same-sex couple with children be considered a “family”? “When it comes to marriage, and family, my opinion is that marriage is between a man and a woman.”
- Is homosexuality a public health hazard? “I don’t have an answer on that.”
- “And just through prayer I knew that I was to introduce the marriage amendment in Minnesota.”
- On harmful ex-gay therapy: “Well, see, I think, when I heard that, I really thought it was kind of a mid-life crisis line — “Pray away the grey” — that’s what I thought it was.”
- “We need to have profound compassion for the people who are dealing with the very real issue of sexual dysfunction in their life, and sexual identity disorders. This is a very real issue. It’s not funny, it’s sad. [...] This is not funny. It’s a very sad life. It’s part of Satan, I think, to say this is gay. It’s anything but gay. [...] Because if you’re involved in the gay and lesbian lifestyle, it’s bondage. Personal bondage, personal despair, and personal enslavement. And that’s why this is so dangerous.”
Despite her condemnation of bullying, it is unclear if Bachmann is prepared to recant her history of stigmatizing language and start serving as a role model for affirming LGBT youth.