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America's Fascination With Anna Nicole; Condom War in New York City; Fetal Abductions; No Children, No Marriage; Speed Dating for the Rich & Sexy

Aired February 16, 2007 - 20:00   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, everybody. Thank you all for joining us.
Out in the open tonight: America's newest guilty pleasure. See why everyone is fascinated by the death of Anna Nicole Smith.

Also, a shocking and gruesome form of kidnapping -- fetuses cut from their mother's wombs.

Plus: brightly wrapped condoms free for the taking. Wait until you hear what a Catholic cardinal calls that.

But we start with the country's favorite story. Don't bother denying it. We have seen the ratings. We have watched the magazines fly off the racks. We know millions of you are out there -- so, tonight, why everyone seems to be fascinated with the Anna Nicole Smith story.

We are bringing the reasons out in the open tonight, along with the very latest developments.

As Susan Candiotti reports, Smith's will has just been made public for the first time, and it has surprised quite a few people. People made the assumption that everything probably would be left to Dannielynn, but it gets a little more complicated than that.

And, hopefully, Susan Candiotti will be joining us to help us better understand some of the specifics of what we have just learned.

Susan, have we got you?


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A court document was the object of very close public scrutiny.


CANDIOTTI: A week after her death, the last will and testament of Anna Nicole Smith is just the latest chapter in a national drama -- reporters trying to answer this burning question: Who will get Anna Nicole's money, reportedly, almost a half-billion dollars, if she finally inherits part of her dead billionaire husband's estate? Her son would have been her beneficiary, but he died of a drug overdose last September. And the will was never changed. Her infant daughter would be next in line, but, for some unexplained reason, Smith's will says she has intentionally omitted to provide for future spouses and children.

Some legal experts say the estate is likely to be at the center of a messy all-out courtroom battle. Her partner and lawyer, Howard K. Stern, will be in the thick of it. He's the will's executor. That's just one of the mysteries surrounding Anna Nicole Smith's life and death.

There are plenty of others, including even the disposition of her remains.

SEIDLIN: Where do we place the body of Ms. Smith? Which location is it, Texas, or is it the Bahamas?

CANDIOTTI: Her estranged mother wants Anna Nicole buried in Texas. Or she might wind up in the Bahamas, where her son is buried. And there is the major question of her baby's paternity. Howard K. Stern says he's the father. But so do three other men, Anna Nicole's ex-boyfriend, her ex-bodyguard, and Zsa Zsa Gabor's current husband -- husband number eight, if you are counting.

This tavern owner in Fort Lauderdale says, it has become a major topic in his barroom.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have had seven or eight of my regular customers who want to file a class-action, claiming that they could be the father also. That's only a joke. But it's just intriguing.

CANDIOTTI: With all the attention, it's a struggle to find dignity in this death.

SEIDLIN: We're beginning to give her peace.

CANDIOTTI: The story touches universal themes: a glamorous life mysteriously cut short, an unclaimed baby, and, of course, an unclaimed fortune.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If all of us have been in a situation where we haven't lost someone yet, now everybody is looking at this and saying, wow, this is something I need to start talking about. This is something that I need to address.

CANDIOTTI: After today, a possible courtroom drama over millions and millions of dollars.

Susan Candiotti, CNN, Fort Lauderdale.


ZAHN: And, last night, I asked you to go to our Web site and vote on this question: Are you interested in the Anna Nicole Smith story? Well, 29 percent of you said yes. Seventy-one percent voted no.

Well, what's the disconnect between that and everyone's higher ratings?

To bring that out in the open tonight, I am joined by "Washington Post" media critic Howard Kurtz, the host of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES," and psychologist and "New York Daily News" columnist Belisa Vranich, and "Village Voice" columnist Michael Musto. His latest book is called "La Dolce Musto."

And it is a good life, isn't it?


And I actually interviewed Anna Nicole in the book.

ZAHN: You did?


ZAHN: Well, let's come back to that in a second.


ZAHN: Howard, let's talk about some of these ratings.

We had hoped to be able to share with our audience just some of what has happened in the television landscape. We know "20/20" did a special, and got one of the highest ratings in about a year. And the -- the -- even the nightly news on the networks devoted some three minutes to this story on a night that maybe less than 30 seconds was voted to Iraq.

So, who is feeding the beast here?

HOWARD KURTZ, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's television, cable television, and network morning shows, and, to a much lesser extent, network evening news.

I -- I thought I was going to have to break it to you, Paula, that all of America is not obsessed with the sad and strange woman's life and death, but that poll showed it. But, in the -- in the limited universe of cable television, you don't need everybody in America. You need 500,000 million viewers, an extra one million viewers.

And that gooses the ratings. And it's like crack cocaine. And, so, we keep showing those pictures again and again of her spilling out of her dress. I mean, television is treating this like the passing of Princess Di, when, in fact, Anna Nicole Smith was nothing like that.

ZAHN: Michael, let's take a look at some of these astonishing numbers, because I -- I -- I find some of them hard to believe, just how big the appetite for the story has been: DVD sales of her reality show up by some 180,000 percent. DVD went from 27,000th place to 18th place on -- "Playboy" magazine featuring Smith selling for about $1,000 on eBay.

Is this about adoration for a -- a B celebrity or the audience taking great delight in the misery of -- of really quite a tragic life?

MUSTO: You're saying she's not going to beat Helen Mirren for the Oscar in a write-in?

ZAHN: I'm not...



ZAHN: I -- I -- I don't think so.

MUSTO: You know what? She was a great pop culture celebrity. And America did celebrate her emergence from Texas, out of nowhere, as this kind of Lorelei Lee gold digger, with a lot of charm and innocence to go with her calculating nature.

So, we loved her success. And there is a dark part of human nature that -- not me, mind you, but that likes to see somebody, not die, but to not -- to -- to seem to have everything in the world and really not have everything, because it makes us feel better about our own banal lives: Oh, look, good thing we're not a huge superstar, because we wouldn't be happy.

ZAHN: But there is such a disconnect between what folks said in our survey about not wanting to see the story and -- and ratings going through the roofs for stories -- for shows that have done this basically since she has died.

Are people embarrassed to admit that this is a train wreck of a story and they are being sucked in by it?

BELISA VRANICH, PSYCHOLOGIST: It's -- it's visual junk food. And people do not want to admit that they actually like seeing it, that they find it hypnotic. So, we're wanting to watch it. And we feel glued to every day where new information comes up about her.

And we don't want to admit it. It is embarrassing that we actually are entertained by it.

ZAHN: And, Howard, you were saying, in many ways, cable, and the -- and the morning shows, even on the broadcast networks, have -- have stoked this. But what is to be learned from the enormous rating spikes we have seen in show?

KURTZ: Well, look, I think most people have a passing interest in this story. You described her as a B celebrity. I would describe her as a double-D celebrity. This is a woman who was famous because she got breast implants, posed for "Playboy," married a rich old guy, got involved in a fight for his money, and had an awful reality show on the E! Television Network. But I think that, while it's a story, and she is a pop culture figure, even if she was kind of a fringe figure, it is the hammering home of this day after day, hour after hour, now eight days after her death, that is turning off a segment of the audience as well.

I mean, today, for example, I think I saw as much coverage on cable television this afternoon of Anna Nicole's will as I did of the House voting against, in a nonbinding resolution, President Bush's Iraq policy.

ZAHN: Michael, there's nothing about that that surprises you, is there?

MUSTO: Well, what's happening in Iraq? I don't know.


MUSTO: I actually am not that surprised about this story's dominance over cable TV, because it is an amazing story.

If you plug into gossip -- and, by the way, if you don't, you are liar -- and I think the people who said they don't care do care and are secretly watching -- this is something you couldn't make up. I mean, the story gets better and sicker and more outrageous every day.

We're having a custody battle over a baby, as well as over a dead body. We're having seven people, at last count, claiming to be the father of the baby. There are so many warring factions at play here, each one with his or her own agenda, none of whom seem to care about Anna Nicole.

So, you can't even make up stuff. This is cable-ready. It's just made for TV.

ZAHN: Belisa, final thought...

VRANICH: Psychologically...

ZAHN: ... quickly...

VRANICH: ... we are riveted by it, because we feel ambivalent about her. Do we love her? Do we hate her? Are we envious? Do we find her pitiful?

So, psychologically, it keeps us there. This story is really -- it is going to have a little bit of longevity. As soon as, I mean, we get -- we keep getting new information. We are going to be stuck to our TVs with it.

ZAHN: Hey, Howard, for the record, as you get ready to do "RELIABLE SOURCES" over the weekend, we haven't done that much of it here.

KURTZ: We're going...

ZAHN: Just remember that, OK? KURTZ: I will keep that in mind.

ZAHN: Not on this show.


KURTZ: All right.

ZAHN: All right, Howard, thanks for joining us.

Belisa Vranich, Michael Musto, thank you.

MUSTO: Thank you.

ZAHN: Have a good weekend.

My next guest has been on the story and breaking news ever since Anna Nicole Smith died. She was a regular guest on his program for years. Larry King joins me next.

And, then, a little bit later on, free condoms, angry Catholics, and a safe-sex battle right out in the open.

We will be right back.


ZAHN: Out in the open tonight: America's fascination with the Anna Nicole Smith story.

The fight over her body, her baby, and her money is a gold mine for the media. As long as you keep buying magazines and tuning in, guess what you will be watching?


ZAHN (voice-over): It has all the ingredients of a perfect pop culture storm: a blonde celebrity, millions of dollars at stake, and mysterious death.

Since Anna Nicole Smith died in Florida last week, endless columns of print and hours of airtime have brought us every twist and every turn. In life, cameras followed the B-level celebrity wherever she went. But, in death, she became tabloid gold.

"The New York Post" featured Smith on its front page on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. And, in the two days after her death, Smith took up 37 percent of the conversation on cable and radio talk shows, compared to 14 percent on the Iraq war, and 9 percent on the presidential race, according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism.


LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": The death of Anna Nicole Smith, it's the number-one story around the world tonight. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: PEJ says, on the night she died, NBC's "Nightly News" devoted three minutes and seven seconds to Anna Nicole, 27 seconds to Iraq.

There is huge popular interest. A special edition of ABC's "20/20" focused on the death of Anna Nicole Smith gave the network its highest Friday night ratings in a year. Ratings for entertainment shows spiked as high as 40 percent.


DEBORAH NORVILLE, HOST, "INSIDE EDITION": Shocking news: Anna Nicole Smith is dead.


ZAHN: "Inside Edition" was up 26 percent.

There was even a bidding war over video tape of CPR being performed on Anna Nicole. And, when celebrity entertainment Web site posted photos of Anna Nicole's fridge containing methadone, they say traffic went up to nearly 10 million page views that day, an increase of 65 percent over its regular daily traffic.

Nearly two-thirds of people surveyed by the Pew Research Center say the coverage went overboard.


JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Is Anna Nicole Smith still dead, Wolf?



BLITZER: We are going to -- updating our viewers coming up shortly on...

CAFFERTY: Can't wait for that.


ZAHN: But, clearly, many people still are watching.


ZAHN: And watching and watching.

Larry King interviewed Anna Nicole Smith many times, has been following the drama over her death, and breaking news on the story from the get-go.

And Larry joins me now. I -- I guess you aren't at all surprised by the spikes that anyone is seeing who is running the story?

KING: No, not at all, Paula.

In fact, I don't -- I saw the poll you showed before, when you had the first panel on. I don't believe the poll. Seventy-one percent say they are not interested, because it's hip to say you are not interested. You look like classy to say: Oh, I'm not interested in that story. That's beneath me. I want to know more about other things.

That's baloney. You are interested in it, because you are interested in it. Now, why, we don't know why. Maybe it's because it has all the -- see that poll? I don't believe it.

ZAHN: No, I don't either.


ZAHN: It's sort of like when the Nielsen people come by, and they ask you what you watch on television. Of course, we don't watch any of the frivolous...

KING: Nobody -- nobody reads "Playboy."

ZAHN: Yes, exactly. Exactly.

KING: That's right. Nobody reads "Playboy."

But I think it -- it has -- first, she was -- she may have been a B personality, but she was a well-known B personality, a kind of Marilyn Monroe wannabe, a kind of tragic case of someone who really wanted to be someone -- the weight fluctuations, the drama with all the men, the older men.

Hey, another thing people forget, she won in the Supreme Court 9- 0. They overturned a court in -- in Texas and threw the case back. That case is, I think, still being heard. All this drama that continues around her, it is amazing.

Now, when does -- I don't know when it stops, and I don't know why it continues at the rate it does. Now frankly, it's -- I don't know how you feel. I'm not sure I like doing it all the time. It seems to move forward, but, for me, I would rather touch other bases.

However, the audience makes the demands, and all we do is sort of respond to that. I don't know what -- are we driving it, or is the audience driving us?

ZAHN: Well, that's a very good question, because Howard Kurtz, our -- our media expert, was suggesting we feed it. But, obviously, when there's the demand, it's, you know, which of the two came first? I think that's a hard one to argue.

KING: Yes. ZAHN: But, you know, we are covering it sparingly here as well, a little less than you're doing, but...


KING: If something -- if we feed -- now, it may be true that we feed it. But someone has to pick up the spoon and eat it.

ZAHN: Absolutely.

KING: And so, if we fed it, and they didn't eat it, we are going to stop feeding it.

Now, the question is, why do we keep eating it? And why, on the other hand, do we keep feeding it? And it's a chicken and the egg.

ZAHN: Yes, you know, you got to -- I would argue, though, that that court hearing yesterday on the disposition of her body was just absolutely fascinating, when you hear an attorney representing Anna Nicole Smith saying to her mother, you know, like heck you are taking this body back to Texas. You haven't even talked to this woman in almost a decade, and now, suddenly, you know, you -- you want control of all this?

It's just, you know, every day, there's a new development that I think people are fascinated by.

KING: And now you have this -- this will, and which we will discuss tonight. In fact, we are going to have the lawyer on who is going to handle the will -- the will, which gives everything to her son. Her son dies.

If this were fiction, no one buys it. This would close in one day in the movies. So, her son dies. So, the will now goes to the trustee, who is Mr. Stern. What's allowed for the daughter -- you know, that poor kid -- she's the only thing that matters now, the daughter -- is that she may be in court most of her life.

There may be court battles involving her, the estate, who's her father. It may go on and on and on.

ZAHN: Yes.

KING: And another thing that really ticks me off is all the people who say they are her father, right?

ZAHN: Oh, yes, they are just lined up.


KING: How do you know?


ZAHN: ... up to seven now? Exactly.

KING: All right. You can't know -- you can't...

ZAHN: We won't know until you have these definitive paternity tests.

KING: You can't know if you are the father if you are with someone who has slept around during the nine-month period. If she has, prior to that, you can say: I think I'm the father.

But Howard Stern doesn't know if he's the father, and Larry doesn't know if he's the father, and the prince doesn't know if he's the father. And the father may be someone unknown to all of them.

We have to have the DNA.

ZAHN: And I'm sure you will be covering some of that for us tonight.

Larry, thanks. We will see you at the top of the hour with much more on the Anna Nicole Smith story.

KING: Thank you.

ZAHN: Out in the open next: free condoms. And you won't believe where they are being given away. Are Catholic leaders right to be completely outraged?

Plus: A survivor's shocking story, it brings a horrifying crime against mothers out in the open.


ZAHN: Out in the open here in New York City tonight: 26 million free condoms. This week, the city started handing out them to promote safe sex and cut down on unwanted pregnancies. Health workers have been passing out the condoms on streets, subway stations, reportedly even to children.

And no surprise here, the Catholic Church is outraged. Church leaders here issued this statement saying: "The decision of the city of New York to distribute free condoms to the public, and minors as well, is tragic and misguided. The only certain way to protect against sexually transmitted diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, is abstinence before marriage and fidelity within marriage."

Well, the city sees the 72 -- $720,000 condom giveaway as money well spent in a community where AIDS had been the third-leading killer of people under the age of 65, and where HIV/AIDS had struck 95,000 people.

Let's find out where tonight's "Out in the Open" panel stands on all this. Keith Boykin was a Clinton White House aide who now hosts the BET show "My Two Cents," and has announced openly that he is gay. Also with us, conservative commentator, constitutional lawyer Mark Smith, as well as investigative journalist and author Diane Dimond.

Welcome, all. (CROSSTALK)


ZAHN: Let me read one more statement from Catholic church officials, just to better understand some of the outrage here tonight: "Our political leaders fail to protect the moral tone of our community when they encourage inappropriate sexual activity by blanketing our neighborhoods with condoms."

Let's take a look at how these things were handed out. Does it really discourage inappropriate sexual behavior?


I mean, handing out condoms to discourage unsafe sex, to me, Paula, is no different than handing out margaritas and martinis to discourage people from drinking.


SMITH: It's crazy. Why would you do this?

What should have happened on Valentine's Day, when all these New York City workers were handing out condoms, we should have taken their condoms away and given them shovels and told them to shovel the streets and shovel the sidewalks, which the city didn't do nearly good enough this time.

That's what the government is all about, not handing out condoms to discourage unsafe sex.


ZAHN: The city argues it's trying to save lives here.

DIMOND: Exactly.

I mean, what do I hear? The -- the sound of heads being buried in the sand here?


DIMOND: You can say that children should be -- have -- practice abstinence. And everyone should who isn't married or may have HIV. But the fact of the matter is, they don't. I mean, are we surprised the Catholic Church said what they said?

I think everybody needs to get their head out of the sand and realize -- the real problem here is that some of these condoms that -- we have some on the table right here, right now...



DIMOND: ... were passed out to some young people. Hello? Earth to everybody.

ZAHN: How would you feel...

DIMOND: Young people are having sex.


DIMOND: And they are contracting sexually transmitted diseases. And something should be done.


ZAHN: But, as a mother of a -- of a daughter...

DIMOND: Yes, I do...

ZAHN: ... and a teenager, you're -- you wouldn't be too crazy about city officials handing these out to her, would you?

DIMOND: You know, I think everything starts in the home. I really do.

And I think, if you have a child -- and I know you have children -- if you a child, and you have an open dialogue with them, if they suddenly get one of these in their hand at the subway station, do we really think that that's going to cause them to go out and suddenly have sex with somebody? Come on.


ZAHN: ... it will encourage them to.

DIMOND: Come on.


KEITH BOYKIN, HOST, "MY TWO CENTS": Well, that's exactly the point.

Just because someone picks up a condom is not going to encourage them to have sex. People are having sex already. And young people are having sex at younger and younger ages every day. They see it on TV. They see it among their friends. Don't have to get a condom from the city in order to be encouraged to have sex.

SMITH: But...


BOYKIN: People are going to do it anyway.


BOYKIN: The other thing is that there are 100,000 people in this city who are already HIV-positive. And it's important to do something about that. We can -- we can, as Diane said, bury our heads in the sand, as -- as I think you were suggesting, or we could something serious to really make a difference.

DIMOND: Or the snow.

BOYKIN: Or the snow.



ZAHN: Look at the numbers. Look at the numbers...

SMITH: Sure.

ZAHN: ... of the sexually transmitted diseases among young folks. And it's pretty shocking. Nine million infections each year occur from 15- to 24-year-olds.

SMITH: Sure.

ZAHN: That's -- that's half -- or nearly half of all the folks with sexually transmitted diseases.

SMITH: People do stupid things -- people do stupid things all the time. That doesn't mean government should be encouraging it.

People go out and rob banks. That doesn't mean we shouldn't lock our doors. To me, handing out -- when the government is handing out condom, it is essentially sanctioning sexual behavior. It is sanctioning, you know, undesirable sexual behavior. It's saying, it's OK if you use a condom.

But the fact is, condoms are not foolproof. The only way to avoid sexually-transmitted diseases is, like it says, the Catholic Church said, is through abstinence before marriage and...

DIMOND: Is just don't do it, right.

SMITH: Exactly. Condoms is a false...

DIMOND: But they're already doing it. And, if you give them these, and with the colorful little labels on them...


DIMOND: ... then it becomes cool to use these, and they don't get the disease, and they don't get the unwanted pregnancy. And, when they do get those things, we pay for it anyway.

SMITH: But also ask yourself about the morality of handing out condoms.

What about all the people who totally disapprove of this, and, yet it's their tax dollars that are going for this program? That is unacceptable.


BOYKIN: What about the public health -- what about the public health needs? This is -- the government is not in the business of -- of morality. It's in the business of public health.

ZAHN: All right.

I want you all to stay with me.



ZAHN: A lot more to argue about. Let's see which side you are on next time.

We want to take some of your, what's on your mind, and bring it out in the open tonight. Please e-mail us your thoughts to We are going to read them on the air and get our panelists' reactions a little bit later on.

Tonight, though, a brutal crime is out in the open -- kidnappers who steal unborn babies, cutting them out of their mother's wombs -- next, the amazing story of a woman who actually survived.


ZAHN: Welcome back.

In a courthouse near Pittsburgh this week a 39-year-old woman pleaded guilty to a rare and chilling crime that we are bringing "Out in the Open" tonight. Peggy Jo Conner admitted she attacked a pregnant woman in 2005 and using a box cutter, actually tried to cut out the baby.

The victim in that crime miraculously survived, and so did her baby. And that makes her just one of three women known who have lived through this kind of bizarre and brutal crime known as newborn kidnapping by Cesarean section.

One of the other survivors is Sarah Brady. Deborah Feyerick brings her story "Out in the Open" tonight.


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Sarah Brady is convinced her 2-year-old daughter Makaila Grace (ph) saved her life.

SARAH BRADY, AUTHOR, "SAVING GRACE": I shouldn't have survived. I shouldn't have. But I did. And I truly solely believe that because of her and my family I did.

FEYERICK: Sarah was nine months pregnant when she got a call from a stranger who said she also was about to have a baby and that the baby store where they had both registered had mistakenly sent Sarah's gift to her address.

BRADY: I was impressed with the fact that she'd gone out of her way to find me. You know, there's not too many people out there like that anymore that...

FEYERICK: But it wasn't kindness, it was a trap. When Sarah went to pick up the gift, the woman fell to the floor, claiming to be in labor.

BRADY: She looks up at me with this face. And I say a face full of demons. And you could just feel the evil pouring out of her. All the hairs on my arms stood up. I mean, I got chills.

FEYERICK: As Sarah tried to leave, the woman pulled out a knife and attacked her.

(on camera): You were desperately trying to get out of that door.


FEYERICK: And she pulls you back in?


FEYERICK: At that point, did you think, it's over, I'm never going to leave here?

BRADY: I did.

FEYERICK (voice over): Sarah, already a week past her due date, managed to grab a cordless phone and frantically call 911.

BRADY: Help!


BRADY: Help!

OPERATOR: What's the problem Ma'am?

BRADY: Help!

FEYERICK: In the chaos, she didn't realize the call had gone through.

BRADY: I honestly thought I'm going to lay here and die. And at that point, I just broke. I broke inside.

Something -- you know, I don't want to call it adrenaline. It was something stronger that was more powerful. You know, my soul overtook my physical and said, Sarah, you have to get up and fight for you and your child. You have to protect this child, you have to bring her into this world. And that's when I grabbed a hold of the blade and wouldn't let go.

FEYERICK (on camera): These are Sarah's wounds?

CHIEF STEVEN HENSLEY, FORT MITCHELL POLICE DEPT., KENTUCKY: And these are Sarah's wounds that would be consistent with that of defense wounds from someone that was fighting off an attacker.

FEYERICK (voice over): Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, police chief Steven Hensley says the attacker, 22-year-old nanny Katie Smith (ph), had faked her pregnancy. Even fooling her own family.

HENSLEY: She had told the story all the way up to the line where she had to produce a baby or obviously family members were going to know that the story was fictitious from the onset.

FEYERICK: Police say evidence, including surgical gloves and an umbilical clip, indicates that the emotionally disturbed woman planned to kill Sarah Brady and steal her baby right from the womb. This type of crime is so rare, only 10 in the past 15 years, that pregnant women like Sarah have no suspicion that it might happen.

Somehow during the fight, it was Sarah who killed Katie (ph), fatally stabbing her in self-defense.

(on camera): Do you still see Katie's face?

BRADY: All the time. All the time. Every day.

FEYERICK (voice over): Sarah is still haunted by the attack.

BRADY: But I got a second chance at life, and I was able to bring my daughter into this world.

FEYERICK: Deborah Feyerick, CNN, Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky.


ZAHN: What an amazing story.

If you want to join in on our conversation tonight, any of the stories we've talked about, please join us. Send us an e-mail to Our panel is reading them now. See them hard at work? And they will answer them a little bit later on.

"Out in the Open" next, a controversial, some say outrageous, proposal to nullify marriages if couples don't have children within three years. What's that all about? We'll debate it.


ZAHN: "Out in the Open" now, a proposed law that's generating everything from confusion to hate mail filled with slurs. Get this, the law would give newlyweds and childless couples in Washington State three years to have a baby or have their marriages declared null and void.

So, who would come up with an idea like that and why? We asked Ted Rowlands to find out. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GREGORY GADOW, INITIATIVE'S SPONSOR: Hi. Are you a registered Washington voter?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, but I'm going to class.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Gregory Gatto is collecting signatures in Seattle to help get Initiative 957 on the November ballot.

GADOW: This is the measure that would make procreation a requirement for marriage in the state.

ROWLANDS: That's right, 957 if passed by voters in the state of Washington, would make procreation a requirement for married couples.

GADOW: Have you heard of Initiative 957?


ROWLANDS: Under 957, couples would have three years after getting married to have at least one child. And newlyweds would have to prove that they can produce children before they could get a marriage certificate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is what democracy looks like.

GADOW: Exactly.

CYNTHIA ADAMS, MARRIED WITHOUT CHILDREN: I don't think that your state can dictate whether you have children or not.

ROWLANDS: Cynthia and Dale Adams have been married for more than seven years. They've been trying, but they don't have any children. If 957 is ever voted into law, their marriage and thousands of others would be annulled.

DALE ADAMS, MARRIED WITHOUT CHILDREN: The way it's worded, it is an attack. It is an attack on marriage and it is an attack on our marriage, basically, because you know, we are a man and a woman, and, you know, we haven't had children yet. But, in the big picture, you know, we don't feel personally attacked.

ROWLANDS: That's because in the big picture, the idea that married couples have to have children is obviously absurd.

GADOW: It is very absurd. But then the ruling itself is absurd.

ROWLANDS: The ruling Gregory's talking about is a 2006 state Supreme Court ruling that said in part, "...procreation between opposite sex individuals within the framework of marriage was a legitimate government interest..."

GADOW: They used the right-wing rhetoric that has been used for the last 10 years as the -- really the only legal excuse for denying same-sex couples equal marriage.

ROWLANDS: Gregory says the Washington Supreme Court is essentially saying gays shouldn't get married because they can't have children. His plan is to get his initiative limiting marriage to couples with kids on the ballot to highlight what he and his friends think is flawed logic by their Supreme Court.

GADOW: This is what you have been saying to us all along. Well, here it is right back at you.

KRISTEN WAGGONER, ATTORNEY: I think it's a joke. I think that it's a publicity stunt.

ROWLANDS: Kristen Waggoner is an attorney who worked on that Washington Supreme Court case defending marriage as a union between a man and a woman. She thinks Gregory and his supporters are the ones using flawed logic.

WAGGONER: Well, I think it demonstrates they don't value marriage. They don't understand its purpose. They don't value motherhood and fatherhood, and I think it's not a very funny joke.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right. I knew that there was like a funny little twist to it.

GADOW: Right. Yes, it takes a while to sink in.

ROWLANDS: Gregory says reaction has been mixed. He's getting support from people on the street, but mainstream gay organizations are not endorsing the initiative.

GADOW: Make procreation a requirement for a marriage in the state.

ROWLANDS: Supporters of Initiative 957 still have a lot of work ahead. They need nearly 250,000 valid signatures by July to get it on the November ballot, which means Gregory and his friends still have a lot of explaining to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just wanted to make sure I know exactly what I was signing.


ROWLANDS: Ted Rowlands, CNN, Seattle.


ZAHN: And Gary Gadow and his friends have until July 6th to collect enough signatures. And if they do the initiative then goes on the ballot coming up this November.

Let's see what tonight's "Out in the Open" panel has to say about this.

With us once again, BET host and former Clinton White House aide Keith Boykin; conservative commentator and constitutional lawyer, Mark Smith; and investigative journalist and author Diane Dimond.

Welcome back.

OK, Keith, you are gay. Would you sign this petition?

BOYKIN: You know, I was thinking about this earlier today. I'm not sure.

I think I might sign the petition actually. But I would never vote for it, because I would not want to take away anyone's right.

ZAHN: You would sign the petition because it's a parody of what the Supreme Court decided and...

BOYKIN: No, because actually it sparks a conversation. You know, I know the gay organizations are not behind it and the gay community is not necessarily behind it either, but the point behind this initiative is to get people talking about the hypocrisy about the idea that marriage is only about children.

Of course marriage is not only about children. But the Washington State court, like so many other courts, has used that argument to justify anti-gay discriminations. And it's time for people to understand that you don't have to be -- you don't have to have children in order to get married.

ZAHN: Do you see this as anti-gay discrimination in any form?

SMITH: This is a huge problem right now for what they are doing.

First of all, they are getting a short-term benefit because they get the media so that shows like this are talking about the issue, which is interesting and helpful to the gay rights cause. On the other hand, in the long term, what they've done is they've essentially irritated a group of people that might not -- might not even care about the gay rights issue, people who are married without kids, and now they feel as if they are being attacked by the gay rights initiatives.

And that, ultimately, I think, is going to be politically detrimental to the gay rights movement in America.

ZAHN: Do you think this is a joke that's gone too far?

DIMOND: I think it's political theater. And I think it is, the gay community saying, you don't like my idea of what marriage is? Well I don't like yours either. I think it's kindergarten time. You know, what are we 12 years old here?

BOYKIN: How would you say it's the gay community? This is one person who is doing this.

DIMOND: Well, it's a small group, right.

BOYKIN: It's a small group of people led by this guy. It's not an organization that's doing it, it's not the gay community in any way.

But I do this it is sort of political theater, but it's powerful political theater in the same way when Charlie Rangel introduced the reintroduction of the draft against the Iraq war. The whole point wasn't because he wanted people to go to -- to serve in Iraq. He wanted to illustrate the problem. And I think this is what this initiative does.

DIMOND: But there has to be a better way, Paula. You know, if they put this much energy and action into actually getting together with smart lawyers and crafting something with teeth in it for same- sex marriage and putting it on the ballot, and letting the people of Washington State vote on it instead of having the Supreme Court decide it, I think everybody would be further ahead.

ZAHN: Where does the court -- where does the state get off in defining for Americans what constitutes a family?

SMITH: Oh, I don't think it's a question about -- I mean, from day one, marriage has been one man and one woman. Everything else is oxymoronic. For example...

ZAHN: But isn't a marriage without children? What about infertile couples?

SMITH: Oh, of course. Of course, marriage is one man versus one woman. That's been the long-time definition of what is a marriage. Gay marriage is oxymoronic. It's like vegetarian hamburgers and French deodorant.

BOYKIN: No, no. Wait a minute.

SMITH: And that's the point -- and also, I want to point out why this referendum is so harmful to the gay rights movement, because it's very important for the gay rights movement to try to give credibility to their arguments.

And this sort of absurdity actually detracts from it. And since I think the burden is on the gay marriage proponents to argue that it's good for society to have it, this I think actually takes away from it because it demeans the movement and discredits the movement.

BOYKIN: I could not disagree with you more. I could not disagree with you more.

First of all, you don't care about the movement. So don't be disingenuous in pretending that you do.

Secondly, the reason why this was introduced is because people like you have been trying to take away rights of people like me. They said the same thing about black people, that blacks -- listen to me -- blacks and whites could not get married before 1967, when the Supreme Court intervened.

And the reason why they couldn't is because someone said that's the way marriage was defined. It was supposed to be between one group and one race.

Now we're doing the same thing against gay people. Let's not repeat the same mistakes of the past. No one should have to get the right of the state in order to get -- simply to get married. I should not have to get a permission slip from the government to get married.

SMITH: Keith, you have the right to get married right now. You have the right to get married, as do I. Keep that in mind. We both have the right to get married.

BOYKIN: You know that's not true.

SMITH: That is absolutely -- and also...


BOYKIN: I've been involved in a relationship for five years -- I've been involved in a relationship for five years. I do not have the same rights that you do. If I go to the hospital and I get sick, my partner does not have the right to come and see me.

Tell me that's not unfair. And it's important we have this conversation today because people don't -- people don't know that and they need to know that.

SMITH: People have committed relationships without marriage every day. That's what powers of attorney are and that's what people do all across...


ZAHN: All right. I've got to cut you both off there.

Plenty more debate. Please stay with us. Much more to talk about.

If you want to be part of the conversation -- ooh, it's been a long week, hasn't it -- send us an e-mail to Our panelists will read it and give their reaction a little bit later on.

Now I'm going to move on and take a quick "BizBreak" right now.


ZAHN: Coming up next "Out in the Open," a dating service you are not going to believe. Only the rich and beautiful need apply. Is that discrimination against the poor and plain?

And it isn't too late to send us an e-mail. Our panel's ready for you.

Aren't you? Ready to go?

SMITH: Ready to go.

ZAHN: You read a bunch of them. Fire then away at

We'll be right back.


ZAHN: Another story "Out in the Open" tonight, the newest frontier in the world of speed dating. But to qualify, you need to be one of two things: sexy or rich. Now Some people are outraged by this, calling it blatant discrimination. But organizers just say it's just cutting to the chase.

Here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Think of it as speed dating on steroids. Only rich men and hot women need apply.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I'm not embarrassed at all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I promise you that I'm not embarrassed.

MOOS: It sort of makes the dating game seem quaint.

Only 40 of the more than 900 women who applied for natural selection speed dating made the cut based totally on their photos.

JANIS SPINDEL, SERIOUS MATCHMAKING, INC.: Pretty blonde lawyer, big eyes, pretty face, great hair, pretty skin. In.

MOOS: And to get in, the men had to submit financial data to prove they're loaded.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whoa, big papa, $113 million.

MOOS: The cream of the dating crop, approximately 40 men and 40 women, ended up in a Manhattan club, speed dating, three minutes per partner.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ladies, it's time to rotate to the next highest table.

MOOS: The men paid $500 for this night out. The women $50. Organizers dismissed hate mail they've gotten from feminists and anti- elitists.

JEREMY ABELSON, POCKETCHANGENYC.COM: We are giving -- I feel like Moses. We're giving people what they want.

MOOS (voice over): And what is it they want, Moses?

ABELSON: Women want successful men. Men want beautiful women.

MOOS: Well, I would assume you would have zero trouble meeting men. ANA NACVALOVAITE, NATURAL SELECTION SPEED DATER: I have no trouble meeting men. I have trouble meeting quality men.

MOOS (voice over): Hannah is a human rights lawyer.

(on camera): Where are our human rights?

We're headed downstairs, while we're being sequestered while the event is under way.

(voice over): TV crews could only shoot a few minutes of the speed dating. Few of these elite speed daters wanted their faces shown. Those with blue dots were off limits to the press.

(on camera): Are you after a rich guy?

SAILA SMITH, NATURAL SELECTION SPEED DATER: No. Am I after a rich guy? A good, smart, intelligent, successful...

MOOS: With a net worth of over $1 million?

SMITH: Yes. What's wrong with that?

MOOS (voice over): Midway through the event.

(on camera): So how is this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It depends on the person.

MOOS: No, I mean...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Five seconds, you know.

VEKRUM KAUSHIK, SPEED DATER FRIEND OF ORGANIZER: Interesting is the best way to describe it.

MOOS: Any nice girls?


MOOS: You're straight, right?


MOOS (voice over): To placate detractors, organizers have another speed dating event in the works.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sugar mamas and boy toys.

MOOS: Women 45 and older worth $4 million speed dating poor guys 28 and under.

It's too soon to tell if true love blossomed here.

(on camera): Have you two met?



SINGH: Who knows. This might be the match made in heaven.

MOOS: They did meet for a nice follow-up date.

SMITH: Men are visual. Let's just face it.

MOOS (voice over): And I see you've dressed for the occasion.

SMITH: Why thank you.

MOOS (voice over): Deep cleavage, deep pockets, nothing shallow about that.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


ZAHN: And as you might guess, there's no word yet on when the match-making session for rich women and poor men will take place.

Your e-mails are coming in. We're going to read what you think about some of the stories we brought "Out in the Open" tonight and get our panel's reactions, next.


ZAHN: Our "Out in the Open" panel has been combing through your e-mails.

With me once again, Keith Boykin, Mark Smith, Diane Dimond.

Let's start with what Greg writes.

"Please, will you stop covering the Anna Nicole Smith story. She did not do anything with her life and the press is the only one who is pushing the story. I'm on the way to Iraq and I think the press is way off on what they cover. My dog has done more than she has."

Now, contrast with what Pat writes from Illinois. "I've been getting more and more depressed and frustrated about the Iraq and Afghanistan coverage that has been on 24/7 for so long. This (Anna Nicole Saga) is entertaining and fascinating on a different level. It's nice to laugh out loud for a change."

There you have it.

DIMOND: That's why there's chocolate and there's vanilla.

ZAHN: That's right.

DIMOND: There are stories for everybody, and if you don't want to watch Anna Nicole, use your clicker. SMITH: But you have to ask Greg. It's like, Greg, you know, after all, the media covers people that don't do things all the time. We cover politicians, for example. What do they ever do?

But you know, it's interesting that Pat also makes a good point. Except, it's OK to cover Anna Nicole Smith, but too much of a good thing is too much. And I think that's where we are with the Anna Nicole Smith story.

BOYKIN: I actually agree.

ZAHN: Well, this is the first time you two have agreed all night on anything.


BOYKIN: The first time tonight. I think I was interested when I first heard about it, but now I'm over the story.

DIMOND: I just want to know who the father is.

ZAHN: Well, I want to know that, too, and I think this whole will thing is kind of interesting.

But you make a good point about the excessive coverage.

Let's move on to some of the e-mails that were reacting to the story about the Catholic Church opposing the distribution of free condoms in New York.

And Maria from Minnesota writes this, "I am a 29-year-old HIV positive woman. I wish that someone had handed me a condom and reminded me that HIV was something that I had to think about every time I had intercourse. Let's face facts and see that young people are not just holding hands."

DIMOND: See, that's what I said.

ZAHN: She's mad at you, Mark, because you're the one that thinks the city is irresponsible when the city says all it's trying to do is save lives and bring down healthcare costs.

SMITH: People engage in irresponsible conduct all the time, whether it be unprotected sex, whether it be using illegal drugs, whether it be becoming alcoholics. And the bottom line is governments should not be encouraging this. They should not be handing out condoms encouraging people to engage in illicit sex any more than it should be handing out margaritas and martinis to try to discourage drinking. You should not as a government be encouraging bad behavior.

BOYKIN: And once again, you missed the point. They are encouraging good behavior here.

DIMOND: Exactly.

BOYKIN: They are encouraging people to have safe sex. People are going to have sex. All of us here today got here because somebody had sex.

ZAHN: Really?


ZAHN: I didn't know that.

BOYKIN: The truth is, we want people to have protected sex. So once we know they're going to do it, let's give them the tools and the information to do the right thing.

DIMOND: And we also have to protect the public health. You know? And with a 29-year-old woman, if she had had this, she might not have gotten AIDS. That's a powerful statement.

SMITH: But remember, condoms create a false confidence because you can get STDs even if you use a condom.

DIMOND: Oh, yes, like 99 percent.

BOYKIN: That's...

SMITH: No, it's not insignificant. It's not insignificant.


BOYKIN: All the studies show...

SMITH: The right message is abstinence and fidelity in marriages. If you want to avoid AIDS, if you want to avoid STDs...

DIMOND: Ain't going to happen.

SMITH: ... that's the right answer. And people need to know that. If they want to assume risk, they can. But the government should not be encouraging improper conduct with the use of condoms.

ZAHN: You get the last word tonight, Keith.

BOYKIN: You are wrong, and condoms are highly effective and people should use them.

DIMOND: I'm with him.

ZAHN: You are?



OK. Keith Boykin, Mark Smith, Diane Dimond, great to have you with us all night long.

DIMOND: Thanks, Paula.

ZAHN: Appreciate your dropping by. That wraps it up for all of us here tonight. Thanks so much for being with us. We hope you all have a great weekend.

We will be back same time, same place Monday night. Until then, have a great -- I'm going to let you guys close out this show. It's really gone now. Slowly, my voice has been leaving me.

Have a really nice weekend.


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