HRC Blog

Better Know Bachmann: On Hate Crimes

The Minnesotan tax attorney turned Tea Party darling made a name for herself with her adamant opposition to same-sex marriage. More recently, Michele and Marcus Bachmann have appeared in the news for their support of the dangerous practice of “reparative therapy.” Though Rep. Michele Bachmann is now working to reshape her public persona into that of a deficit-cutter, her popularity is piggy-backed on a reputation of anti-gay rhetoric.

Rep. Michele Bachmann, speaking on the House floor in 2009 on the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Action, said that to protect victims of hate crimes is to protect pedophiles:

"[P]eople who are practicing pedophiles would be considered protected under this legislation, but not, I understand, veterans, not, I understand, pregnant women, not, I understand, 85-year-old grandmothers would be protected under this law. But who would be protected? A pedophile, someone who considers themselves gay, someone who considers themselves transgender, someone who considers themselves a cross-dresser? That is who is protected."

Thankfully, Bachmann’s inflammatory comments were not enough to stop passage of the legislation. After more than a decade of advocacy by the HRC, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA) was signed into law by President Barack Obama on October 28, 2009.

Civil rights, civic and religious organizations, along with 300 law enforcement agencies, endorsed HCPA, including the International Association of Chiefs of Police, National District Attorneys Association, Presbyterian Church, Episcopal Church, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Young Women’s Christian Association and National Disability Rights Network.

To take action against homophobia and Bachmann’s support of reparative therapy, check out the Call It Out Campaign and sign the petition.

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