CNN Asks anti-Prop 8 Plaintiffs If They're 'Considered Heroes', When They're Getting Married
CNN host Randi Kaye was eager to provide same-sex marriage supporters with a stately platform on Wednesday afternoon. In her interview of the plaintiffs in the case to overturn California's ban on same-sex marriage (Proposition 8), she asked them first about their wedding plans. "Are there some wedding plans now in the works for the two of you, or do you see this as just another round in a very long fight?" she gleefully asked.
Then Kaye teed them up again with this softball question: "Are you considered heroes by those who support same-sex marriage? What are you hearing from people?" At the end of the interview, the couple invited certain GOP opponents of same-sex marriage over to their house for a conversation on the matter. Kaye promised CNN would cover it and quickly added "And, we'll bring the meal."
Kaye did once ask them to respond to the opposition's claim that Proposition 8, which was passed by voters, was struck down by the courts. "And some of those say that, you know what, it's the voters' voices that need to be heard, not the courts," Kaye stated.
However, the rest of Kaye's interview oozed with sympathy for the couple, and even contained questionable information. For instance, Kaye claimed that "it's still unclear" if the supporters of Proposition 8 would appeal their case to the U.S. Supreme Court, when it is clear that they will. Whether SCOTUS decides to hear the appeal is still unclear.
Kaye also asked the couple if they are "concerned" about the Republicans winning the presidential election. She noted that "all the GOP candidates except Ron Paul support a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Rick Santorum has actually said that he would actually nullify all existing same-sex marriages."
"So are you concerned at all, Paul, about the election later this year?" she asked.
A transcript of the segment, which aired on February 8 at 1:13 p.m. EST, is as follows:
RANDI KAYE: Welcome back. It's been 24 hours almost to the minute since the federal appeals court struck down California's Proposition 8 and gave supporters of same-sex marriage their biggest legal victory yet. The court ruled, and I quote, "Proposition 8 serves no purpose and has no effect other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California and to officially reclassify their relationships as inferior to those as opposite-sex couples." Now, it's still unclear whether Prop 8 supporters will appeal and to whom, but my guests today in Facetime are ready.
Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo are among the plaintiffs in the anti-Prop 8 lawsuit. They join me now from Los Angeles. Hi, guys, nice to have you on the show. So, I understand that this is – this is certainly big news in California. Are there some wedding plans now in the works for the two of you, or do you see this as just another round in a very long fight?
PAUL KATAMI, plaintiff in Prop 8 lawsuit: Well, you know, there's always wedding plans after a decade of being together with someone that you love. So, we are definitely looking forward to the day where we can actually be fully recognized in our state and in our country. So, yes, we're constantly planning.
KAYE: You've waited – you've waited all this time. So Jeff, why not – why didn't you go and get married maybe in another state that allows it?
JEFF ZARRILLO, plaintiff in Prop 8 lawsuit: Well, we're Californians. Paul was born and raised in San Francisco. I've been here for over a third of my life. We work here. We have friends here. We want to be married in the state that we are living in. You know, we don't want to have to go to another state. We live in the United States of America where all 50 states should treat their citizens equally.
KAYE: A lot of this big news coming out of California is because of the two of you, along with another couple, who filed this lawsuit to make this change happen. Are you considered heroes by those who support same-sex marriage? What are you hearing from people?
KAYE: And, Jeff, I also want to ask you – and actually both of you – about some of the backlash. Because your side has really made progress through the court system, while the gay marriage ban was actually passed by voters. And some of those say that, you know what, it's the voters' voices that need to be heard, not the courts. So, Paul, what do you say to those people?
KATAMI: You know, we believe in the democratic process. We absolutely do. And as gay Americans, we appreciate our freedoms, we appreciate our liberties. But the one thing that we honestly believe is that those liberties and freedoms should never be put up to a vote. So our rights should never be subjected to the whim of a political campaign. They should never have to be lobbied for or voted on. So these are our inalienable rights, and they should be ours. And, good people can come to separate conclusions and still respect the fact that in our country, that our freedoms protect everyone. And when you stripped away a right from minority through a ballot initiate, it is unconstitutional. Those rights are ours.
ZARRILLO: And I would just add, Randi, that it's important – the courts are there to protect us. We have the ballot initiative process. But when the majority infringes the rights of the minority, that's what the courts are there for. The courts must step in and relieve that oppression.
KAYE: And when you talk about the national impact, I really want to ask you about the impact come 2012 in the election, because all the GOP candidates – this was in the Huffington Post today -- all the GOP candidates except Ron Paul support a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Rick Santorum has actually said that he would actually nullify all existing same-sex marriages. So are you concerned at all, Paul, about the election later this year?
KATAMI: Well, you know, I'm going to throw this one to Jeff. I think he's a really great answer for this one.
ZARRILLO: You know, I would just say, you know, I've said this all along, I would love to invite Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich – come to my house. Sit down with me. Sit down and have dinner with me. Let's have a conversation. Look at my loving home. I want them to look me in the eye and tell me that I don't deserve the same rights. I would them to be able to look Spencer Perry and Eliott Perry in the eye after listening to Spencer on stage yesterday and tell him that his family is not equal.
KATAMI: And what's unfortunate is, when the responses come out, and they're somewhat uneducated. I mean the ruling just came out and so to be educated on the facts and if you were to sit down and understand these rights and our Constitution, I think that that's a more responsible way to have this discussion, have a responsible debate versus trying to strip away the rights of a minority just because you have a bias against them.
KAYE: Well, I think because this is CNN, I think technically you guys just invited Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney to your home for dinner. So if they respond, we'll be there as well.
ZARRILLO: Come on in. Come on over.
KAYE: And, we'll bring the meal.
-- Matt Hadro is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center