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Debate Over Anti-Gay Marriage Constitutional Amendment

Aired February 24, 2004 - 21:00   ET


GEORGE WALKER BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today I call upon the Congress to promptly pass and to send to the states for ratification an amendment to our Constitution defining and protecting marriage as a union of a man and woman as husband and wife.


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, the president comes out hard against same-sex marriage, and emotions are rising as the debate heats us. With us tonight, San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom. He brought this issue center stage earlier this month when he ordered the city and county to issue same-sex marriage licenses; nationally syndicated Christian broadcaster Pastor John MacArthur of California's Grace Community Church; Chad Allen, the actor and producer who starred in TV hits like "My Two Dads" and "Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman," became an activist after he was outed by tabloids in 1996; and Representative Marilyn Musgrave, Republican of Colorado. The White House says the president approves of the broad principles in the federal marriage amendment. That's an amendment she introduced in the House. They're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Two quick notes. The presidential -- the Democratic presidential debate will take place here on this -- at this time slot, Thursday night. I'll be the moderator. It'll come from the University of Southern California, co-sponsored by CNN and "The Los Angeles Times." It'll be 90 minutes. And tomorrow night's a special hour with special phone calls for Sarah Jessica Parker of "Sex and the City."

Let's begin our go-round here with Mayor Newsom. How did you react, Mayor, to today's announcement by the president?

MAYOR GAVIN NEWSOM, ORDERED S.F. TO ISSUE SAME-SEX LICENSES: I was disappointed, but I confess, Larry, I wasn't surprised. Frankly, the president's been talking about this for some time. He certainly raised it in terms of a national priority in his State of the Union. I unfortunately, though, feel it's divisive, inappropriate, and frankly, I feel it's shameful to divide this country like this at a time when we need to unite this country. And I find it unfortunate the president's decided to make this such a political priority.

KING: Were you challenging, Mayor, the wishes of the people of California?

NEWSOM: No, I was actually upholding my constitutional oath to bear full faith and allegiance to the constitution of the state of California. And Larry, nowhere in that constitution does it allow me to discriminate against people. And what we were doing previous to our directive was, I believe, discriminating people. And I find that abhorrent and I find that inappropriate. And we wanted to stand up on principle, stand up on a constitutional footing, and we made the appropriate action. Now 3,300-plus couples have affirmed their love, in and turn, Larry, I believe my marriage has been affirmed.

KING: Do you still issue licenses?

NEWSOM: We're still issuing licenses. Today we issued another 70 to 80 licenses. We have people coming from all over the world, from every part of the United States of America, and it is just exhilarating to see the love and the bond and the commitment of faith and understanding the responsibilities and obligations of marriage that are being executed every single day down at City Hall.

KING: Where do we stand in the courts, Mayor?

NEWSOM: Well, we're waiting to see what happens this Friday. The attorney general of the state of California desires this to go to the California supreme court. We've three times been in court. Three times we've been successful. Two different judges in those three separate hearings have said no irreparable harm is being done. The legal process is working. Frankly, the whole process, as it was conceived of, has been set up and is working as we speak. And we look forward to making strong arguments later in the next court series.

KING: John MacArthur, what is the irreparable harm of gays being married?

PASTOR JOHN MACARTHUR, OPPOSES SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: Well, I think there a number of things that we need to talk about. One is it would destroy the family. I mean, obviously, God designed the family to be a man and woman to produce a child. It is the DNA, it's the genetic structure of civilization. If you don't have that, you don't have civilization. So you're striking at the very core of its existence.

KING: But what does the state have to do with that? God can do it, and as a religious person, you can practice it, but why should the state be involved in a marriage?

MACARTHUR: Well, typically, the state is always involved -- always been involved in a marriage and I think -- because the state's responsibility is to uphold what is right, to uphold righteousness. I mean, it's in the fabric of human thinking to understand a man and a woman make a marriage and a family. God has put that in the very thinking. It's in the heart. It's there. The state upholds that standard, always has in every state in every human history -- factor of human history.

KING: Do you favor civil unions?

MACARTHUR: You know, gay and...

KING: The president said that should be left up to the states. MACARTHUR: Yes. Gay and lesbian people can do that whenever they want. They can do that in this culture or any other culture. But they don't have the right to determine marriage for a whole nation.

KING: So it's the marriage aspect, not the -- if the state wants to pass civil unions are OK, to give rights...

MACARTHUR: Right. We're talking about two things, Larry.


MACARTHUR: We're talking about an issue of civil union. That's a civil issue. If you ask me about whether it's moral or whether it's right, then it becomes a biblical issue.

KING: That might come up later, but...


MACARTHUR: But a civil issue -- sure, they have a right to make a relationship, if they want.

KING: Chad, why do you want to married? Why do you want the right to be married?

CHAD ALLEN, ACTOR/PRODUCER/ACTIVIST "OUTED" BY TABLOIDS IN '96: You know, I'll be honest with you. If you'd asked me this question a year ago, I wouldn't have cared. I would have said, Why would I want to get involved with that institution? Why would I want to have -- ultimately, wind up having my things decided by a court and where they go. And then I fell in love a year ago. And he's on the road right now, and when I wake up in the morning, I miss him a lot. I miss him right in my belly. And for the first time in my life, I started thinking about this institution of marriage and what my parents talked about, about building a life with somebody else. And when I woke up today, the president told me that I couldn't have that. The president said he would -- they turned the Constitution around and make it a document of exclusion and tell me that I'm a second-class citizen. That's not OK.

KING: What's wrong with a civil union, where a state says you're entitled to all of the benefits of marriage, you're just not married?

ALLEN: The bottom line on that for me is we had that debate in this country. We already decided, as a country, that separate but equal was not good enough for us. If that's the case, then it's time that we all stood up and again proclaimed that separate but equal is not good enough for us. And in this case, thank you very much. I appreciate that you're finally going to tell me that it's OK, I can have those same legal benefits that you've allowed everybody else who wants to declare their love. But then you want to tell me that I'm second class because I can't call it marriage? That's not good enough for me.

KING: Congresswoman Musgrave, what do you have against Chad Allen expressing that love with is partner in marriage?

REP. MARILYN MUSGRAVE (R-CO), INTRODUCED FED. MARRIAGE AMENDMENT: I actually have no opinion on that. What I do have an opinion on is whether or not in this country we will allow activist judges to redefine marriage. You know, Chad needs to be aware that the deliberative process, the legislative process has been available all along for people to change laws. But they've not chosen to go that way, but rather to go through the judicial branch, activist judges, to get their way. And the American people should not be forced...

KING: I see. But...

MUSGRAVE: ... to recognize gay marriage by federal judges or state judges.

KING: But Congresswoman, hasn't it been true in the past -- there's only two ways to change a law, legislatively or breaking it and then having a judge deciding or a constitutional Supreme Court deciding? Martin Luther King broke many laws on the way to justice. So what is open to someone other than to challenge a law, if the legislature doesn't change it, than to challenge it legally?

MUSGRAVE: Well, what is open to them is the legislative deliberative process. If we're ever to change the definition of marriage in this country, it should be done by the American people and their elected representatives. And they've had every opportunity to go that route but have chosen not to do that because the American people overwhelmingly support the traditional definition of marriage...

KING: But states...

MUSGRAVE: ... a union between one man and one woman.

KING: States in the South historically supported a separation of color in the South, and Martin Luther King challenged that. Many states held to it. A black couldn't marry a white in the Southern states. This is 20 years ago that couldn't happen.

MUSGRAVE: What we're talking about...

KING: The legislature didn't change it.

MUSGRAVE: ... here, Larry, is the definition of marriage, changing the definition of marriage. And again, if that's to be done, it should be done by the American people and their elected representatives.

KING: OK. Mayor, what's wrong with that? What's wrong with letting the people decide?

NEWSOM: Yes, Larry, I feel, I must say, when I'm listening to the congresswoman -- and I say this with respect -- that if we wait for popularity in the polls and the people, we still would be talking about interracial marriages in this country. The year I was born, finally, it was some activist judges in Loving versus the State of Virginia that finally recognized that 16 states were being discriminatory in not affording the rights of blacks to marry whites, whites to marry Asians, et cetera. The point is, there's certain principles you stand on and those principles of non-discrimination.

I've got to say, as well, I think we're affirming family. And I would challenge anyone that doesn't think that gay couples are an extention of the fabric of family to come to City Hall and see young kids, to see mothers and fathers with their sons and daughters that are engaging in bonds and extending themselves to loving relationships and affirming marriage. And as I said, Larry, I got married two years ago. I have certain rights and privileges that, until we took action here in San Francisco, were denied literally millions of people across this country. That is fundamentally flawed, and I would argue that's not American.

KING: Let me get a break, and we'll come back...

MUSGRAVE: It might be interesting...

KING: I'll have Marilyn respond...


KING: ... and John MacArthur. We'll get into it. We've got a full hour. We'll also be including your phone calls. Don't go away.


BUSH: After more than two centuries of American jurisprudence and millennia of human experience, a few judges and local authorities are presuming to change the most fundamental institution of civilization. Their actions have created confusion on an issue that requires clarity.



KING: When did you know that you liked the same sex?

ROSIE O'DONNELL, ACTRESS/TALK SHOW HOST: Well, I was a non- sexually active teenager, in any capacity. You know, I was very popular in high school. I was the homecoming queen. I was senior class president. You know, I was not at all thinking of dating in any way, shape or form. And it wasn't as though I thought, Wow, I might be gay. I'd better, you know, try to squelch this and -- I just didn't even have a consciousness of it. And then when I got my license, I believe I was 18, I was driving in the car and I was thinking, You know what? I think I'm gay.


KING: Congresswoman Musgrave, you wanted to respond to the mayor?

MUSGRAVE: Well, I just wanted to say it's amazing to me that the mayor can defy the law and talk about it as though it were a noble thing. What if mayors around the nation just openly defied the law? What kind of a country would we have? I believe when you're an elected official, you should have respect for the law. And the people of California have had a ballot initiative. The definition of marriage in California is a union between one man and one woman.

KING: Mayor?

NEWSOM: Well, Congresswoman, we are in the courts now discussing that point. We're discussing the constitutionality of that effort. The system works quite well. There's nothing to fear, Congresswoman. The fact is, when we took this action to uphold the constitution of the state of California, where clearly, by the very nature of the fact that people feel that they need to amend the constitution, we took appropriate acts to bear full faith and allegiance by the non- discriminatory nature of the language. We feel we're doing the right thing.

KING: You certainly agree...

MUSGRAVE: Mr. Mayor, there's...

KING: ... Mayor, though, they have the right to amend?

NEWSOM: Well, they certainly -- they -- everyone -- you have the right to amend. We've amended the Constitution 17 times since the Bill of Rights.

KING: All right. You wanted to say something? I want to move to our other panelists. But Marilyn, you wanted to add something, Congresswoman?

MUSGRAVE: Well, I was just going to say that it is very appropriate to have this legislation before us, now with the president putting his support behind the federal marriage amendment, and we will go through the legislative deliberative process. It has to have a super-majority in the House and the Senate and 38 states have to ratify. This is done in a respectful, lawful manner, unlike what you're doing in San Francisco.

NEWSOM: Well...

KING: All right, John, let me -- let me move to other members of the panel. We have four members of the panel. I want to get everyone in. John, what do you say to those who say, What about Chad and the love of his life being together? Isn't that better than, say, the heterosexual marriage where one of the partners cheats? Who is contributing more to the moral decay of the society, the adulterous husband with the female wife or the loving gay couple who don't do that?

MACARTHUR: Yes, well, you're asking me to do something I really can't do, and make a judgment on which sin is better or worse than the other. We've suffered in this country from adultery, divorce, the abuse of children, pedophilia, you name it. I'm not going to classify those in rank. They're sins, and they destroy the family. KING: And homosexuality is...

MACARTHUR: And homosexuality...

KING: ... a sin to you.

MACARTHUR: Yes. And...

KING: Therefore, it's a choice.

MACARTHUR: It's a choice you make. It's a sinful choice.

KING: Did you make a choice to be heterosexual?

MACARTHUR: I don't think I had to make a choice to be heterosexual. I think that's a natural thing.

KING: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. In other words, one is a choice and one is not?


KING: So he was unlucky and you're...

MACARTHUR: Because -- because you're not talking about -- because it's natural to be heterosexual. That's built...

KING: What do you mean by natural?

MACARTHUR: Well, I mean, that's the way God made us. That's the normal...

KING: But if he doesn't feel that way, what is he, then? He's not a sinner. It wasn't his decision.

MACARTHUR: Yes, I think it was his decision.

ALLEN: I would love, absolutely love for the pastor to point out for me when in my life I made that decision because I have to tell you, it caused a lot of pain in my family. It caused a lot of pain to me. It's a very, very tough thing that I had to go through. I don't remember making that decision. If I did, maybe can you point it out, but that wasn't the case for me.


ALLEN: It's who I am. You also said that it was in the fabric of the human being that -- to understand that marriage was between a man and a woman and that's what family was. It must not be because it's not in the fabric of what who I am. It's not the way I see it. I think families come in all shapes, sizes and colors.

MACARTHUR: Well, let me respond this way, Chad, and say it had to be in the fabric of humanity or you wouldn't be here.

ALLEN: I believe that reproduction is. I'll give you that. I absolutely believe that reproduction is. However, I think family, the definition of family and the definition of reproduction are very, very different things.

KING: All right...

MACARTHUR: Well, what I said earlier is the DNA, the genetic structure of humanity, of civilization, of society is family. Everybody knows that. That's in the heart. That's how it works. You're coming along with others who are homosexual in their perspective and overturning what is natural to everyone.

KING: Could they also be asking to the privilege of something you have preached for years? Marriage is a healthy, wonderful thing, and they're saying, Let us in...


KING: Why would you deny it to them?

MACARTHUR: Let me respond to Chad, too, just on a personal basis, Chad, by saying, I don't think at some point you said, OK, I'm going to be a homosexual. I got two alternatives. You know, I'm going to go be a homosexual. But I do think whatever sin patterns show up in our lives -- and it may be different for us -- we can choose to continue down those paths of sin, whether it's adultery or whatever it is, or we can say, Look, this is sin, and I need to deal with this in my heart. If this is the way I'm being led, it's not right. It doesn't honor God. It's not according to his word. It's not going to ultimately bring blessing on life. I make the choice at that -- I can't make a choice to be a sinner, OK? I am. We all are. But once you start down the path of sin, if you recognize that it is that, then you look to the Lord for the remedy to that.

ALLEN: And I respect you beyond anything for your belief on that. I really do. And let me tell you where the sin was in my life, as I see it. When I was in high school and kids were getting picked on and I was one of those kids picking on other kids, the ones that couldn't help but show that they were gay, the effeminate boys, and I picked on them and I beat them up. That was a sin for me. The sin for me was hiding who I was, when I was -- when it was dark inside my life and I was hiding who I was and trying to be something else, that was the sin for me. I believe that it's God who's called me to open up and start talking.

KING: Congresswoman Musgrave, do you favor civil union?

MUSGRAVE: I do not support civil unions. However, the language, the intent of my amendment reins in the federal judges and the state judges, so you cannot have state courts imposing civil unions. But it's respectful of legislatures that would choose to do that.

KING: So in other words, if a state -- if your -- if Colorado wanted that, it could do that legislatively.

MUSGRAVE: It could do that legislatively. I'd fight the good fight in Colorado to oppose it, quite frankly, but this is respective of a legislature's ability to do just that.

KING: What rights do you want gay couples to have?

MUSGRAVE: The rights that they have right now, all the rights that the rest of us enjoy.

KING: Like, you can sign off on your partner's pulling the plug, if he wanted to die?

MUSGRAVE: Contractual agreements, those things can be taken care of. In the state of Colorado, in regard to inheritance rights, you can write a will on a cocktail napkin and it's valid. So those things can be taken care of. If the legislatures want to deal with those in more detail, they certainly can do that in regard to benefits and contractual agreements...

KING: All right, I'll have the mayor...

MUSGRAVE: ... under the language of the FMA.

KING: I'll have the mayor respond to that. We'll be going to your calls at bottom of the hour, and we'll do that right after these words.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - September 1, 2003

KING: So it's not important that marriage...

RICHARD CHAMBERLAIN, ACTOR: I don't think it's fair.

KING: ... be legal.

CHAMBERLAIN: Marriage -- well, because I'm not that connected to any organized religion, the idea of marriage doesn't -- isn't interesting to me. But being civilly married, or whatever you'd call it, having a civil agreement that gave us the rights of a married couple I think is very important.

KING: A partnership.

CHAMBERLAIN: A partnership.




SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If the amendment provides for partnership and civil union, which I believe is the appropriate way to extend rights, that would be a good amendment. I think that you need to have civil union. That's my position.

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I do not support -- I am against the president's constitutional amendment on gay marriage. I don't personally support gay marriage myself, but my position has always been that it's for the states to decide, and it's for the state of Georgia to decide or any other state to decide. And I think the federal government should honor those decisions.


KING: Mayor Newsom, what's wrong with what Congresswoman Musgrave had to say?

NEWSOM: Well, she didn't say what either presidential candidate said. She said separate but unequal. At least there's an argument being made by the presidential candidates that the thousand-plus benefits afforded opposite-gender couples, married couples, can at least be considered as an extended benefit with civil unions. The bottom line is, visitation, the rights of pension benefits, health care benefits, inheritance rights are not afforded opposite-gender -- are afforded opposite-gender couples but not same-sex couples.

So to say that's not discriminatory to me is abjectly remarkable when, in fact, it is discriminatory. And she's preaching, at least, a separate but unequal standard, and it's just simply not the world that I represent out here...

MUSGRAVE: Are you going to have polygamy...

NEWSOM: ... in the great state of California.

MUSGRAVE: ... day? Are you going to have a polygamy day? Are you going to have a group marriage day? How far is this going to go, Mr. Mayor? I'd just like to know how far you're going to go in defining the law. And please answer that. Is polygamy OK?

NEWSOM: It's -- you know, it's the typical red herring, and it's almost stale rhetoric. It's the same rhetoric to get off the fundamental...

MUSGRAVE: It's a legitimate question.

NEWSOM: ... the right of two -- the right of two people...

MUSGRAVE: Is polygamy OK?

NEWSOM: ... to come together...

MUSGRAVE: If you blur the lines of the definition of marriage, Mr. Mayor, how far do you go? I'm really interested. Do you support polygamy?

NEWSOM: I don't support discrimination, and I feel I have an obligation to protect and preserve...

MUSGRAVE: You haven't answered the question.

NEWSOM: ... of San Francisco -- because it's a red herring and it's stale, divisive rhetoric.

MUSGRAVE: If you think it's discrimination... NEWSOM: And you can do better.

MUSGRAVE: Do you support polygamy? How about group marriage? I'd like an answer.

NEWSOM: I support two people in a loving, respectful way coming together and getting the same rights...

KING: In other words, Mayor, what you're saying is...


KING: Mayor, you support that marriage should involve two people.

NEWSOM: Absolutely. And it's -- but I guess what it is, it's becoming almost cliche that the cultural conservatives throw out polygamy and all these other red herrings. Let's get back to the core issue. It's OK, from your perspective, to discriminate against two loving people that want to enter in a monogamous relationship.

MUSGRAVE: And possibly, you're discriminating against people who believe in polygamy, maybe people who believe in group marriage. When you redefine marriage, how far are you going to go, Mr. Mayor?

NEWSOM: We're talking about...

MUSGRAVE: Are you going to make that decision?

NEWSOM: We're talking about affirming the marriages of people like Phyllis Martin (ph). Ardele Martin (ph) and Phyllis Line (ph) have been together five decades in a loving, committed, monogamous relationship. We're talking about affirming marriages in ways that extend the same rights and privileges and obligations. It's not something to be so concerned about.

KING: All right, John...

NEWSOM: It's not something to be so, I think, worried about.

KING: John, how about -- here are two people that want to -- they want a family. They want to be a gay couple. They want what you have, you have with your wife. They're asking for that. They want to promise fidelity. They want to promise to love, honor and obey. Why not let them do that?

MACARTHUR: Well, they may want a family, but they can't have one.

KING: No, but -- yes, they can. They can adopt.

MACARTHUR: Well, that -- they can't have one in the way that God designed it. They can't have one.

KING: Well, I'm talking about...

MACARTHUR: I mean, they can borrow somebody else's children.


KING: The state and God are not the same. The state -- what does the state care?

MACARTHUR: Well, I think because the state has a responsibility to uphold the right. Even the Bible says that the government exists to protect the people...

KING: What does the Bible...

MACARTHUR: ... from what is evil. Well, I'm just saying...


MACARTHUR: What does a state do? It protects us, right? It protects us from what destroys. We enter into the abortion debate. The state makes laws about abortion. Why? Because it wants to protect what is valuable to our society and that is the reproduction process. This goes upstream in some sense, Larry, past the point of conception to a point where there can't even be conception.

KING: But don't you feel compassion for the fact that Chad wants only one thing, the same thing you have.

MACARTHUR: You know, I...

KING: What's wrong with that?

MACARTHUR: Because it's a wrong relationship. It's a sinful relationship. It's an unnatural relationship. It's a relationship that, obviously, common sense tells you can't produce children and care for children in the way that humanity's...

KING: And that's the only reason for marriage, then?

MACARTHUR: Well, there's more...

KING: Reproduction?

MACARTHUR: ... to say than that. You got to look beyond them. You got to look to the future. You have to look to the kids, the children. Law establishes values. Values are taught to children. They determine how children think in the future.

KING: Chad...

ALLEN: I have four friends, married couples, gay couples raising children, doing a very, very good job of teaching their children and raising their children in beautiful, loving families.

KING: Chad, why do you want what the society doesn't want to give you?

ALLEN: That's a good question. I'll tell you why. Because my parents showed me what love was like. They showed me what marriage was like. They showed me what two people could build together, grow old together, be happy together, take care of each other, plan for their future, plan for their deaths, plan to take care of each other if they're in the hospital. I've seen friends do the same thing. I stood up next to my brother when he got married and in front of the church, in front of our family, told -- said how much he loved his wife and wanted to be together.

And for the first time in my life, again, I'm in love. And I started thinking, I want that, too. I can do it, too. And the bottom line is whether or not, ultimately, I or any my of my buddies want to get married is besides the point. There exists this institution which we've attached legal ramifications to, special rights to, that you're telling me that I can't have. That's not fair. That's not right. It's not what our country stands for.

KING: We'll take a break and be back. We'll start to include your phone calls. I'll reintroduce the panel, as well. Don't go away.


DR. LAURA SCHLESSINGER, SYNDICATED RADIO HOST: But there are certain positions that I hold. I'm not for legalizing marriages because to me, that's a covenant between a man and a woman and God. And I wasn't for the equalization act that happened in New Jersey, where the children who are up for adoption as newborns could be given equally to a gay or lesbian couple or a heterosexual couple.




GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: I believe very strongly in domestic partnership rights. I was all for (UNINTELLIGIBLE) campaign. I spoke up for it, but at the same time, we have also a law that says we do not accept same-sex marriages, which was passed by the people, Proposition 22, and so that is the law. So we cannot have all of a sudden now mayors go and hand out licenses for various different things.


KING: We got Sarah Jessica Parker tomorrow night and the "L.A Times"/ CNN debate at Southern Cal. University. I'll be the host and it will take place on Thursday night for 90 minutes starting at 9:00 eastern. Let's meet our panel again and then go to calls. In San Francisco, Mayor Gavin Newsom, he's the Democrat just elected. He ordered the city and county of San Francisco to start issuing marriage licenses and they continue to do that.

In Los Angeles here is John MacArthur, pastor/teacher of Grace Community College, Grace Community Church, president of the Master's College and Seminary and the nationally syndicated radio broadcast "Grace To You."

Also in Los Angeles is Chad Allen, actor, producer, activist, outed in 1996 when a tabloid printed a photo of him kissing someone, costarring TV shows including "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman," "My Two Dads," and "Our House."

And Washington, it's Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave, Republican of Colorado who introduced the House joint resolution number 56, the Federal Marriage Amendment. That resolution has 112 cosponsors.

Santa Barbara, California, hello.

CALLER: My question is for John. John, earlier when you were talking about the reason to keep it between a man and a woman, you were saying that marriage is so much oriented towards procreation, but what about all the couples that are heterosexual that love each other, want to be married, and yet don't have any intention of having children?

MACARTHUR: Well, of course, not all couples are going to have children but only couples that are male and female are going to have children. And the only way you procreate the race is between a man and a woman. So built into the fabric of human society is of course, the male/female and the producing of a child. That as I said is the DNA, the genetic structure of civilization and we've done everything we can throughout history, just about every civilization has done everything it can to protect the sanctity of marriage because they understand not only do you produce the life but you want to bring the life to the standards and the values that are precious, that are important, that create a civilized environment in which to live.

KING: What's your argument, mayor, against the logic of that statement? Genetically, DNA, it's man and woman, are we being semantics, liberal union...

NEWSOM: In 1948, Larry, these were not dissimilar arguments, not quite analogous about the fact that races were put on separate continents around the world because God decreed that they shouldn't in any way, shape or form procreate.

KING: Didn't happen.

NEWSOM: The point is some of these arguments, they're reminiscent. With respect to the pastor, I just, you know, I'm a practicing Catholic. I got married in the church two plus years. I don't see what we're doing in terms of advancing the bond of love and monogamy and extending that to family, families of same-sex in any way, shape or form takes away anything from the church or the sanctity of the union that my wife and I have.

MACARTHUR: I would just like to ask the mayor as a practicing Catholic, do you believe the Bible is the word of God?

NEWSOM: Pastor, I'm not going to get into a theological debate with you. MACARTHUR: That's not a theological debate. That's just a straight question, do you believe the Bible is the authoritative word of God?

NEWSOM: With respect, I guess I do. Now the response.

MACARTHUR: Then the Bible says when God created man, he said one man, one woman, cleave together, for life. That's a family. Jesus in the New Testament reaffirms that, all of the writers of the Old and New Testament affirm it. Adultery, bestiality, homosexuality was punishable by death according to the Old Testament law because it was so serious in those early years because it literally shattered the hope of civilization. The New Testament us, of course, grace, those sins, our sins, they are forgivable. Jesus died to redeem us from those sins. We're all sinners.

KING: What does the state have to do with it?

MACARTHUR: But the point at this juncture is he's representing the state, he's coming back and saying I'm a Catholic, and I'm a Catholic and somehow this fits into my Catholicism and I'm saying what's your authority then?

NEWSOM: I guess the bottom line is we're living and advancing together across all kinds of differences, pastor. It is an extraordinary, miraculous thing to come out here in San Francisco and I think the world looks to us to see that it's possible to live together and advance together across our differences, and I'm proud to represent a city that has diverse points of view, open points of view, that doesn't believe in discrimination and has evolved from the old constructs that I think have frankly held back society and many that are inconsistent, yes, with your faith and I respect the difference of opinion.

KING: Logan, Utah, hello. Logan, Ohio, sorry.

CALLER: Yes, thank you so much for taking my call. Best show on the air.

KING: Thank you.

CALLER: For the Congresswoman, I'm a Vietnam veteran. I have fought to help uphold our constitution. I'm a hard-core Republican. However, on this issue I think you are definitely wrong. If the constitution says that all men are created equal, and now as a Republican and like I said, as a hard-core Republican I'm going to do everything I can to make sure that George Bush will be defeated that year...

KING: Do you have a question, sir, rather than a speech?

CALLER: Yes, how can you discriminate against certain people, you know, that's no better than the KKK discriminating against the blacks?

MUSGRAVE: First of all, I'm not doing anything. I'm sponsoring legislation. Has to have a super majority, House and Senate and 38 states have to ratify. There is no discrimination in this. Gays have all the rights that we do right now. What we're talking about is redefining marriage. If we redefine it, how far does it go? I'm disappointed that the mayor wants to discriminate against polygamists. If he's so concerned about discrimination, I don't understand your logic.

KING: He answered that, Congresswoman, and said a marriage should be between two people. That's all.

MUSGRAVE: I hope he's not making his decision on a moral basis, Larry.

KING: I don't know how he made it but he said two people.

MUSGRAVE: Why two, Mr. Mayor?

NEWSOM: I mean, you're fixated on, this and it's a classic argument I keep hearing it over and over.

MUSGRAVE: It's taking the argument to its logical conclusion, Mr. Mayor.

NEWSOM: The fact is, what you're advancing is discriminatory. And let's back up, why are we here tonight?

MUSGRAVE: I'm going through the deliberative legislative process, Mr. Mayor. You're defying the law.

NEWSOM: I'm hardly defying the law.

MUSGRAVE: You're making a mockery of the law.

NEWSOM: I think you're making a mockery of this country and our values of diversity, and bringing people together and uniting people. What you're doing is divisive, what you're doing is separating 30-plus million people from the full benefits afforded you and your wife.


KING: One at a time, please. Let me get another call here.

NEWSOM: I'll defer to the congresswoman.

KING: New Bern, North Carolina, hello.

CALLER: Thank you for taking my call. I appreciate you giving me an opportunity to ask a two-point question from Mayor Newsom. My first question is why, if you support equal rights for gays in regard to marriage, was an exception made for those same gay couples to allow to marry during extended hours which were given to them as an exception from what I suppose straight couples, let's say hundreds of straight couples wanted to get married this last Valentine's day, would that same exception would have been made for them? My second part of the question is who paid for all of the extra staff and overtime that was required to accommodate this situation? NEWSOM: Both good questions. The fact is we had over 200 volunteers. The city actually in a curious and unintended way has actually generated revenue from this effort. The marriage certificates, there's actually a fee that is encumbered to the couple. But let me back up on the point of extending hours for one class of marriage versus another. No, we extended the hours of operation for marriage for everybody, opposite gender couples as well as same-sex couples.

KING: We'll be back with more and more calls. Don't go away.


SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: The constitution has often been amended to expand and protect people's rights, never to take away or restrict their rights. By endorsing this shameful proposal, President Bush will go down in history as the first president to right to write bias back into the constitution.




KING: What do you make of the whole idea of gay marriage?

BILL MAHER, HOST, "HBO'S REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER": It shouldn't even be debatable. If gay people want to get married what do we care?

It's astounding to me that this president is going right up to the line and probably will cross it before the election of making this a constitutional amendment?

Yes, let's put that in the document, because you know the constitution, along with ending slavery and the bill of rights, doesn't really say enough about wedding, Larry. I think it should say more about weddings and by the way, birthdays, too.


KING: Atlanta, hello.

CALLER: My question is directed to everybody. Seems to me that the problem is the word marriage. What role does the state play dictating what a marriage is?

Why not just eliminate marriage from all our laws, call it a civil union, let the church deal with marriage, let the state deal with civil unions, and then everybody can have the rights equal to each other?

KING: Chad, is that what you favor?

ALLEN: Sure. KING: You consider marriage semantic?

ALLEN: To me the debate goes two way, you either take away the special rights and privileges that go along with a marriage for everybody or allow it for everybody. If we can get civil union under the law, than I can decide whether I'm allowed to marry in a church.

MUSGRAVE: What about incest?

What about incest?

What about group marriage.

What about polygamy.

KING: He's doing away from marriage. There's no marriage. The proposal is there is no marriage.

MUSGRAVE: The whole problem ...

KING: Civil union between two people.

MUSGRAVE: It's destroying the definition of marriage will do exactly that. That's why we need a federal marriage amendment, we need a federal definition to keep federal judges and state judges from forcing gay marriage and who knows what else on this country, and four judges in Massachusetts, arrogant in their black robes, should not be allowed to force gay marriage on this country.

KING: What do judges decide?

Don't they interpret the law, that's what judges do every day.

MUSGRAVE: Judges should not be legislating. That's the whole problem with this issue. We have three distinct branches of government. Judges should not be legislating. That is the role of the legislature. All those who have spoken tonight in favor of gay marriage again, go through the legislative deliberative process. Carry your own constitutional amendment. Be respectful of the law.

KING: What do you do, congresswoman, if the legislature passes a law that's unconstitutional, how is that resolved?

MUSGRAVE: Then, it is resolved in the courts.

KING: Where else do you go?

The Supreme Court is at last resort, right?

MUSGRAVE: Right now, in this country, we have marriage defined as a union between a man and a woman.

KING: Right.

MUSGRAVE: It's appropriate to have a constitutional amendment to make this very clear. That's what I'm doing, going through the legislative, deliberative process, so I'm respectful of the law.

KING: Washington D.C., hello.

CALLER: Hello. I'm -- this is a question for Congresswoman Musgrave and Pastor MacArthur. I'm a father of a gay son, and a grandfather. My son and his partner have been in a committed relationship for eight years. They have adopted two biracial high risk unwanted babies in the District of Colombia. They are a wonderful family.

What in the world is wrong with this family that should prevent the parents from being married?

Shouldn't they receive all the support that society can provide?

MACARTHUR: I'm not denying that on purely a social level those children will be better off being cared by somebody than being left in some foster situation or even worse. I would never deny that. Than I'm back to the bottom line which is that kind of union is sinful before God.

KING: But the acts they're doing are not sinful. They're raising two children who people didn't want. That's a wonderful thing.

MACARTHUR: That's the good part but the context in which that happens say context that advocates and flaunts the sin of homosexuality which is defined...

ALLEN: Even if that is the case, and listen, we'll all find out at the end of the day, can't we let God decide that?

MACARTHUR: It's in the word of God, it's unmistakably clear in the bible.

ALLEN: What are we so worried about?

What are we so scared about?

Why all this trouble to prevent me from accepting these privileges while I'm here if God will ultimately take care of it?

MACARTHUR: Let me answer that personally because the bible says in no uncertain terms that no hoe know sexual or adulterer will ever inherit the kingdom of God. The question is not open. It's a closed question.

KING: Suppose Chad doesn't want into the kingdom of heaven. His right.

MACARTHUR: I think he does. Don't you?

KING: What if he doesn't.

MACARTHUR: Absolutely and if that's the case, great, but however, will may be people that don't. And I don't want this country governed by the word of the bible, I don't want it. I want this country to be open to people who believe in all kinds of things.

MACARTHUR: The bible says that no sinner this is more than just we homosexuals, and then it says this, but such were some of you but you've been washed. You've been sanctified through faith in Jesus Christ. This is the great message of Christianity. We're all sinner, not just this but there is forgiveness and the kingdom of God is open to us.


KING: Mayor, before I take a break and get some more calls, Mayor Newsom, do you expect eventually to lose in court?

NEWSOM: I expect eventually to win in court. And as I've said, we've gone through three hearings, there's been no irreparable harm or damage that two judges...

KING: Do you expect to win on Friday?

NEWSOM: I don't know what's going to happen on Friday, but you know what, unlike the Congresswoman, I'm glad the courts are there and I think the judicial branch plays a significant role in advancing civil rights in this country.

KING: Let me get a break and come back and have our remaining moments and phone calls right after this.


DR. BOB JONES: The bible speaks of the homosexual in Romans, chapter one. And it says God gives up to a reprobate mind, a mind that can't think straight. And somehow I believe there's something about that particular sin that gets such a strange hold and abnormal hold on people that they can't think straight. God gives them up to that kind of thinking.

KING: Can you be a Christian homosexual?

JONES: Not a practicing homosexual any more than you can be a practicing adulterer or practicing thief or practicing liar.

KING: You put them in that category?




KING: We're back. Salt Lake City, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. Good to finally say hello to you.


CALLER: My question is for the mayor. Mayor, I keep hearing you say that, and I quote, "the constitution does not allow you to discriminate," unquote. I just want to ask you, where in the constitution does it allow to you define discrimination?

NEWSOM: Well, the constitution has an equal protection clause that I believe that I, in terms of my oath of office, have to bear true faith and allegiance towards. That's the oath of office I took some 47 days ago.

The process works this way -- I sent a directive to the county clerk, interpreted that directive, and started issuing same-sex marriage certificates. No sooner did we do that, the judicial system went to work and the process currently has allowed us and afforded us to be in three separate hearings with two different judges, and in each and every case, no irreparable harm was being done. Now we are going to the California Supreme Court this Friday to make the case.

But if what happened in Massachusetts, Hawaii, and Alaska bear any relevance in the context of our decision making in California, then as I say, eventually I think we'll be justified in this act, because I don't believe it's illegal. I think it's constitutionally appropriate.

KING: Los Angeles, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Mayor Newsom, I ask this question as a fairly disgruntled Democrat and a public high school teacher. Discrimination and civil rights being the true issue here, how could you influence or motivate or perhaps challenge John Edwards or John Kerry to show the powerful leadership and take a stand like you have on this issue?

NEWSOM: Look, I respect different points of view on this, but what I don't respect is what the president of the United States did today and the reason we're here tonight. He's decided to make this a political wedge issue, to placate the cultural conservatives in this country, in order to take away from his failed policies on jobs, health care and schools and his foreign policy.

That's what I'm particularly offended by. I'm less offended by Democrats that at least want to equate some status of some equality through civil unions. I don't need to educate the presidential candidates, and I'm not about to.

KING: Congresswoman, do you expect this amendment to pass? That is not an easy thing.

MUSGRAVE: Very arduous task. I do believe that the president getting behind it is very significant. I believe that the American people will speak to their elected representatives loud and clear on protection of marriage. It's a top priority now as indicated by our president, so I think that the chances are growing every day, and quite frankly, the antics by our mayor in San Francisco are causing the American people to look at this very carefully and decide that they want to come down on the definition of marriage, the very best environment for raising a child is in a committed marriage, where there's a mother and a father. That's the ideal, and that's the ideal that we should hold up in this country. KING: John MacArthur, you expect it to pass?

MACARTHUR: Yeah, I think it will pass. I think it will pass.

KING: Two-thirds of both houses?

MACARTHUR: I think it will pass. I really do. I also think that the mayor is in direct contrast to the president. The president has followed the law, and if it's going to be done it's going to be done through the law, through the process that's in place. The mayor has just literally violated the law, determined what the interpretation of the constitution should be for him, and acted on it.

KING: In fairness, the courts will determine if he violated the law.

NEWSOM: Exactly.

MACARTHUR: But he knew what the law says, because in California, there's a law defining marriage, and he went in direct opposition against that law. It's already been defined in the state.

KING: Chad, do you expect in your lifetime to be legally married, sanctioned by courts?

ALLEN: I do. I absolutely do. I think that this country has a great tradition of ultimately doing the right thing. Sometimes it takes us a little while, and it's only with acts of political courage like the mayor showed, and Mayor, I thank you very much for the courage you've shown us and leadership you've shown us.

KING: Mayor, did you realize the firestorm that would happen when you did this?

NEWSOM: You know, not going into it, but looking back, of course, because people just want what I have, and that's respect and dignity to live -- to be able to live together in a bond and loving relationship, to have the same privileges and obligations that I do as a married man, and that to me is affirming life, affirming humanity, and affirming family, and it's the kind of a world that I think we all want to live in eventually, and I hope that there's a day we look back with disbelief at the discussion we had tonight, as we look back with disbelief at the discussion they had during the '40s, '50s and '60s on the issues of interracial marriage.

KING: Congresswoman, we only have 20 seconds. When does Congress begin to take this up?

MUSGRAVE: Well, I hope soon.

KING: What's the process?

MUSGRAVE: I hope soon, and I just wonder if the mayor is going to have increased fees when group marriage takes place.


KING: Thank you all very much. Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco, John MacArthur of Grace Community Church, Chad Allen, the actor, producer, and activist. And Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave, the Republican from Colorado.

I'll be back in a couple of minutes to tell you about what's coming in nights ahead. Some exiting programming. Don't go away.


KING: Tomorrow night, Sarah Jessica Parker of "Sex and the City" right here live in the studio with your phone calls. Thursday night, the Democratic debate. I'll be the host. It's an hour and a half, it's co-sponsored by "The L.A. Times" and CNN.


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