Footage of a US student’s careful line of questioning to Michele Bachmann on equal marriage rights has been gaining exposure online.

16-year-old Jane Schmidt challenges the Republican presidential nominee hopeful at a town hall meeting in the town of Waverly, Iowa on 30 November.

As head of her school’s Gay-Straight Alliance, she asks Bachmann what support she would offer GSAs and the wider LGBT community if elected.

After asking Schmidt to clarify what a GSA is, Bachmann’s smile fades and she replies: “Well, number one: all of us as Americans have the same rights, we have the same civil rights.

“That’s what government’s role is: to protect our civil rights. There shouldn’t be any special rights or any special set of criteria based upon people’s preferences. We all have the same civil rights.”

Schmidt responds: “Then why can’t same-sex couples get married?”

To a small round of applause, Bachmann, who stands over the seated teenager, says: “They can get married, but they abide by the same laws as everyone else.

“They can marry a man if they’re a woman, or if they can marry a woman if the’re a man.”

Schmidt asks: “Why can’t a man marry a man?”

“Because that’s not the law of the land,” Bachman replies.

Schmidt counters: “So heterosexual couples have a privilege?”

Bachmann says: “No, they have the same opportunity under the law. There is no right to same-sex marriage.”

Bachmann goes on to say there are “no special rights for people based upon your sex practices. There’s no special rights based on what you do with your sex life. You are an American citizen first and foremost, and that’s it”.

When pressed by another teenager, Bachmann repeats: “Every American citizen has the right to avail themselves of marriage. But they have to follow what the laws are, and the laws are you marry a person of the opposite sex.”

In the second half of the video, Bachmann defends her stance on allowing Christian prayer in schools. “When we had prayer in schools, we didn’t have the problems we have in the school systems today.”

“Government only censors religious speech in schools. Why is that?”