An openly gay high school student from Minnesota on Friday confronted GOP presidential hopefuls Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann during campaign appearances in Iowa, to challenge their positions on marriage equality and LGBT rights.
Gabe Aderhold, 17, a senior at Edina High School in Edina, Minn., told Pawlenty, “You are discriminating against me and it hurts.”
Following is a transcript and video, via Think Progress:
Q: I thought our country was about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for everyone, no exceptions. So Tim Pawlenty, I want to know — when will you stand up for me…because you are discriminating against me and it hurts, it really does.
Pawlenty: I understand we have a difference of opinion on this issue…the relationship between a man and a woman in a traditional marriage is important to our country, our society, our culture…
Q: I support that you have your moral values, but that is something that is hurting my future and how I get to live my life…why does government get involved in our marriages? … Do you think I’m a second class citizen?
Pawlenty: We’re just going to have a respectful disagreement, sir.
Later in the day, Aderhold showed up at an Iowa State Fair soapbox event where Bachmann was scheduled to speak — after arriving 30 minutes late, Bachmann spoke for just three minutes.
She said she was going to shake hands but left the makeshift stage quickly when 17-year-old civil rights advocate Gabe Aderhold of Edina, Minn., loudly questioned her husband Marcus about his counseling techniques to “pray the gay away.”
Aderhold launched into a chant of “Shame on you” while the Bachmanns retreated.
Aderhold said part of his reasons for speaking publicly is to bring awareness to gay issues after the death of a family friend – a 15-year-old gay teen who lived in Bachmann’s district and who committed suicide in 2009 after being bullied.
“It is her responsibility to address social issues in her area, and there have been six suicides in the last year from being bullied in her district,” Aderhold said to the Des Moines Register prior to heckling Michele Bachmann today at the Iowa State Fair.
Bachmann and Pawlenty last week signed a “Marriage Pledge” from the National Organization for Marriage, in which they plegde to support a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage; defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court; appoint judges and an Attorney General who oppose a same-sex marriage; and more.