When it comes to Michele Bachmann and the LGBT community, it’s fair to say that relations are fairly frosty. Look no further than the Minnesota Congresswoman’s support for a federal constitutional amendment to ban same-sex civil unions. Then there was an exchange in town hall in Iowa where Bachmann explains to the leader of the Gay Straight Alliance at the local high school that’s its fine for gay people to marry, erm, so long as it’s not with a person of the same sex. And of course there is the clinic co-owned by Bachmann and her husband, much maligned over its pretentions to “pray-the-gay-away” as this undercover video from Associated Press highlights.
So when an eight-year-old boy named Elijah wandered up to Bachmann during a recent meet-and-greet event in South Carolina — where the congresswoman was promoting her new book Core of Conviction: My Story — she hardly expected him to be an undercover assailant acting as the vanguard of this ongoing battle with the LGBT community.
As the video shows Bachmann is first unable to hear little Elijah, and learns over the desk to get as close as possible to him. The whole thing was like asking someone to come closer and closer and then shouting “boo!” except this time it wasn’t “boo” but something that was equally shocking: “My mommy, miss Bachmann, my mommy’s gay but she doesn’t need any fixing.” It’s worth watching this video just for the look of utter shock on Bachmann’s face. The mother — apparently encouraging the boy’s statement — is then shot a look which, “if looks could kill, would have left Elijah an orphan” (as LGBT website Dallas Voice memorably points out.)
Later Bachmann took to the airwaves with Glenn Beck to call this act “shameless“, excoriating the mother for her eagerness to use her child as a political pawn. Critics on Twitter also vented anger at what looked like a child being forced to deliver a prepared line. Beck asked: “How do you navigate in that kind of world where you’re being — I think — set up to look like a homophobe. Are you a homophobe?” Bachmann vehemently denied being so and stated that the “agenda-driven community wants to climb up on my platform and make their issue my issue and paint me as someone that I’m not.”
But the (unidentified) woman who videotaped the confrontation, disagreed with the idea that the boy had been forced by his mother. She told Chicago Now that the boy was the one who wanted to approach Bachmann:
“His mom was going to say something to her, but she got nervous and told me she wanted to leave. We were about to step out of the line but Elijah cried out, “Nooo!” He grabbed onto her coat and pulled her back in the line, saying he wanted to talk to her….[W]hen we got up to Michele, he got a little stage fright. His mom just didn’t want him to not say it because he was afraid, because she knew he would regret it if he didn’t.”
Whatever the motive the LGBT community can comfort themselves with the thought that Bachmann’s chances of winning the Republican nomiations — barring a miracoulous turn-around in fortunes — seem pretty bleak. After all it’s not Elijah’s mum that needs fixing, it’s Bachmann’s views.