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Massachusetts Court Supports Gay Marriage; Michael Jackson's Ranch Searched

Aired November 18, 2003 - 20:00   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: "In Focus" tonight: Michael Jackson's ranch is searched in connection with an accusation of child molestation. We'll have the latest and we'll talk with two men who know Jackson well.
Massachusetts' high court rules the state cannot ban same-sex marriage. Will the rest of America follow its lead?

And too risque for prime time? A network under pressure to keep Victoria's Secret under wraps.

Good evening. Thanks so much for joining us tonight.

Also ahead: Scott Peterson's preliminary hearing (AUDIO GAP) and the child she was carrying.

And the Martha Stewart case also in front of a judge today. We'll tell you about her setback in court.

Plus, we will ask why health officials are expecting such a bad flu season and whether you should get a flu shot and when.

Also, presidential politics. The Democrats go to Iowa, but did Hillary Clinton steal the spotlight from the candidates?

First, here are some of the headlines you need to know right now.

After 12 days, Scott Peterson's preliminary hearing is over. The judge ruled there is enough evidence to try him on charges he murdered his wife and unborn child. The defense rested without putting any witnesses on the stand, which kept Peterson's former mistress from testifying before the trial.

We turn to the Michael Jackson investigation now. Police searched his home today. They won't say what they were looking for. But a source close to the case is telling CNN that the search was in response to allegations of child molestation.

We begin our coverage with CNN's Frank Buckley, who joins us live tonight from Los Olivos, California.

Good evening, Frank. What have you learned?

FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, good evening, Paula. We are outside the Neverland Ranch. Investigators are still inside. We've been told that they've been here since about 8:30 this morning. A spokesman for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department will only say that this execution of a search warrant here is part of an ongoing criminal investigation and that 60 to 70 members of the sheriff's department and district attorney's office are involved.

Michael Jackson is not here, according to a spokesman, and hasn't been here for 2 1/2 weeks. Stuart Backerman said Jackson was not informed of the search warrants by law enforcement officials, wasn't told the nature of the allegations and would have no comment on them.

But he did issue a statement addressing all the news coverage, saying quote -- Michael himself said: "I've seen lawyers who don't represent me and spokespeople who do not know me speaking for me. These characters always seem to surface with dreadful allegations, just as another project, an album, a video is being released."

In fact, Jackson has an album coming out today. It's a collection of hits with a new single on it called "One More Chance." Paula, we expect to hear more about these allegations during a news conference tomorrow -- Paula.

ZAHN: And give us a sense how locals are reacting to this news today?

BUCKLEY: Well, Paula, this is something that they've been through before in terms of allegations of child molestation.

You remember, 10 years ago, there were allegations brought by a 14-year-old boy. Those allegations were never pressed in criminal court. There was a financial settlement that was reached. And Michael Jackson always maintained his innocence. People here are expecting any attention when it comes to something involving Michael Jackson.

ZAHN: Frank Buckley, thanks so much for the update.

Now, today's search of Jackson's home is just the latest investigation involving the personal life of the pop star.

Here is our own Judy Woodruff.


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From public behavior to private accusations, it appears Michael Jackson's world only grows more isolated. News that investigators have searched his Neverland Ranch as part of a criminal investigation invokes a litany of bizarre displays, charges and countercharges. In 1993, the man who built much of his image and empire around his appeal to children was accused of child molestation by a then 13-year-old boy.

MICHAEL JACKSON, MUSICIAN: Don't treat me like a criminal, because I am innocent. WOODRUFF: No charges were ever filed. The investigation was suspended. And the parties settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.

But the damage to Michael Jackson's reputation was devastating. In the eyes of fans and observers, he had already become, at the very least, strangely different from the pop icon who had been a huge childhood star and later recorded the 1982 mega-hit "Thriller, still the second-best-selling album of all time. Reports of numerous plastic surgeries, which Jackson later minimized, his short-lived marriage to Lisa Marie Presley, his later marriage and subsequent divorce to a doctor's assistant named Debbie Rowe all contributed to the image of a supernova who either just couldn't relate normally to people or who was badly misunderstood.

A year ago, this shocking scene on the balcony of a Berlin hotel again brought serious questions about Jackson's behavior. This child was one of his own. He later admitted the act was reckless. But early this year, familiar concerns bubbled again. In an interview with a British journalist, Jackson admitted that he had slept in a bed with many children, including actor Macaulay Culkin and Culkin's siblings. He called the practice loving and said he had let his own three children sleep with people he knew.

Like other episodes in Michael Jackson's past, it seemed an attempt at spin had spun out of control.


ZAHN: Judy Woodruff.

And we turn now to two people who know Michael Jackson well. Joining us from Los Angeles is Bryan Michael Stoller, who is a friend of Jackson's. Here in the studio with me tonight, we are joined by a former spiritual adviser to Jackson, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. And joining us is our regular contributor, CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

Welcome, gentlemen.


ZAHN: Mr. Stoller, do you have reason to believe these allegations on the part of senior law enforcement officials?

BRYAN MICHAEL STOLLER, FRIEND OF MICHAEL JACKSON: I'm sorry. Could you repeat the question?

ZAHN: Do you believe these allegations?

STOLLER: Do I -- no, absolutely not. Absolutely not.

ZAHN: And why?

STOLLER: Well, I think it's just a rerun with the media and with the police of what the allegations were 10 years ago. And right now, from what I've heard -- and I think I was one of the last people to hear about the -- what's going on today, that there's nothing to report. There's a search warrant. Search warrants are done all the time. It doesn't mean somebody is guilty.

ZAHN: Mr. Stoller says he's troubled by a rerun of allegation perhaps we heard 10 years ago. How troubled are you by this news tonight?

RABBI SHMULEY BOTEACH, FORMER JACKSON SPIRITUAL ADVISER: Well, I'm very troubled, because this is an example of the fall of celebrities in general and America's foremost celebrity, Michael Jackson, in particular, and the tragedy of celebrity. The fact is that so many of Michael's friends want to defend him. And that's great. That's a sign of friendship.

But how many of them are going to him and saying, Michael, come on, get your act together? Your life is disintegrating. Do you realize you are falling apart? Even if these allegations are not true -- and I also don't believe they're true, because Michael said to me many times, looking me in the eye, "Shmuley, I could never harm a child."

And there was an authenticity to it. And people are innocent until proven guilty. But having said that, he did tell international TV that he brings children into his bed. And I would say to Mr. Stoller and other people who are still close to Michael, because I'm not, because I couldn't watch a good friend become a train wreck, have they gone to him and said, what are you doing to yourself? You are a talented, decent man and people perceive you as a train wreck who is indecent.

ZAHN: Well, what about that, Mr. Stoller? Did you ever confront your friend Michael Jackson about any of the noise surrounding these allegations?

STOLLER: I -- we never discussed that directly.

But I've known Michael for quite some time. I've seen how he is around the house. I've seen how he is with children. And I've never seen anything suspicion or anything that would relate to all these allegations. When Michael says that children sleep in his bed, Michael has actually two bedrooms. His bedroom


BOTEACH: That's not what was said, Mr. Stoller.

See, this is the problem. The problem here is that Michael is essentially a decent man who has no guidance. The people around him are usually sycophantic, although, with all apologies, that may not apply to you. They really don't care about him, because they're so in awe of the superstar, they are not prepared to criticize him. Me and Michael fell apart because I couldn't watch him destroy himself without saying anything anymore. And I'm amazed that people would defend this.


BOTEACH: We've got to save him from himself.

ZAHN: You were expected to do some kind of intervention on the family's part. They told you to do what for Michael?

BOTEACH: No, what happened was that, after I had been close to Michael for two years, I just said, look, he is not going to listen to me, because he was leading a healthy life, basic things that I introduced into his life, getting out of the house, sending the kids to a park, reconnecting with his family.

So I broke off with him. And his mother, who's a very fine woman, very spiritual, asked me to come to Encino, where I saw her. And she is a going to woman. And she said, Shmuley, you were a positive influence on him. And I said, Mrs. Jackson, with all due respect, he doesn't listen to me. And I'm just saddened that he has so many people who don't call him on his actions, because celebrities and people in power are often not called on their actions. And the result is that this is not good for him.

It is not good for any of his friends to be defending him right now, yes, against pedophilia, but not against the disintegration of his life.

ZAHN: Mr. Stoller, knowing Michael the way you did, are you confident that he understood the difference between what was appropriate with a child and what wasn't? The rabbi just pointed out, even in a televised interview that was publicized, he admitted taking young children into bed with him.

STOLLER: I think sometimes the way that Michael words things -- first of all, he says children come into his bedroom.

His bedroom is like a separate house. It's two stories. He's got video games, big-screen TV, computers. The only thing that I have seen with kids in his bedroom, as opposed to using the bed, is, the bed is a trampoline. That's al lit is. Michael is very much a father figure to the children of the world, in a sense. Michael trusts children.


BOTEACH: Mr. Stoller, with all due respect, I don't know what you're talking about.

Have you simply said to Michael: Michael, when you go on international TV and you tell people you pull kids into your bed, they see that as immoral. Michael, as you are a moral man. You can't say that and you can't do it. Have you said that to him, yes or no? You call yourself a friend. Have you said it to him?

STOLLER: It's not my place to even talk to him about that stuff.

BOTEACH: You call yourself a friend and it's not your place? What kind of friend are you, for God's sake? ZAHN: All right, this isn't an inquisition of Mr. Stoller this evening. We really wanted to gain a better understanding of what his relationship was with Michael Jackson.

What is the significance of these allegations being attributed, seeing the law enforcement officials, on the heels of a very similar allegation about a decade ago?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, what a search warrant means is that a magistrate found probable cause to believe that there's evidence of a crime in the ranch.

Senior law enforcement officials say, it's a child molestation investigation. That doesn't mean he's guilty, but he paid millions of dollars to the family of a kid 10 years ago in a similar investigation. But it is worth pointing out, these cases are very tough to make. You need an accusation from a kid. These kids don't like to come forward. Their parents don't like them to come forward. And there is the issue of money. Anybody who comes forward with an allegation like this will be accused of manufacturing it to try to get a settlement.

ZAHN: And that was certainly true in the last case.

TOOBIN: That was certainly true in the last case.

ZAHN: Those parents were accused of using their child to make a lot of money.

TOOBIN: That's right. And that's a big reason why that case fell apart.

So this case will face a lot of hurdles, if there is ever is a case. But it's an investigation against a guy who's had these kinds of allegations swirling around him for decades.

ZAHN: All right, gentlemen, we are going to have to leave it there.

Rabbi, thanks for your time, Bryan Michael Stoller, for yours. And Jeffrey Toobin, thanks for yours as well.

She's not running for president, but Hillary Clinton gone the lion's share of attention in Iowa this weekend. We're going to ask our own Joe Klein how she did.

And our debate tonight: The gay marriage ruling in Massachusetts, what will it mean for the rest of the country?

And is the Victoria's Secret lingerie fashion show too hot for prime time?


ZAHN: Now on to politics on the campaign trail. Presidential hopefuls share the spotlight with Hillary. Howard Dean raises his voice. And the AARP vs. Ted Kennedy.

Let's turn to Joe Klein, "TIME" magazine columnist, our regular contributor.

How are you doing tonight, Joe?

JOE KLEIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Hi, Paula. Nice to be back from Iowa.

ZAHN: I bet. Did they take good care of you there?

KLEIN: Oh, yes.

ZAHN: Let's talk about Hillary's speech.

KLEIN: Good meat.

ZAHN: Always.

A lot of star power in Iowa there, but Hillary getting the lion's share of the attention. Let's revisit a small part of her statement now.


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: Are you willing to go door to door for 50 weeks to tell the people that we can once again have a president who understands that we need not just to dominate militarily, but by the power of our ideals and our values, that we need once again to lead by example?



ZAHN: Is Hillary Clinton ready for prime time?

KLEIN: In a word, yikes.

A lot of the press after that was that she was the center of attention, which she was, because she's a major celebrity. But anybody who thinks that she is ready for run for president should take a good look at that entire speech. Not only the tone of her voice, which was kind of metallic and tinny when she shouts, but also..

ZAHN: What was wrong with the message?

KLEIN: It was disorganized. It wasn't concise. It wasn't at all memorable. There were at least three other candidates who gave better speeches that night.

ZAHN: Let's start off now with Howard Dean, whipping up a lot of energy out there. Let's see how he did that.


HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You have the power. You have the power. You have the power. You have the power.


ZAHN: How many times did he say, you have the power?

KLEIN: You are growing sleepy. You are growing sleepy.



ZAHN: Did it work?

KLEIN: Well, yes. He had a huge number of supporters there.

But Howard Dean is a candidate who is being overwhelmed by his campaign, which has become kind of a movement, a feel-good movement. And they love it when he does this stuff. But if you're watching him for the first time, I spoke to a number of people who were kind of little bit freaked out by it afterwards.


ZAHN: It's too mechanical? Too what? Too contrived?


KLEIN: Messianic.

ZAHN: Yes.

KLEIN: He seemed more like a cult leader than a candidate for president.

ZAHN: He got some emotional news about his late brother Charles.


His late brother was lost, I think in Vietnam, or Laos in -- or Cambodia -- in 1974, missing, presumed dead. I think they found his remains today. It was a very emotional moment for Dean. In the past, he has broken into tears in interviews when he's been asked about this. But his younger brother Charles, his younger brother by 16 months, is now presumed dead.

ZAHN: On to Medicare now. What are the chances the Republicans steal this issue from the Democrats?

KLEIN: Well, this is an incredible, important moment. The largest expansion of Medicare in history, prescription drug plan, is on the floor in the Senate now.

The Democrats are going to oppose it. And AARP, which normally is a pretty liberal lobby for the elderly, is in favor of it. I think you have both sides acting irresponsibly here, because Medicare clearly needs to be reformed. And there are some reforms in this package. But, also, it is going to cost $400 billion at a moment when we're running huge budget deficits, have a war going on, have huge tax cuts. So nobody's a winner with this thing, although -- and, in fact, at this point, nobody knows whether it is going to pass.

ZAHN: We will see, alongside you. Joe Klein, thanks so much.

More court action today in the Martha Stewart case. We'll have the news on that.

And did you get that flu shot? We're going to get some expert advice from the CDC, which is warning of a bad season ahead.


ZAHN: Video of what appears to be attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq has turned up on a Web site said to be run by a Saudi cleric. They show what looks like attacks on military vehicles.

For more on this developing story, let's turn to national security correspondent David Ensor.

Good evening, David.


Well, these video clips began to show up on the Web in the Arab world in the last week or so. The first one, according to the Web site that we first found it on, is on a Baghdad street. And if you look under those trees just ahead, there's an American Humvee or what looks like an American Humvee parked underneath there, perhaps with a soldier next to it. The camera hangs on it for a long time. And then we see why. And that explosion is reiterated several times in the videotape on the Web site.

The second video that we found on the Web site and on various Web sites is of another neighborhood in Baghdad, according to the Web site, a neighborhood called Rasafa. And here we see an explosion that's repeated several times, an attack on a military convoy, apparently, in the streets in Baghdad.

And, finally, the last one has sound. These do not. And we hear heavy gunfire on the streets of Adamiya in the Sunni district of Baghdad. And you can see there a Humvee coming under fire. Or that is what it looks like. Now, none of these videotapes have been authenticated. U.S. officials say they're examining them for any clues, for any intelligence that might be useful. Central Command has no comment on them whatsoever.

But analysts are saying that they believe the tapes were put on the Web to serve a propaganda purpose, clearly, and also to try to recruit more young Arabs to attack Americans in Iraq -- Paula.

ZAHN: Frightening to think about. Thanks, Dave.

And, of course, if these tapes are real, they'll know that people out there are videotaping these terror attacks and will know to look out for other cars with video cameras.

Now, Web logs, or blogs, are ways for nearly anyone to tell their own story on the Internet. In the months before the war in Iraq, an Iraqi calling himself Salam Pax began posting his story, writing of life inside Iraq. The work is out in a new booked called "The Clandestine Diary of an Ordinary Iraqi." And the Baghdad blogger shows his face for the first time in a U.S. interview.


ZAHN: Salam, thanks so much for being with us tonight. Welcome.


ZAHN: Did you ever think reconstruction in Iraq would be as difficult as it is right now?

PAX: Most of us were expecting things will get going easier. I guess we turned out to be wrong.

When you go on the street and you see a foreigner with a gun in his hand telling you what you're supposed to be doing, that always makes you feel a bit bitter. So we don't want the coalition to stay longer than needed, because they will look like occupiers.

ZAHN (voice-over): When Salam first came to the public's attention, he viewed the U.S. not as liberators or occupiers, but as invaders. In chilling words, he described what it was like to live in a city under siege and posted his thoughts on the Web site. The site was soon a favorite of readers all over the world, logging thousands of hits a day.

PAX: Half-an-hour ago, the oil-filled trenches were put on fire. The only thing I could think of was, why does this happen to Baghdad?

ZAHN: Pax, a 29-year-old resident of Baghdad and architect by trade, was taking shelter with 15 family members, hoping for the best, fearing the worst.

PAX: We start counting the hours from the moment one of the news channels reported that B-52s have left the airfield. In half-an-hour, we will know whether it is Baghdad tonight or another city.

ZAHN: Of course, Baghdad was hit repeatedly, but Pax and his immediate circle came out alive and relatively unscathed, only to be burdened by a whole new set of problems, like the recent change in terror tactics.

PAX: They're attacking Iraqis. They're killing Iraqis. This will actually bring it home to Iraqis that, look, what's happening now, these attacks, these are not good for you. They will never help. And people are getting worried.

ZAHN: Another common cause of worry is who is going to govern them and when. Ambassador Bremer is attempting to speed up the transition to Iraqi self-rule. But, to Pax, that is a concern itself.

PAX: There isn't any sort of vision. The 25 governing council members, they haven't really achieved anything until now. There's still problems between them. They cannot agree on a lot. They're more worried about themselves being attacked or assassinated than actually being able to help Iraqis and Iraq.

ZAHN: Regardless of all the problems in today's Iraq, and in spite of his newfound fame, Salam Pax says he will never leave his native land. He will stay to do his part to ensure this ancient land's survival.


ZAHN: Once again, that was Salam Pax, the so-called Baghdad blogger.

And coming up, we're going to debate today's gay marriage court ruling and talk with two of the plaintiffs in the case.

Also, flu season worries. The CDC warns of a rough season ahead. Do you need a flu shot?

And is Victoria's Secret showing too much skin? We're going to find out why one network is being urged not to air the special.


ZAHN: Welcome back. Here's what you need to know right now.

President Bush is in Britain for a state visit. He arrived in London today with tight security, in preparation for tens of thousands of protesters. While there, the president plans to defend the Iraq invasion in a major speech.

And a ruling in Massachusetts reignites the debate over same-sex marriage. The state's highest court ruled that the Massachusetts Constitution cannot be used to ban gay marriage. But the ruling does not mean gays can get a marriage license in Massachusetts quite yet. That ruling brought strong reaction from one of the people involved in the original lawsuit.


JULIE GOODRIDGE, PLAINTIFF: After 16 1/2 years, Hillary and I are finally going to be able to get married and protect our family.


ZAHN: We are joined now by two of the men who were also part of that case from Boston, Dave Wilson and Rob Compton.

Thank you both for being with us tonight. So first off, Dave, what was your reaction to the news today?

DAVE WILSON, PLAINTIFF: I was pretty overwhelmed. I picked up Rob at work, and we came home and turned on the TV. And at first we didn't know what the ruling meant, and we listened carefully and then we were just overwhelmed by it, but very excited. Very happy.

ZAHN: Dave, isn't it kind of hard to know what this means? Because essentially the court left it up to the state to make some adjustments within the next 180 days in the law.

WILSON: It's our understanding that the constitution was defined and explained by the SJC. And now it's been handed over to the legislature to fix what we're considering some minor details, which are forms and some of the details involved with actually getting a marriage license.

ZAHN: Dave, why is this so important to you?

WILSON: Well, Rob...

ZAHN: Rob can fill in here, too.


ROB COMPTON, PLAINTIFF: Good. I think this is really important to us. I've had a lot of visits to the emergency room.

My first visit, I was in the emergency room all by myself, doubled over in pain, trying to answer questions the doctors were answered me while David was out in the waiting room, you know, trying to get into the emergency room. There's no reason for that. He should have been in there helping me.

And this now will enable David to come into the emergency rooms without having to produce a lot of documents and help me through situations. It just -- And plus it validates the fact that we are a family, that we are in a committed relationship.

ZAHN: Well, Dave, that's what I think a lot of people are trying to understand, already that you've had this commitment ceremony. What difference will it make, then, to be able to be married, if that's what the law ends up accommodating?

WILSON: Well, for us it's a legal contract, and instead of carrying a health care proxy with us everywhere we go, basically once we have a marriage license, we can go anywhere we want to go and not have to worry about a crisis situation, that potentially we could be barred from each other or not being able to protect each other.

So we feel the legal protections now have been granted to us.

COMPTON: And many of the couples are raising young children. And this also helps legitimatize their families to provide them with all the legal protections that their children need and their families need.

ZAHN: And David, no doubt the two of you understand just how controversial it is and how wrong some Americans out there think of this idea is. What do you say to them tonight? WILSON: Well, basically we do understand that it's an educational process. It's been one for us, and it's been one for our families. But hopefully people will begin to look at our relationship, our families and recognize we want to take care of each other like anyone else does.

We work every day, we pay taxes, and as Baby Boomers, we're beginning to think about our future. And hopefully people will look at that and recognize as it stands.

ZAHN: Dave Wilson, Rob Compton...

COMPTON: This should in no way ...

ZAHN: Sorry. You can finish that thought.

COMPTON: I think this is no way detracts from anyone else's relationship or anyone else's marriage. This just mainly validates the fact that we do have a legitimate relationship and a family.

ZAHN: Dave Wilson and Rob Compton. Thanks so much for being with us tonight.

We're going to move on to some other guests now. Gay marriage is our debate tonight here in New York.

Evan Wolfson, director of the Freedom to Marry Project, and in Washington William J. Murray, chairman of the Religious Freedom Coalition.

Thank you, gentlemen, for being with us, as well.


ZAHN: So, William, why are you so outraged by this decision?

WILLIAM J. MURRAY, RELIGIOUS FREEDOM COALITION: It isn't a matter of as much as being outraged as just common sense.

We've had 6,000 years of recorded history in which marriage is between a man and a woman. And now suddenly, just barely into the 21st Century, we want to redefine that. And it has some pretty big implications. Not only with adults, not only with the validity of marriage, but also the message that it sends to children.

We are telling our kids, if we validate -- if this does indeed validate homosexual marriage, we are telling children in the schools that this is just another form of behavior, and it's perfectly all right. And many parents don't want that message to go to their children. In fact most parents don't.

ZAHN: Is that the message that you think will ultimately be sent by this Massachusetts decision?

WOLFSON: I think the message that will be sent by the constitutional decision of the Massachusetts court and by the couples who will now be able to take on the protections and security for their family is that America is a country that values families and values all families.

A country where everybody has the right to be both equal and different, and nobody has to give up his or her difference in order to be treated equally.

And where we have enough marriage to share, where we can afford to give protections and responsibility to the people who want to take on the commitment and play by the same rules.

ZAHN: So, William, why is discrimination based on sex any different than discrimination based on race?

MURRAY: Well, there's a big difference. One is behavior, and the other one is the color of an individual's skin.

No one can help it if they're white or black or Chinese or Japanese. People can very definitely have different behaviors, and we cannot go around changing what it is to be in a relationship based on behavior.

There's also something else here. Look at how narrow this was. The Supreme Court of Massachusetts voted 4-3 on this. Even they were aware of the inherent difficulties of it.

And also, this is not that unsimilar from what happened in Hawaii when the Supreme Court there said that the constitution of Hawaii didn't allow discrimination in this manner. And what happened there, and what could very well happen in the state of Massachusetts, was the constitution of Hawaii was changed in order to make it very clear that marriage was between one man and one woman, because that's what the majority of the people wanted.

ZAHN: Well, what about -- Let's give Evan a chance to chime in here. What about those implications?

WOLFSON: First of all it wasn't until 1948 that the first court in the Unites States struck down the ban on race discrimination in marriage, a ban on interracial couples and marriage. And that was a 4-3 vote of the California Supreme Court.

And the court in that decision said that the essence of the freedom to marry is the freedom to marry the person that to you is irreplaceable, the person you want to make a commitment to.

And lesbians and gay men have the same mix of reasons for wanting the freedom to marry as non-gay people: to take a commitment, to take on responsibility, to build a life together, and to care for one another.

And what the court recognized is that that choice and that commitment and those responsibilities are very, very important, and the choice belongs to the couple, not to the government, not to people who may not like the couple. ZAHN: All right. Well, William, let me ask you, based on the way this is playing out in Massachusetts, do you really believe within 180 days it will be legal to get married if you're gay in Massachusetts? Is that where you definitely see it going that way?

MURRAY: If the legislators were polled tonight, probably. Tomorrow night, probably not.

ZAHN: What's the distinction there?

MURRAY: Well, the people are going to contact their legislators. And Massachusetts is a very tolerant state, but that does not mean that it is overwhelmingly in favor of having specific protections of individuals because of behavior.

And remember that there is another issue here. If we're going to allow this, then can two brothers marry? Can two sisters marry? Can we have multiple marriages?

If we -- If the state does not have the ability to draw a line and define marriage as between one man and one woman, then where can it draw the line? Already, we have a situation where individuals who have been convicted of polygamy my in Utah are going to file appeals, based on this very type of case.

ZAHN: All right. Gentlemen, we're going to have to leave the debate there, so we can go back to our previous guests. Evan Wolfson and William J. Murray, thank you for both of your perspectives.

Let's rejoin Dave Wilson and Rob Compton, plaintiffs in the case decided today.

I guess you two, more than anybody, understand the very heated emotions surrounding this controversy. Just a final thought on where you see this public debate going.

Mr. Wolfson (sic) making the point that people might be in favor and tomorrow when they really understand the implications. they'll think this is just plain wrong. Dave?

WILSON: Well, we've created a family, and Rob and I have committed to each other, and just that commitment has now been recognized by the SJC here in Massachusetts. And we are very grateful that that has happened.

And we hope that the public at large will begin to see that our family is as valid as any other family.

ZAHN: And I guess Bill Murray...

COMPTON: And they were talking about...

ZAHN: I'm sorry. I know it's hard for you to hear me. Go ahead, Rob.

COMPTON: Well, they were talking earlier about how important this is to children. And I heard a politician earlier today talk about how they need to define a marriage and a family having one husband and one wife. And my heart went out to all the children in Massachusetts and throughout the country who are single-parent families, or who, in Massachusetts it's legal for gay parents to adopt.

They were telling all those children they were not legitimate families, and that they don't have the same legal rights as other families. And I think that's just so disheartening for those children to hear that from politicians.

ZAHN: All right. Dave Wilson, Rob Compton, we're going to have to leave it there. Again, thank you so much for joining us tonight.

And a look at why one network is facing such heat over a fashion show. Well, I don't know what you want to call it. A Victoria's Secret fashion show. You be the judge.

Also, flu season is already here in many parts of the country. We're going to ask the CDC who should get shots.

And tomorrow al Qaeda around the world, where is the terrorist group strong, and where has the war against terror made progress?


ZAHN: Martha Stewart back in court today. Her lawyers asked a judge to dismiss the most serious charges against her, but the judge said no.

And joining me is Christopher Byron, the author of the book "Martha, Inc.: The Incredible Story of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia." You get to say the whole title. Omnimedia. Don't say that twice and don't say it fast.

Welcome, Christopher.


ZAHN: A lot of people were expecting this action the judge today. How does this affect her strategy now, leading up to the trial?

BYRON: I was surprised by it.

ZAHN: You were?

BYRON: I thought -- Yes. I didn't think she'd rule from the bench. I thought she'd take it home overnight or think about it a little bit.

I think that just ruling right off the top like that, that, no, we're not throwing these counts out and we'll hear them in court and the proper time for you to get them dismissed is after the government puts on its case. I think that's got to be viewed as really bad news for the defense in this thing. Because this was -- a lot of P.R. went into building this up. There was a Barbara Walters interview on television, a lot of leaks out of that to the media, so I don't think they were expecting this that fast.

ZAHN: Don't you think that interview in the end served her well, based on the public reaction? She has a web site, all this positive reaction posted, which I guess...

BYRON: I don't know. Do you think? I don't know.

I kind of think that people really made up their minds on this matter a long time ago. I think Martha Stewart has got millions of supporters and millions of detractors, and I doubt 1 percent of them have changed.

ZAHN: But she wouldn't have done this interview, don't you think, if she didn't think it would increase some sort of empathy for her?

BYRON: I think she was hoping big time that it would. And I mean, look, there have been a lot of miscalculations in this thing and that just might have been the latest one.

ZAHN: From a strict P.R. point of view, when you look at the fanfare surrounding her arrival in court today.

BYRON: It looked like a state visit to the southern district, I know. That doesn't help.

ZAHN: She can't control that, though. She can't control...

BYRON: Well, I mean, you don't have to show up with an entourage.

But, look, I think that what we all need to get used to is that this is now going to become an increasingly common thing as we move up to trial date. What is it now? It's the 6th of January. I think the judge moved it forward a few days.

So we're going to see a lot of this and it's going to be ...

ZAHN: In all fairness if you were facing these charges Martha Stewart is, wouldn't you show up with your attorneys, too, in court? Or would you show up solo?

BYRON: No. On the other hand, I think what she's done here is set up a level of expectation and a level of interest in the general public that creates this crowd kind of environment wherever she goes. So she's got to kind of live with it, really.

And I don't know that it's doing her any good or any damage either. I think this is the kind of environment in which this case is going to get tried.

ZAHN: K-mart has certainly placed a lot of faith in her, even using her in some ads very recently. What do you think the future is of her company, and does it get hurt at all by the judge's decision today?

BYRON: Well, it's certainly been hurt already. And I was looking at the stock price this morning. It's off half when from all of this erupted a year ago in June. So...

ZAHN: But the branding obviously, K-mart thinks, has some value?

BYRON: Yes. If you actually look at what they did in that commercial, she's in there for a millisecond, really.

ZAHN: She didn't have to be in there, though, did she?

BYRON: On the other hand they're kind of stuck with the commitment. They've got a contract where they have to pay her company $20 or $25 million a year, whether she sells one Martha Stewart hand towel in there or a million. They're stuck with a minimum guarantee on that contract. It was a very clever contract for her to write.

And I guess what they thought was, "We'll just put a little bit in there and see if it helps."

ZAHN: Christopher Byron, thanks for dropping by.

BYRON: My pleasure.

ZAHN: You must be grateful to Martha. Every time we talk about you, it's helping you sell books.

BYRON: Well, I think I am.

ZAHN: With the CDC warning of a bad flu season ahead, we're going to have expert advice on whether you should get a flu shot.

And the TV fashion show that some say is just too hot. Should one network pull the plug on it?


ZAHN: The CDC is warning of an especially bad flu season ahead with outbreaks and a variant strain of the virus already being reported throughout the Unites States. So who should get flu shots?

I'm joined now from CNN Center in Atlanta now by Dr. Keiji Fukuda, who is with the Centers for Disease Control.

Welcome, Doctor. How worried are you about this?


Well, we're seeing activity occur in the Unites States, and this is a little earlier than usual. We're also seeing a strain of influenza virus, which often is associated with higher levels of illness and death. So we're concerned.

ZAHN: Is the vaccine going to do any good?

FUKUDA: Yes. Vaccine should be the most helpful thing that people can do. And we recommend that many groups of people get vaccinated.

ZAHN: And who are those folks?

FUKUDA: A couple main groups, Paula. Anyone over the age of 50, anyone older than six months who has something like chronic heart or lung disease, diabetes, immune deficiency diseases, and then particularly also groups that can transmit flu to these vulnerable groups, like health care workers and family members.

And then finally, we also encourage that young children between the ages of six and 23 months also get vaccinated.

ZAHN: And will this vaccine actually prevent the flu or make the symptoms much less severe?

FUKUDA: In some cases, it will prevent the flu, and in some instances, it will make the flu much less severe. But it is by far the best thing that you can do to prevent the complications and illness from influenza.

ZAHN: I shudder every time I see a shot like that getting administered. What about this new inhalable flu vaccine? Does it work?

FUKUDA: Yes. This is a new vaccine approved for people, healthy people between the ages of 5 and 49. And it's an excellent vaccine and works very well in preventing influenza.

ZAHN: And for those of us that try to hydrate as much as possible, and pop that Echinacea, Golden Seal, and all that other stuff that we ingest, is that going to make any difference? Is there any way to prevent, other than the vaccine, this kind of flu?

FUKUDA: Well, those other things can, you know, help keep you stronger, but really vaccination is, by far, the most important thing that people can do to prevent influenza.

ZAHN: And you certainly set a good example. You've already had your flu shot this season, right?


ZAHN: Well, the rest of us will follow suit in the categories that you recommended tonight.

Dr. Fukuda, thank you very much for your perspective.

FUKUDA: Thank you, Paula.

ZAHN: And the catalog is one thing but does the Victoria Secret TV fashion show cross the line?


ZAHN: After the mess over the Reagan mini-series, CBS is under the gun again. Now some people are upset over tomorrow night's Victoria's Secret fashion show.

The Parents Television Council is calling on local stations to preempt it.

From Los Angeles, I'm joined by the council's executive director, Tim Winter. In Washington tonight, Tom Shales, a TV critic of the "Washington Post."

Welcome. Good to have both of you with us tonight.

So, Tom, we've just come off this successful strategy that many feel kept the Reagan mini series off CBS. Do you think this group really thinks it can succeed?

TOM SHALES, TV CRITIC, "WASHINGTON POST": They may, but I don't. I don't think -- I think it's an awfully frivolous issue. And whereas the status of a beloved president, still alive and suffering from Alzheimer's Disease, I think that if you took a poll of the whole country, most people would have said, "Yes, let's keep that off television."

Whereas the same case for Victoria's Secret, they'd say, you know, "What's wrong with that? Let's have a little fun. It's nothing serious. It's not going to do any harm. Let's go ahead and have the girls come down the runway, or wherever they go."

ZAHN: Tim, you obviously don't see this as a frivolous issue, nor do you see it as a harmless hour of programming. Why?

TIM WALTERS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PARENTS TELEVISION COUNCIL: Well, frankly what we've seen 20 years ago CBS was the Tiffany Network, the one that was looked up to, and tomorrow night it's going to be the underwear infomercial network.

We sent letters basically to every single CBS affiliate in the country, and asked them to strictly consider their standards for the local community decency and to where those standards for their local community do not represent or reflect a runway show full of scantily- clad women, for those stations to preempt or replace that show with something else, again, to serve the public interest, as they're licensed to do.

ZAHN: Tom, you're a TV critic. Is this soft porn?

SHALES: I suppose you could call it that, but there's so much of that nowadays. You know, there was a comedian who said he looked at what teenage girls are wearing in high school and he said the hookers are all saying what are we going to wear now? You know, how are we going to distinguish ourselves from that?

Jim Miller, your producer, and I wrote a book about "Saturday Night Live." I just happened to recall that. ZAHN: That's a shameless plug for that book there, sir.

SHALES: And Robert Wright, who is the president of NBC, says he doesn't see many complaints about the content of "Saturday Night Live," because there's so many shows, people just don't have time to complain about them all. And I think that's true, too.

This Victoria's Secret show is pretty much in line with community standards now, what we see in commercials, what we see in cop shows. Every cop show now has to have a de rigueur scene set in a strip bar, where there are scantily clad girls dancing around them and around those poles. I don't know what they call those poles. Lucky poles, I guess. I don't know.

ZAHN: All right. But Tim doesn't see it that way. You don't see this at all consistent with the mores of a lot of communities across the nation? What about the point that Tom was addressing, that you look at any other network programming in primetime, and you see a lot of misogyny on the air?

WINTER: We do. Our -- The Parents Television Council watches every single hour of primetime show. We log every instance of sex, foul language, violence. And we make that information available on a Web site, our web site, so parents can make their own informed decision whether or not they want to show a certain program in their household.

The problem is that every year this gets more and more egregious in terms of the content. And therefore, that establishes the new watermark for next year, to push the envelope even further.

ZAHN: Just a real quick answer to this. Do you see what you're trying to do as censorship?

WINTER: Absolutely not. This is informed viewership, and this is responsibility in terms of the broadcast license that stations are granted.

ZAHN: And Tom, how many people do you think are going to be watching the show tomorrow? Ultimately, all this is controlled by the viewers, right?

SHALES: I don't think it will do all that well, but people who object and take some pleasure in the fact -- both sexes are being objectified now. There are as many naked men running around as naked women on TV. So it's kind of equalizing somehow.

ZAHN: All right. Gentlemen, we've got to move on. Tim Winter, Tom Shales, thanks so much.

And we thank you all for being with us tonight. We'll be back same time, same place tomorrow night. Good night.


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