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Indiana's Religious Freedom Law Sparks Controversy; Addressing Mental Health in Aviation. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired March 30, 2015 - 08:30   ET


FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST, CNN'S "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS": Of course, you have to know how to work with technology, because all work today -- I mean, we know this -- all work today is working with technology.

[08:30:00] But don't feel like, you know, you can't follow your passion and study history or design or whatever it is because if you do it and you do it well, you still have to work hard, you still have to understand how to, you know, work with others, still have to get lucky. But that's all true even if you're an engineer.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Generally following your passion is a good rule of thumb.

PEREIRA: I believe it (ph).

CAMEROTA: Fareed, thanks -- thanks so much for coming in and telling us about it.

ZAKARIA: A pleasure.

PEREIRA: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Good to see you.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Speaking of passion, mounting backlash this morning over Indiana's new religious freedom law. Here's the question. It's percolating in our efforts as a people to become a more perfect union. Are these emerging laws about allowing exercising of faith or allowing the denial of exercise of who someone is?


PEREIRA: All right, here we go with the five things you need to know for your new day.

At number one, chilling new details leaked to the public in the crash of Flight 9525. The pilot heard yelling to the co-pilot to let him back into the cockpit as Andreas Lubitz ignores calls from air traffic controllers.

Iranians declaring they are not willing to ship atomic fuel out of their country despite demands from the P5 Plus One. Major sticking points on the length of a nuclear deal and sanctions still remain stumbling points.

[08:35:05] Air strikes continue to pound Houthi rebel targets as the crisis in Yemen intensifies. An Arab League ground incursion could happen within days.

Two bodies now have been recovered from the ruble of Thursday's building explosion in New York City. Officials believe the remains are those of two men reported missing after the blast.

A huge promotion for Trevor Noah. "The Daily Show" contributor and South African comedian will be named the replacement for Jon Stewart according to "The New York Times." An official announcement is expected sometime today.

For more on the five things to know, be sure to visit -- for the very latest.

Alisyn, over to you.

CAMEROTA: OK, Michaela.

There's controversy surrounding that new Indiana law. Supporters say it protects religious freedom. Opponents say it discriminates against gays. What do our political pundits say? Stay tuned, they'll be next.



GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, "GOOD MORNING AMERICA" ANCHOR: Yes or no, should it be illegal to discriminate against gays and lesbians?

GOV. MIKE PENCE (R), INDIANA: George, you're following the mantra of the last week online and you're trying to make this issue about something else. What I am for is protecting, at the highest standards in our courts, the religious liberty of Hoosiers.


[08:40:12] CUOMO: And what George Stephanopoulos is for is asking a simple question and demanding that it gets answered, but he was disappointed on that one. So, what's the question? Are we moving toward being a country of religious inclusion or exclusion? Witness Indiana Governor Mike Pence, the latest to pass a religious freedom law. He's not the only one. There's about 20 states that have these. And are they really just thinly disguised efforts to oppress gays?

CAMEROTA: Let's ask our guests, CNN political analyst and editor in chief of "The Daily Beast," John Avlon, and CNN political commentator and Republican consultant Margaret Hoover. Margaret is the president of the American Unity Political Action Committee, which lobbies for changes to the law which ultimately were voted down.

Margaret, you have a great perspective on all of this.


CAMEROTA: OK, tell us, what's going on in Indiana?

CUOMO: Bring it on.

HOOVER: Well, one of the things that Mike Pence doesn't probably know and what conservatives don't know is that the genesis of these laws actually started in the 1990s to protect north -- Native American Indian tribes to be able to use payoti (ph). And it was a case by the ACLU that went all the way to the Supreme Court. Initially these -- all these religious freedom restoration acts that were passed in the '90s after the federal law was passed were to protect religious minorities like Native Americans Indian tribes, the Amish. It was never intended to protect major corporations, major, you know, stock holding entities or, you know, it says it's for an individual, but it's actually now -- like the catholic church is a religious minority now and anybody -- it's so broad that anybody can claim these exemptions. And it's very heightened scrutiny. So it puts a lot of power in the hands of judges to decide on their own who is going to have a religious freedom claim and who isn't.

CUOMO: You're too bold on this issue, so I must push you back by making it a little bit more narrow politically. Where are your people? They passed this law. Not one of them will come out. We went after two dozen lawmakers who were involved in this. They don't want to come out and defend it. What is that about?

HOOVER: There are actually -- there's a very robust coalition of Republicans in Indiana who have been working for three years to push back actually an amendment to their constitution to define marriage between a man and a woman. Because that effort failed, this, I think, is seen as a consolation prize. They're able to pass this Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which still allows, frankly -- it -- what -- what they view -- social conservatives view this as a way of inoculating against what many people view as the inevitable decision in June that the Supreme Court will make that will allow marriage to pass in the 13 states that don't have marriage legally now.

JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Which is a mistake to assume that's a fait accompli. But you do get a sense of the bunker mentality that's going on right now among social conservatives. And for legislators, what you just asked, it's really the tyranny of dog whistle politics, right? These politicians are terrified to vote against this because they don't want to be seen and venerable in a primary challenge. People who say they aren't Christian enough and aren't conservative enough. St the same time they don't want to say they're in favor of bigotry. So what you get is that incredibly awkward stonewalling by Mike Pence yesterday where he cannot answer a simple question whether or not the state of Indiana should be able to discriminate against gays and lesbians. This puts him in the same position as George Wallace was a generation ago by saying that, you know what, I'm not in favor of segregation. I never have been. This is about state's rights and the Constitution. So you elevate the ugly to try to bring politically pure (ph) and it never, ever works

CAMEROTA: In case people missed it, we can show that incredibly tough moment where George Stephanopoulos, six times, asks him, yes or no, yes or no, does it discriminate? Here is that moment.

Stand by.

CUOMO: I'll be --


PENCE: I will not push for that. That's --that's not on my agenda and that's not been -- that's not been an objective of the people of the state of Indiana. And it doesn't have anything to do --

STEPHANOPOULOS: So this is a yes or no question. Is Advance America right when they say a florist in Indiana can now refuse to serve a gay couple without fear of punishment?

PENCE: Well, let me explain to you, the purpose of this bill is to empower and has been for more than 20 years, George, this is not speculative. This is not about discrimination. This is about empowering people to confront government overreach, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But -- but let me try to pin you -- let me try to pin you down here, though, on it because your supporters say it would. And so, yes or no, if a florist in Indiana refuses to serve a gay couple at their wedding, is that legal now in Indiana?

PENCE: George, this is -- this is where this debate has gone, with misinformation and, frankly --

STEPHANOPOULOS: It's just a question, sir, yes or no?

PENCE: So -- well -- well, there's been shameless rhetoric about my state and about this law and about its intention all over the Internet.


CUOMO: The first part of the byte, by the way, was Governor Mike Pence saying that he does not intend to extend protections to the LGBT community as a class --


CUOMO: Which would make this law useless.

HOOVER: And so two amendments were offered during this process. One amendment was an amendment that explicate -- that said, fine, pass the religious freedom restoration act but balance it with civil rights. Don't have it apply to civil rights laws. They shot that one down. The second one said, fine then, why don't you pass the sense of the senators' sense of the state it is our intent of the state to eliminate discrimination.

[08:45:00] They refused to do that as well. So for Mike Pence to come out and say -- for Mike Pence to come out and say this has nothing to do with LBGT discrimination is completely insensible (ph).


CAMEROTA: So is this a rocky road politically for Governor Pence?

AVLON: Yes, certainly if he has political ambitions, which had been long-rumored. But this is really -- whenever there's this kind of pandering to the outer reaches of politics, it ends up having unintended consequences that derail national ambitions. Pence's blowback is going to be significant. That was an ugly, awkward interview yesterday he had. That is embarrassing, because at the end of the day, he's got nowhere to go.

CUOMO: And it wasn't George's fault. It wasn't a gotcha interview. He asked him a simple, straight question.

HOOVER: You can balance religious freedom with protections against (sic) minorities, including LGBT people. The State of Texas has done it; the State of Missouri has done it. There are models for doing it. Indiana should just take a page out of their book. This is not difficult.

CAMEROTA: All right, we're watching all of this play out on our social media pages and we'd love to have you weigh in. Let us know what you think. You can tweet us @newday or go to

John, Margaret, thanks so much.

PEREIRA: And back to our top story, mental illness now the focus after the deliberate downing of Flight 9525. The copilot reportedly hid his history of depression. So what can be done to keep pilots out of the cockpit if they're ruled unfit to fly?


PEREIRA: Mental health is at the forefront as investigators piece together what exactly led the copilot of Flight 9525 to fly his plane into a mountainside.

[8:50:03] Given the stigma around mental health, many are asking how tragedies can be prevented if people aren't comfortable addressing the issues.

Joining us is Carlos Porges. He's a clinical neuropsychologist and a commercial pilot. It gives you a very interesting perspective on this. Mr Porges, thanks so much for joining us this morning. I want to talk to you from the perspective as a pilot. This is a stressful job. We understand that these pilots are also humans. How do we mitigate the risk when mental health comes into play?

CARLOS PORGES, CLINICAL NEUROPSYCHOLOGIST & COMMERCIAL PILOT: Absolutely, and thank you for having me. Great question. The idea here is this is a human practice problem, not a technical problem, and we have to focus on the persons in the system, not on the machines in the system. Now mitigating the risk of your pilot developing a psychiatric condition would involve two ways of doing this -- the right way and the wrong way. PEREIRA: And what's the right way?

PORGES: The right way is a program that we have developed here in the United States whereby a pilot can tell his airline I need help. The airline say, great. I'll hold your job; you go get help. The FAA says, fantastic, these are the doctors that will do this protocol for treatment. People like myself who do that and verify that it works and they're stable. And once we do that, the person goes back to work.

And what we have done here is preventing a pilot from going underground and either becoming increasingly despondent and depressed, or getting unapproved treatments of which we don't know the efficacy of side effect profiles. So everybody wins, but the key here is that this was a team effort.

PEREIRA: Right. Now, Carlos, let me stop you there. Because my first issue with that is you're assuming that a person that has a problem is going to admit they have a problem. We know how we humans are. It often is the last person -- the person who has the problem is the last one willing to admit it.

PORGES: I would agree with you completely, and that is one of the risks that we have to mitigate. But I would put it to you that there is less of a risk if we offer the person a way to deal with the problem without going underground. And this program is replicated on a couple of other previous programs that have had fantastic success, in which pilots were (INAUDIBLE) by and large, a very professional, very ethical, very safety-oriented professional group, will do the right thing and come out and get the help they need. But you have to offer a way to care for them, to support for them.

PEREIRA: OK, so my next question is for you then, and maybe it's because I fly and we need some comfort, was this an outlier? Was this a rare circumstance? How rampant are these issues of mental health illnesses or disorders within the airline pilot community?

PORGES: This is an outlier, no doubt. But one of them is too many. Since 1997, we had five pilot suicide by aircraft accident events. The most recent one, the most concerning one, was in Mozambique and it was almost exactly the same as this one. But, right now, there are thousands of airliners flying in the world, piloted by professional crews doing an outstanding job and making this the safest transportation method there is. So it is an outlier event. One is too many. But it has happened; it probably will happen again unless we have to do something. and the way to address it is by providing a way out for people who feel distressed.

PEREIRA: Final question for you. Here's another challenge, is that we may be talking about a system here in the United States. But we very well know American flyers will go overseas. We're talking about a global airline industry. How do we make changes globally if there isn't the same kind of recognition in other countries of mental health challenges?

PORGES: That is a very good question and one that is a concern to me, because we have to have a culture shift in the industry and in many -- the issues (ph) of global ministry. And around the globe we have to try to pry away the stigma associated with mental disease, and the reality that people get sick. Pilots are people. Pilots will get sick. That this is the reality and we have to deal with it in an upfront, proactive manner. But you're right. It is a concern and it has to be addressed at a global level.

PEREIRA: Carlos Porges, thanks so much for joining us with your perspective today.

PORGES: My pleasure, thank you for having me.


CUOMO: All right, Mick, you are the good stuff when you do this. We have this amazing video of an ordinary guy saving a little boy in a split second. There he is. We're going to show you what happens. And it gets even better. Stay with us.


CUOMO: All right, time for the Good Stuff. Today's edition, police wanted a man in Federal Way, Washington -- not to arrest him, to thank him. Here's why. Take a look at this. He's coming to the light with a little 4-year-old, I want to do dangerous things. I want to do dangerous things. This man pops out of his car, runs around, that's it, and he stops the kid before he runs in 4-year-old fashion out into traffic.


COMMANDER CASEY JONES, FEDERAL WAY POLICE: So we're trying to figure out who this guy is. He likely saved this kid's life. We need to thank him.


CUOMO: The cops came, the guy left. So police put the surveillance video up online because they wanted to thank him but they couldn't find the guy. Some police work. Turns out the local affiliate did. And like many heroes, Sean Deeds, perfect name, had this to say about it.


SEAN DEEDS, "WANTED" FOR SAVING CHILD'S LIFE: I don't feel like I did anything special. I was just really thankful to be there at the right time.


PEREIRA: You know what I also noticed he did, he didn't put his hands on the kid.

CUOMO: He'd get sued. PEREIRA: So that -- right, so that nobody would think when you see an adult male with a child, he just sort of kind of did one of these, like a goalie, to sort of keep the kid from going forward, which is really quick thinking on his part.

CAMEROTA: How could he have had the presence of mind to know that that little boy was running into traffic, stop the car, get out.

CUOMO: Two words. Daddy power. He is a father himself and he anticipates the crazy of a child.

CAMEROTA: It's a super power.

[09:00:00] PEREIRA: All right, on that note, we will end our show and turn it over to Carol Costello. It's time for "NEWSROOM". Good morning.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR, "NEWSROOM": I like that. Daddy power. Good morning, have a great day. Thanks so much.

"NEWSROOM" starts now.