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CBS Gives Michael Bloomberg Forum to Promote Same-Sex Marriage

Saturday's The Early Show on CBS gave New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg an unchallenged forum to promote his views favoring same-sex marriage as the show celebrated New York's recent legalization of gay marriage by interviewing a gay couple who are planning to get married. As Mayor Bloomberg will be performing the ceremony because the two are members of his staff, the mayor also took part in the interview. Early Show co-anchor Rebecca Jarvis set up the segment:

Tomorrow, New York becomes the sixth state to make same-sex marriage legal, so this is a huge weekend for gay rights supporters, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. In fact, the mayor will actually officiate at the Sunday morning wedding of two top members of his staff who personalized this issue for him.

Below is a complete transcript of the interview from the Saturday, July 23, The Early Show on CBS:

REBECCA JARVIS: Tomorrow, New York becomes the sixth state to make same-sex marriage legal, so this is a huge weekend for gay rights supporters, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. In fact, the mayor will actually officiate at the Sunday morning wedding of two top members of his staff who personalized this issue for him: Commissioner of Consumer Affairs Jonathan Mintz and Chief Policy Advisor John Feinblatt. Good morning. Welcome to all of you. And, Mayor Bloomberg, you'll be officiating. You've only done this a couple of times before, your daughter and Mayor Giuliani. What does it mean to you?

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: Well, I thought this case I would go off my exceptions of only my kids and the former mayors because I think this sends a message to the world that New York is open to everyone. I've always thought that America's great strengths include the fact that we treat everybody equally and that we don't impose our religion on anybody else. And, in this case, everybody should have the right to get married, and every religion should have the right to decide what's appropriate within their religion, and I think New York has done that, and I'm very proud of the state. The state legislature and the governor, the speaker of the city council got together and did what I think the people want, and it's a sentiment, I think, that's growing throughout this country. It's just not the government's business to get involved in your personal life unless there's some overriding compelling public policy purpose. And there's not.

JARVIS: John and Jonathan, you've been together now for 14 years. You have two young daughters. What does all of this mean to you?

JONATHAN MINTZ, NEW YORK CITY CONSUMER AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER: I think primarily what it means is it sends a massive signal to our children, first and foremost, that our family is equal to any other family. Kids have a very, a very clear sense of what's fair and what's just and what's different from one family to another, and they shouldn't feel second class. And I think some day we'll mark the first day in New York when they know that their family is like any other. And I think, I think that's a very important message to send.

JOHN FEINBLATT, CHIEF POLICY ADVISOR OF MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: Yeah, I think we're really celebrating three things on Sunday. One is our relationship and probably, most important, our family and our kids. And the third is we're celebrating with New York, and this is a great day for New York. You know, New York's always stood for freedom and I think this is, this is what New York is all about. It's what makes New York, New York. And so it's a great privilege to be a part of it.

JARVIS: You bring up an interesting point because, if you had wanted to at some earlier point, you could have gone to another state. Why wait for New York?

FEINBLATT: You know, it's interesting. My step mother has a beautiful house in Massachusetts overlooking the water, and, as you know, same-sex marriage has been legal in Massachusetts for a number of years now. But we're New Yorkers, we work for New York, we decided to raise our kids in New York. We're firmly sort of committed to the city, and we didn't want to have to pack our bags and go somewhere else, you know, we wanted to do it in New York where our kids are being raised and where our home is and where our kids can invite 15 of their friends to celebrate with us, so it meant a lot for us to do it here and not have to go off somewhere else to do it.

JARVIS: Mayor Bloomberg?

BLOOMBERG: I think it's great that they're doing it in New York. We want New York to be a destination for everyone, whether you're coming to get married or you're coming for a vacation, or you're coming to live or coming for an education or medical care. New York City has always been open to everyone, and if you take a look at the history of civil rights in this country, you know, at the beginning, women couldn't vote or hold office. Non-property holders couldn't vote. African-Americans couldn't vote. And over the years, we have opened up and improved our democracy. And we haven't taken away the rights of individuals and individual religions to have whatever restrictions they want. So, for example, if your religion says you should not drink alcohol, you don't have to drink alcohol. But we don't think you should prevent other people from drinking alcohol.

And I think the same thing is true when it comes to marriage or lots of other things in life. We respect the rights of people to practice their religions the way they want to do it, but in order to do that, you have to make sure that everybody has that right, including those people that want to do things outside of religion. And marriage is a civil ceremony, and, for some people, they add a religious ceremony. And we forget the clergy people who have the right to marry you perform a civil ceremony within the religious ceremony. But you can go to a judge or the city clerk or the mayor and get married without the religious component. It's up to individuals to choose, and that's what it should be.

JARVIS: One last question: Is the wedding going to be outside in all of this extreme heat?

MINTZ: Unless you put a pool in Gracie Mansion (INAUDIBLE)

BLOOMBERG: We're not doing a pool. The ceremony, I think, is going to be inside and the reception outside. And I think it will be a great day, and people that want to get married during the day can come and go to city hall or the marriage bureaus in all five boroughs.

JARVIS: Thanks to all of you for joining us, and have a wonderful weekend. I hope you enjoy it.

MINTZ: Thank you.

FEINBLATT: Thanks a million.

-Brad Wilmouth is a news analyst at the Media Research Center