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Political Impact of Gay Marriage
Aired February 20, 2004 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: CROSSFIRE. On the left, James Carville and Paul Begala; on the right, Robert Novak and Tucker Carlson.
In the CROSSFIRE: San Francisco is letting same-sex couples say, I do. Conservative are ready to speak now, rather than hold their peace. What will the issue mean at the ballot box in November?
The Reverend Jerry Falwell debates former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown today on CROSSFIRE.
ANNOUNCER: Live from the George Washington University, James Carville and Tucker Carlson.
JAMES CARVILLE, CO-HOST: Welcome to CROSSFIRE.
Our debate today isn't so much about gay marriage. It's about the political fallout that the whole controversy is generating.
TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST: We've gotten a couple of "I do"s from some terrific guests. The Reverend Jerry Falwell and former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown will join us right after the best political briefing in television, our CROSSFIRE "Political Alert."
Well, for the past year, a lot of otherwise sober Democrats have done their best to pretend that Howard Dean is just a normal person. As long as he was the front-runner, Dean was a great guy, stable, not at all a loose cannon. Well, that was the talking point. And an astonishing number of people stuck to it.
Now that Dean is unemployed, however, his former friends have been quick to say incredibly vicious things about him in public, starting with Steve Grossman, who began attacking the Dean campaign while he was still technically the chairman of it. The latest Democrat to kick Dean now that he's down is former labor leader Gerald McEntee. "I think he's nuts," McEntee told "The New York Times."
CARVILLE: Well, I like Gerry McEntee. CARLSON: But why is he...
CARVILLE: I didn't agree -- I obviously didn't agree with his decision to endorse Dean. When Gerry did that, I thought Gerry McEntee was nuts. But I love you, Gerry.
CARLSON: No, no, seriously.
CARLSON: Don't you think it's kind of awful to beat up on somebody after he's out? I mean...
CARVILLE: I beat up on Dean when he was in.
CARLSON: But Grossman? No, no, but, James, you were...
CARVILLE: Look, I like Gerry McEntee. I think Gerry made a mistake. He was probably knew that he did when he was talking like that. I don't think Howard Dean is nuts either. I didn't think he was the right person to be president. I think he's done an enormous thing for the Democratic Party. He's energized a lot of people. He's shown these Democrats how to stand up.
CARVILLE: I love Gerry McEntee.
CARLSON: Don't you think the weasels ought to stop attacking him? Come on.
CARVILLE: I don't think Gerry McEntee is a weasel. I think he just made a mistake.
Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, stop the presses. Once upon a time, Ronald Reagan proposed classifying ketchup as a vegetable so that he could cut the budget for school lunch programs. Today's "New York Times" is reporting -- get this -- you're not going to believe this -- President Bush is considering something even more ridiculous.
He's considering officially reclassifying fast-food restaurants as manufacturers. That's right. All those jobs where kids are working in deep fat fryers making minimum wage will soon be called manufacturing jobs. Easy to understand why President Bush would want to do this. After all, on his watch, America has lost 2.6 million real manufacturing jobs.
(LAUGHTER) CARVILLE: By calling every job at McDonald's or Burger King a manufacturing job, he can say he's actually creating manufacturing jobs.
CARVILLE: I've got a different idea, Mr. President. If you really want to create manufacturing jobs, why doesn't he call lying a manufacturing job? After all, this administration has produced more than its share of whoppers.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
CARLSON: You know, whatever you call it, James, whatever you call it, free trade eliminates, at least in this country, manufacturing jobs. Or it tends to. That's why we've lost those jobs, because of free trade.
CARVILLE: Right. Yes.
CARLSON: They've gone to the Third World, where wages are lower. You know that. And it's phony...
CARVILLE: So we going to call a 17-year-old person making a hamburger a manufacturing job.
CARLSON: Why are you beating up on burger flippers?
CARVILLE: I'm not. They are. They want to call it a manufacturer.
CARVILLE: Or say -- if manufacturing falsehoods was a job, we wouldn't have an unemployment rate in this country. Everybody in the administration would be -- have a manufacturing job.
CARLSON: Well, there's a great bumper sticker.
All right, well, illegal aliens may be illegal, but they are not stupid. When President Bush announced a partial amnesty plan for Mexican workers who break the law by coming into this country, the White House contended that the proposal would, in fact, reduce illegal immigration.
Right. Go tell its to somebody else. Illegal aliens are not buying it. They see the Bush plan for exactly what it is, an invitation to come to the United States illegally. And so they are. According to the union that represents Border Patrol agents, the number of illegal aliens caught trying to sneak in from Mexico has increased dramatically since Bush's announcement.
There are already 12 million illegal aliens living in this country. Soon there will be more, probably many more, maybe millions more. And the White House does not seem to care. It sees them all as potential voters. And, so, of course, do Democrats. Businessmen are pleased by the prospect of cheap labor. One group, however, does care about unchecked illegal immigration. And that would be American citizens. Keep in mind, they vote, too.
CARVILLE: Yes. I would just say this. And I'm actually kind of liberal on immigration, but anybody that's coming into this country believing that this Congress is going to pass that, they ought to turn around and go back.
CARLSON: You know what? Actually, I don't buy conspiracy theories, but this is one situation in which there is a bit of a conspiracy. Both parties have the cynical notion that, if we bring in people from other countries, they'll wind up voting for whatever their party is.
CARLSON: And business has an interest. And I think people are sick of it.
CARVILLE: I think people want to come to America.
CARLSON: This is a bigger issue than you realize, James.
CARVILLE: You know what? I like to live in a country that people want to come to.
CARLSON: Yes, but how about legally?
CARLSON: Shouldn't they come legally?
CARVILLE: I agree. But people want to feed their families.
OK, here we go. Next Thursday, CNN and "The Los Angeles Times" will be hosting a Democratic presidential debate. And you'll be able to watch it right here. And one of the things we can look forward to is more wisdom from the Tucker Carlson-endorsed candidate, the man he likes to call an American folk hero, the Reverend Al Sharpton.
CARVILLE: Here's what the Reverend Sharpton had to say in the last debate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AL SHARPTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So I hope he knew he was lying, because, if he didn't and just went in some kind of crazy, psychological breakdown, then we are really in trouble. Clearly -- you know, I'm a minister. Why do people lie? Because they're liars. He lied in Florida. He's lied several times. I believe he lied in Iraq.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARVILLE: Actually, I think Tucker's endorsed candidate went slightly overboard. I think this administration has produced more falsehoods than any other administration in the world. They're manufacturers of falsehoods.
Tucker, you've endorsed Al Sharpton. Would you endorse this statement as well?
CARLSON: You know, James, you and a lot of Democrats talk about the importance of diversity in your party.
CARLSON: But when you actually get a diverse candidate up there, you patronize him.
CARVILLE: I'm not patronizing him.
CARLSON: And you mock him and you make fun of him and you treat him like a fool. You don't treat him seriously.
CARLSON: And it's -- I'm serious.
CARVILLE: Do you agree with him? Do you agree with him?
CARLSON: It's arrogant liberals like you that that make him want to run in the first place.
CARVILLE: Do you agree with him? Do you agree with him?
CARLSON: I agree with his goal. I agree with his goal.
CARVILLE: ... Bush is a liar. (BELL RINGING)
CARLSON: Let me answer your question.
CARVILLE: Do you agree with him?
CARLSON: I agree with his goal of...
CARVILLE: Did you endorse -- did you endorse what he just said?
CARLSON: ... of turning your party around and throwing out of the temple the arrogant, arrogant liberals who control it. Well...
CARVILLE: Arrogant liberal. Right.
CARLSON: Well, the issue of same-sex marriage, it's making its way down the political aisle. No one running for president on either side is for it. No one on either side has quite condemned it either. Just what are the political ramifications of gay marriage? We'll begin that debate just ahead when we speak to former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown and the Reverend Jerry Falwell.
And, later, what do John Edwards and Alex Rodriguez have in common? We'll tell you.
ANNOUNCER: Get ahead of the CROSSFIRE. Sign up for CROSSFIRE's daily "Political Alert" e-mail. You'll get a preview of each day's show, plus an inside look at the day's political headlines. Just go to CNN.com/CROSSFIRE and sign up today.
CARVILLE: San Francisco has now sanctioned 3,000 same-sex marriages. California hasn't fallen into the ocean and the country's foundation haven't crumbled. We still haven't found any weapons of mass destruction, but you can be sure the conservatives will be howling about gay marriage from now until November.
To debate its political impact, we're joined by San Francisco Mayor and my dear friend Willie Brown, and in Lynchburg, Virginia, the most prominent Republican there is, the man who is the embodiment of 21st century conservatism. He's the chancellor of Liberty University, the very powerful, influential Republican, Reverend Jerry Falwell.
CARLSON: Mayor Brown, thanks for joining us.
As you know, there are a lot of liberal Democrats who are against what's going on in San Francisco, including Senator Barbara Boxer and including Barney Frank of Massachusetts, who knows quite a bit about homosexuality, maybe even more than do. They're against it because, A, it's illegal, and more to the point, it's a spectacle, and a cruel one at that.
These people getting married won't remain married. It's mean. Why don't you see that?
WILLIE BROWN (D), FORMER MAYOR OF SAN FRANCISCO: I don't think those are the words that either one of those two persons you quoted used at all.
I think Senator Boxer made it very clear she's for domestic partnerships. She believes in the civic union of two people who love each other and want to live together and want to protect each other and enjoy the benefits that this country affords people who get together, particularly consenting adults.
I think Barney Frank simply said, it's the wrong time, because too many people will suffer politically as a result of it.
CARLSON: Actually, Mr. Mayor, if I could just read you what Barbara Boxer said, because I don't think you've characterized it correctly, she said -- quote -- "The mayor has decided to test state law, which bans gay marriage. My opinion is that state law is fair and appropriate, because it gives equal rights and responsibilities to all citizens." She's saying, it's illegal and I think it ought to be illegal.
That's not at all what you just said.
BROWN: Oh, I don't think it's illegal at all. As a matter of fact, I think our mayor was correct when he said the Constitution affords equal protection to all people. That state statute is trumped by the Constitution. And I think that matter will be appropriately tested in court.
CARVILLE: Reverend Falwell, let's talk about children here for a second here, the impact. What do you think has a more negative impact on children, the reality of divorce or the prospect of gay marriage?
JERRY FALWELL, CHANCELLOR, LIBERTY UNIVERSITY: I think they both hurt.
CARVILLE: But what hurts more?
FALWELL: Well, right now, with a 50 percent divorce rate in this country, obviously, children are the victim on a huge level. And there's no question what the mayor's doing is illegal, violating the laws of man, as well as the laws of God.
But, they're not -- you know, marriage -- from the very beginning, God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.
FALWELL: And, clearly, God intended one man, one woman for marriage. And no matter how ridiculous Mayor Daley or the mayor in San Francisco might feel, this will not stand the test of time. And there will be, in my opinion, a federal marriage amendment, a constitutional amendment that will put the definition of family, one man legally married to one woman, out of the reach of all jurists forever.
CARVILLE: So maybe we should outlaw divorce and prohibit gay marriage. And maybe that would
FALWELL: You can't outlaw -- you can't outlaw adultery. You cannot outlaw homosexual behavior. Both are immoral. But you can, you can outlaw the state sanctioning misbehavior and rewarding people for living in an immoral way.
CARVILLE: Well, I don't want to outlaw divorce or I don't want to outlaw gays getting together either.
FALWELL: Well, having been married
FALWELL: ... years, James, I have no intention of divorcing anybody.
FALWELL: And with children and grandchildren
CARVILLE: I don't have any intention of becoming a homosexual, but I respect them
CARLSON: Well, you never know, James.
CARLSON: Mayor Brown, John Edwards and John Kerry, the two leading Democrats running for president, have this to say about gay marriage.
John Edwards: "I don't support gay marriage." John Kerry: "I oppose gay marriage." Are they bigots?
BROWN: No, they're not bigots at all. They're doing exactly what they believe they should do and pursuant to their beliefs.
I don't suggest to you that anyone is a bigot on this issue. And I don't think I've used that term. What I said was exactly what the mayor said justifies his conduct. And that is, he believes the state of California and its Constitution says, all citizens shall be treated equally. It did not say, you can treat on the gender side.
Let me tell you something, Tucker. In this country, in 1947, this state still said, people must be of the same race in order to marry. In 1967, this nation finally changed its mind on that issue, 20 years after California.
CARLSON: Oh, please. Mr. Mayor, hold on. You're making exactly the point I was attempting to make. And that is comparing people who oppose gay marriage to segregationists, in other words, calling them bigots. That's exactly what you're saying, as you know.
BROWN: No, no, Tucker. You have a short -- obviously, a short understanding.
I simply am telling you that this country is in a position where it has tried to dictate who could or who could not marry and whom they could marry. I don't think that's something this country ought to be doing.
FALWELL: Well, Willie, Willie, I want to ask you this.
BROWN: Reverend Falwell is correct. If he doesn't want to marry anybody in his church, that's his option. If people don't want to be a part of what he is about, that's his option.
BROWN: But people ought to have a right, where they're in a loving relationship for long periods of time, to enjoy the benefits that everybody else enjoys under those circumstances.
FALWELL: Willie, if you believe anybody should have the right to marry, what do you think about -- what do you think about polygamy, Willie? Do you think polygamy should be allowed?
BROWN: No, no.
FALWELL: You don't?
BROWN: I think incest and polygamy, two things that
FALWELL: Why? Why? What's the reason for that?
BROWN: Because there are some health -- there are some health relationships associated with each one of those.
FALWELL: You think there are no health relationship items for gay marriage? You don't think it's unhealthy for people to live in a homosexual relationship?
I believe the Bible is the word of God, so I therefore believe the scripture clearly teaches marriage is a man, woman, period, exclusively. If I didn't believe the Bible, I'd have enough sense to know the plumbing doesn't work.
FALWELL: I mean, there's no way -- there's no way that you can understand a man marrying a man or a woman a woman from a biological or a commonsense approach. That doesn't work, even in the barnyard.
CARVILLE: Can I come in here -- can I come in here real quick?
FALWELL: Come on in, James.
CARVILLE: Yes, so you would oppose like two 60-year-old people getting married because that were barren? Because there's no way their plumbing is going to work. Their plumbing is not going to work.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
FALWELL: I want to tell you...
CARVILLE: Barren people. So why should we...
FALWELL: I want to tell you that marriage has nothing to do with having children or not having children. It has to do with the biblical standard of one man leaving his mother and his father and cleaving unto his wife and one man legally married to one woman for one lifetime.
FALWELL: And with 36 years of history with Macel and me, I can tell, it beats anything the mayor in San Francisco is tying together.
BROWN: Reverend Falwell, I don't want to debate...
CARVILLE: Go ahead, Mayor.
BROWN: Reverend Falwell, I don't want to get into a position where I'm trying to debate a person who ostensibly should be an expert on the Bible. But I think you are misreading and misinterpreting the Bible in every way.
FALWELL: What verse am I misreading? What verse am I misreading?
BROWN: The Bible does not specify -- the Bible does not specify that marriage is between a man and a woman, not at all, Reverend Falwell.
FALWELL: Would you give me three minutes to quote the verses to you?
CARLSON: No, no, I'm sorry, Reverend Falwell, we'd love to do that.
FALWELL: I'll be glad to quote the verses.
CARLSON: I'm sorry to interrupt, but I need to follow up on a question with the mayor.
FALWELL: Go ahead.
CARLSON: Mr. Falwell asked you an interesting question, Mayor Brown. And he said, why not polygamy? If, as you just said very clearly, the government has no right to regulate marriage between consenting adults...
FALWELL: Right. Why?
CARLSON: ... I'd like to know specifically why polygamy ought to be outlawed? You said because of health concerns. That's a dodge. Explain it to me.
BROWN: Let me walk -- let me walk you through the process of how you get on the polygamy and how you get on the incestuous side.
CARLSON: No, no, just polygamy. That question is just polygamy. What's wrong with polygamy?
BROWN: It's all the question of whether or not you can produce and offer things to society which causes a burden on all the rest of us. And, clearly, in a polygamist situation, there is a serious problem associated with the number of kids who are produced, where they shall live.
CARLSON: So government ought to regulate how many kids people have? Is that what you're saying?
CARVILLE: Let me get in. I have a proposal. I have a compromise proposal. I want to show both of you something that a prominent American said and see if both of you guys could agree on this as a compromise proposal and -- and so we can get back to talking about other things.
Would you roll the tape, please, of Vice President Cheney?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The fact of the matter, of course, is, that matter is regulated by the states. I think different states are likely to come to different conclusions, and that's appropriate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARVILLE: OK. Now, Vice President Cheney says on the question of civil unions, let each state decide. First of all, could we just get a compromise that we all get behind Vice President Cheney on this and move on to the bigger and better things
CARVILLE: As opposed to making gay people an issue in this campaign?
FALWELL: I believe the only solution is a federal marriage amendment. The president, I think, next week will come out in support of this.
CARVILLE: The vice president said
FALWELL: One is in the Senate already defining the family as one man married to one woman. And while I know what you're trying to get around -- Dick Cheney has a gay daughter. If I had a gay son or a daughter, I would love that child, just like Dick Cheney loves his child.
CARVILLE: Why attack -- why do you attack Dick Cheney's daughter? Why attack Dick Cheney's daughter?
CARVILLE: Don't attack Dick Cheney's daughter, Mr. Falwell. That's a shame.
FALWELL: I would love my gay child, if I had one, but I would never condone the lifestyle. Gay is not OK. Adultery is not OK.
CARVILLE: That's a shame.
CARVILLE: Keep a man's daughter out of it.
FALWELL: And may God help us to understand that this is a
FALWELL: ... be discussing 10 years ago.
CARLSON: Mr. Falwell, we're going to take a quick commercial break. Let the record reflect that James Carville brought Dick Cheney's daughter into it in the beginning.
CARVILLE: I did not say one thing about Dick Cheney's daughter.
CARLSON: When we return, our guests will enter the "Rapid Fire."
And right after the break, Wolf Blitzer has the latest on Ralph Nader and his possible impact on the race for president.
ANNOUNCER: Join Carville, Begala, Carlson and Novak in the CROSSFIRE. For free tickets to the live Washington audience, call 202-994-8CNN or e-mail us at CNN@gwu.edu. Now you can step into the CROSSFIRE.
CARVILLE: It's time for "Rapid Fire," where the constitutional amendment is short questions or short answers. We're debating the political impact of same-sex marriage with former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown and the Reverend Jerry Falwell, the most prominent conservative around today from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.
CARLSON: Mayor Brown, I'm trying to understand your incomprehensible position on polygamy. You say polygamists ought not be able to get married because they produce too many children. You just said that.
CARLSON: How many children should they be allowed to produce, specifically?
BROWN: Please, please, Tucker, don't ever...
CARLSON: You said it. I didn't.
BROWN: Don't ever try to put words in my mouth.
CARLSON: Those were your words.
BROWN: You're incomprehensible when you do that, not me.
CARLSON: Well, then please give me an answer.
BROWN: Let me run it through you. Let me run it through very clearly for you. The issue of miscegenation, the issue of polygamy and the issue of marriages between people of the same sex are three dramatically different issues. The issue of miscegenation was tested in the state court and in the federal court. And they said...
CARLSON: I don't know what you're talking about. I asked a simple question.
BROWN: Please let me finish. Let me finish.
BROWN: They said under no circumstances can you bar anyone from marrying because of a difference in race or religion.
On the issue of polygamy, clearly, the courts have ruled, somewhere in someplace, that it's improper for people to have multiple choices, the ownership issues and all the other complications that go with it. That's a standard that has been established. You want to test it, take it to court. If some mayor...
BROWN: Please. If some mayor wishes to question it
CARLSON: We're going to have to cut you off here, Mr. Mayor. I still don't understand.
CARVILLE: As a man of God, what's more immoral, the $10 trillion in debt that we're running up for the next generation or the possibility of gays getting married?
FALWELL: I think that...
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
FALWELL: ... there are huge problems on all sides of the fence. But I think the subject for discussion that you set for today is the rightness or wrongness of gay marriage.
And I would have to say that, if one takes the Bible seriously and believes that Jesus Christ died upon the cross for the sins of all humanity, whether one is an adulterer or a homosexual or a bisexual or one who spends too much money of the people's money, the blood of Jesus Christ, God's son...
FALWELL: ... cleanses from A-L-L all sin. And that's what the mayor out in San Francisco needs to hear. And those 3,000 couples, they need the lord Jesus Christ. CARLSON: The Reverend Jerry Falwell in Lynchburg, thank you very much. Former Mayor Willie Brown in San Francisco, thank you. We appreciate it.
CARLSON: Well, how do you hit a home run in New York if you're running for president? We'll show you one candidate's swing for the fences next.
CARLSON: Alex Rodriguez is a baseball player, American league MVP, and now a member of the New York Yankees. John Edwards is a former trial lawyer, specializing in Jacuzzi cases and a soon-to-be former U.S. senator from North Carolina.
They have nothing in common, right? Well maybe not.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you all for being here. The folks who work for me here told me that the people of New York were excited about having a new, fresh face from the South here in New York City. But, unfortunately, they were talking about Alex Rodriguez, not me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: You know, anybody who tells a good joke, I'm on their side. I'm not sure I'd vote for John Edwards, but good for him.
CARVILLE: He's a good man.
CARLSON: We need new jokes on the campaign trail, too. Other ones are a little old.
CARVILLE: There you go. Well, the entire Republican Party is a joke. So
CARLSON: James, settle down.
CARVILLE: From the left, I'm James Carville. That's it for CROSSFIRE. CARLSON: And from the right, I'm Tucker Carlson, a little calmer than James Carville.
Join us again tomorrow for another edition of CROSSFIRE.
"WOLF BLITZER REPORTS" starts right now. Have a great and peaceful night.
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