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08/25/2011

Bachmann in Florida: Running head first into anti-gay, church/state-enjoined 'culture war'

by Jeremy Hooper

Of all of the campaigns to put a discriminatory marriage amendment in a state's constitution, the Florida Family Policy Council's 2008 effort might have been the most unabashedly faith-based, pitting same-sex couples' civil rights against God. Here's that group's leader, John Stemberger, talking about how all glory goes to God and how policies pertaining to same-sex civil marriage are apparently akin to policies directed at suicide:

"And so, we have laws against suicide. Well why is that? Well because I’m connected to, a woman in a marriage, I’m connected to a family with children, I’m connected to a business, a community, an economic system. If I blow my brains out, somebody’s got to come and pay for that and clean it up. There’s a cost -- to things -- and we don’t just live in an isolated situation."
John Stemberger: “If I blow my brains out” [G for J]

And here's one of the ads the group ran during the campaign:

Even through all of the Prop 8 coverage that somewhat pulled my focus from the Sunshine State, I remember being shocked at how uniquely unabashed Stemberger and Co. were in their refusal to address civil marriage in the context it deserved, instead marrying church with state in a way that exceeded most any other state effort I'd seen before (or seen since). It's a church/state marriage that's always uber-annoying for those of us who engage in these civil marriage matters on the pro-inclusivity side, since the vast majority of equality activists are overtly supportive of the *true* religious freedoms that faith-based communities are free to utilize when it comes to same-sex civil marriages and their resistance to the same. So when the water-muddying arguments take on a level like they did in Florida, the intellectual pitfalls take on a whole new rank and their effects last for a much longer time.

So even with those lasting effects, what's my specific reason for bringing this up right now, nearly three years later? Well, because a major GOP star and presidential contender, one who has suddenly turned quite coy when it comes to the LGBT issues on which she built her national profile, is scheduled to speak to this very same Florida Family Policy Council group on Saturday night:

Bachmann Ffpc
Bachmann To Address FL Group Responsible For Gay-Marriage Amendment [Right Wing Watch]

*EARLIER: Bachmann To Headline Anti-Gay Group’s Award Dinner In Florida [Think Progress LGBT]

So since the '08 marriage campaign and the group's continued resistance to LGBT people, their marriages, their adoption rights, and basic protections are still very much part of the agenda (see Stemberger's 6/11 condemnation of an inclusive Disney World event), I think it's more than pertinent for local Florida media to get Congresswoman Bachmann on even firmer record about all of the aforementioned matters. Because while she may be doing her best to brush aside her past slights and aggressive pushes for civil bias, her actions continue to bely her desires. This speaking gig before this particular group is yet another example of why she can't and shouldn't have it both ways!

Will a theoretical President Bachmann push a Federal Marriage Amendment campaign that pits gays against God? We can't know for sure. But if context clues are a guide, then the context of this weekend appearance points solidly towards a definite maybe. If she has the Congressowman has the desire to stump for votes in such a setting, then she must have both expectation and wherewithal to field pertinent questions.

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