Warren Blumenfeld was in his office at Iowa State University on Saturday, trying to prepare his syllabi for fall classes. But the noise from the Ames Straw Poll, which was taking place just a few blocks away, was distracting him. Blumenfeld decided to walk over and check it out.
While he hung out with his friend, openly gay -- and therefore doomed -- Republican presidential candidate Fred Karger, Blumenfeld spotted Marcus Bachmann. Blumenfeld, who is gay, and teaches classes on Queer Studies at Iowa State, couldn't resist the opportunity to have a little chat with Dr. Bachmann.
Now, Blumenfeld has a photo of him and Marcus, smiling, and a video, which starts moments after the happy photo, when he confronted Marcus about his and Michele's long history of hurtful statements against gay people.
City Pages talked to Blumenfeld about why he wanted to confront Marcus Bachmann.
Marcus Bachmann probably didn't realize at first that Blumenfeld was gay, or wearing a pro-gay marriage shirt when he approached him: The shirt was red, just like the Bachmann campaign shirts everyone else was wearing.
"I think he just assumed I was wearing a Michele Bachmann for President shirt," Blumenfeld said.
So, yeah, if you were looking for a picture of Marcus Bachmann standing next to a single gay man wearing a pro-gay marriage shirt, here it is.
After they'd posed for a picture, Blumenfeld turned and tried to ask Marcus Bachmann about his statement referring to gay people as "barbarians" who "need to be disciplined," and Bachmann & Associates, the clinic where Bachmann and his team of faith-based psychologists help people "pray away the gay."
Marcus immediately brushed Blumenfeld off, and walked away. But he came back moments later to pick up the conversation. Blumenfeld took his opportunity, telling him that Michele Bachmann was using her opposition to gay rights as a wedge issue to propel her own career.
"She's using our bodies to step over our bodies in order to gain power, and I resent that," Blumenfeld said.
"Okay," Bachmann said, "you have a right to resent that."
Eventually, Blumenfeld confronted Marcus on his "reparative" therapy.
"You're trying to convert them to something they're not," he said.
Marcus pursed his lips together in a smile, and shook his head.
"That's not true," he said. "That's absolutely not true."
Here's the video of the confrontation, which was recorded by Fred Karger:
Blumenfeld said he felt he needed to confront Bachmann because he and his wife are hurting the gay community with their statements, citing the bullying and suicides of young gays and lesbians. He doesn't blame the Bachmanns specifically for those suicides, but he does want the Bachmanns to think about what they've said, and how it feeds into "a society that is basically anti-gay."
Any attempt from Michele Bachmann to dodge or deny her stance on gay rights -- as when she refused to answer a question on "Meet the Press" yesterday -- is just a ploy to make her seem less like "the extreme right wing candidate that she is," Blumenfeld said.
At one point during his argument with Marcus Bachmann, Blumenfeld wondered if Bachmann was, in one way, fooling himself.
"I was thinking, who is he trying to convince here?" Blumenfeld said, "But that's all I'll say about that. I don't care what his sexuality is, I care about his actions. Whatever his sexuality is, it's his business. But the things he says and does are my business, because they affect me and my community."