In the wake of the State of New York legalizing gay marriage, now presidential candidate Michele Bachmann sat down with Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace who asked her what her thoughts were on the passing of the law:
BACHMANN: Well, I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. And I also believe –in Minnesota, for instance, this year, the legislature put on the ballot for people to vote in 2012, whether the people want to vote on the definition of marriage as one man, one woman. In New York state, they have a passed the law at the state legislative level. And under the 10th Amendment, the states have the right to set the laws that they want to set.
WALLACE: So, even though you oppose it, then it’s OK from your point for New York to say that same-sex marriage is legal?
BACHMANN: That is up the people of New York. I think that it’s best to allow the people to decide on this issue. I think it’s best if there’s an amendment that goes on the ballot where the people can weigh in. Every time this issue has gone on the ballot, the people have voted to retain the traditional definition of marriage as recently as California in 2008.
WALLACE: But you would agree if it’s passed by the state legislature and signed by the governor, then that’s a state’s position.
BACHMANN: It’s a state law. And the 10th Amendment reserves for the states that right.
Wallace then played a clip from the most recent presidential debate in New Hampshire in which Bachmann said:
I do support a Constitutional amendment on marriage between a man and a women but I would not be going into the states to overturn their state law.
I’m not sure what Bachmann thinks a federal constitutional amendment is, but such a thing would necessarily trump state law thereby removing the states’ ability to decide the issue themselves. Yet she attempts to argue that a state law permitting same-sex marriage and a constitutional amendment banning it in all states can exist simultaneously:
BACHMANN: Well, because that’s entirely consistent, that states have, under the 10th Amendment, the right to pass any law they like. Also, federal officials at the federal level have the right to also put forth a constitutional amendment. One thing that we do know on marriage, this issue will ultimately end up in the courts, in the Supreme Court. I do not believe the judges should be legislating from the bench. As president of the United States, I would not appoint judges who are activists —
WALLACE: But this has nothing to do with the judges.
BACHMANN: –who want –who want to legislate from the bench. Under the federal government, again, federal representative can put forward a federal constitutional amendment because ultimately, with states having various laws, the federal government —
WALLACE: My point is this, do you want to say it’s a state issue and that states should be able to decide? Or would like to see a constitutional amendment so that it’s banned everywhere?
BACHMANN: It is –it is both. It is a state issue and it’s a federal issue. It’s important for your viewers to know that federal law will trump state law on this issue. And it’s also –this is why it’s important —
WALLACE: And you would federal law to trump state law?
BACHMANN: Chris, this is why it’s so important because President Obama has come out and said he will not uphold the law of the land, which is the Defense of Marriage Act. The Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act and Bill Clinton signed it into law, to make sure that a state like New York passed a definition of marriage other one man, one woman, that other states wouldn’t be forced to recognize New York’s law.
WALLACE: But just real quickly —
BACHMANN: And President Obama has said —
WALLACE: Congresswoman, if I may —
BACHMANN: Let me just finish this. In opposition to what is supposed to do, he is charged with executing our laws, whether he likes them or no. That’s why this is so crucial. That’s why I think you may see again a rise at the federal government level for a –a call for the federal constitutional amendment, because people want to make sure that this definition of marriage remains secure, because after all, the family is the fundamental unit of government.
Here’s the kicker:
WALLACE: So, just briefly, you would support a constitutional amendment that would overturn the New York state law?
BACHMANN: Yes, I would. I would. That is not inconsistent, because the states have the right under the 10th Amendment to do what they’d like to do. But the federal government also has the right to pass the federal constitutional amendment. It’s a high hurdle, as you know. We only have 27 amendments to the federal constitution. It’s very difficult. But certainly, it will either go to the courts, or the people’s representatives at the federal level.
It is important to note that Wallace explicitly asked the congresswoman if she supported a “constitutional amendment that would overturn the New York state law?” to which she answered “Yes.”
We often see politicians flip-flop and contradict themselves on issues over time, but to do such in a matter of seconds, and so clearly, is quite unusual. Bachmann strongly indicated her support for states’ rights via the 10th Amendment and immediately after she unequivocally said she supports overpowering those same rights via a constitutional amendment.
As far as I can understand, Bachmann’s position is that states have the right to set their own laws until she succeeds in overpowering that right as president. In other words, Bachmann supports removing state’s rights.