By Jessica Huseman
Earlier this week, Minnesota became the 12th state to legalize gay marriage. Michele Bachmann, who had championed a traditional marriage amendment in the state to the point of obsessiveness, now looks like a fool. Not that she didn’t already.
On the campaign trail in 2011, Bachmann found herself in a debate over gay marriage with a bunch of high school students from Iowa. She said, “Remember every American citizen has the right to avail themselves to marriage but they have to follow what the laws are. And the laws are you marry a person of the opposite sex.”
Well, gay marriage will officially be legal in her homestate as of Aug. 1. It looks like gay people can now “avail themselves to marriage” all they like. That’s the law.
Bachmann had been warning Minnesota that gay marriage was on it’s way if the state didn’t act to stop it — though she thought the culprit would be “activist judges” who would force gay marriage on the state. To that end, she tried repeatedly and unsuccessfully to force an amendment to the state’s constitution that would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman only. The people of Minnesota rejected the latest attempt at such an amendement late last year, and previous attempts died quickly in committee.
In any case, the culprit didn’t turn out to be those pesky judges after all. It was the rightfully elected representatives of her home state with a 37-30 vote in the Senate and a 75-59 vote in the House, and a swift signature from the governor who remarked on the historic vote with excitement. Michele Bachmann seems more out of place than she usually does, and that’s saying something.
Shortly after her state gave her the ultimate rejection and legalized gay marriage this week, she released the following statement:
I am disappointed at the passage of the gay marriage bill in the Minnesota State Senate today, which redefines marriage and denies religious liberty to people who believe in traditional marriage and who do not want to be forced to violate their conscience and sincerely held religious beliefs. I appreciate Sen. Warren Limmer’s leadership and support for the definition of marriage as one man and one woman, and I thank the legislators who voted to uphold traditional marriage in the face of pressure. I’m proud to have introduced the original marriage amendment, and I thank all the Minnesotans who have worked so hard on this issue.”
It appears that the people of Minnesota disagree with Bachmann on several counts, but I suppose that isn’t a new phenomenon. Polls indicate that Bachmann’s popularity is dwindling in the state that has previously backed her forcefully, and that if she chose to run against Democrat Al Franken for his Senate seat in 2014 he would beat her handily.
Her humiliation in her home state comes as she is facing embarrassment nationwide. The Center for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington named her April’s “Scoundrel of the Month” for her frequent ethics violations on the campaign trail, including improperly paying a consultant, illegally paying an Iowa state senator and refusing to pay members of her campaign staff until they signed agreements indicating they wouldn’t discuss “unethical, immoral, or criminal activity” witnessed on the campaign — agreements the staffers believe were intended to hide the campaign’s alleged theft of an email list. The theft is currently under investigation by a local Iowa police department, and the former staffers report that they still have not been paid.
CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan had the following to say about Bachmann’s abuse of power:
While Rep. Bachmann may claim it is ‘routine’ to withhold money from staffers to buy their silence, in reality this demand is as atypical as it is unethical. Given the inhospitable work environment she created, it’s not surprising Rep. Bachmann is proving as unpopular with her own staff as she was with voters.”
With the long list of problems Bachmann has made for herself, it looks like her credibility is fast going the way of her traditional marriage amendment.