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MORGAN: I'm here in Washington and back with three of the great legendary senators, John McCain, Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham.

MCCAIN: Legendary means old.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Yes, it does.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: I stand by my comment, Senators. Just on same-sex marriage, America has moved incredibly fast in the time that all three of you have been in the Senate, even. You're now seeing same-sex marriage being legalized in many states --

Do you think that younger people don't care nearly as much about it as their parents and grandparents?

GRAHAM: I think part of it's generational. I think part of it's the media. I mean you're -- you're casting movies and TV shows where people are -- same-sex couples are -- are funny, charming and kind.

The point is that you can be funny, charming and kind and be in love with someone of the same sex.

What's the role of the law here?

We're not talking about an academic discussion.

When is it proper for the government to set boundaries in terms of relationships?

It's clearly proper to say you can't kill someone. And I have no problem with people passing on their property to someone they love. I have no problem with people having the ability to -- to engage in a free and open life.

A lot of this is religious. In my state, we're not going to change the traditional definition of marriage. And I would support the traditional definition of marriage, not out of a hate, but if I believed it, I think that's just best for society.

At the end of the day, states will come out differently on this issue. And I think that's the way it should be. I think each state --

MORGAN: But can America really stand for freedom and genuine equality if half the states continue to view the rights of a homosexual couple to get married in a completely different way to the way they view the rights --

GRAHAM: Can --

MORGAN: -- of a --

GRAHAM: -- can --

MORGAN: -- heterosexual couple?

GRAHAM: -- can people in a republic, can people in South Carolina and New York differ?

I hope so.

But can we do it in a way that --

MORGAN: But can they both be equal? GRAHAM: Well, here's what --

MORGAN: Can they both espouse equality if, actually, in one state --

GRAHAM: Well --

MORGAN: -- you can't get married --

(CROSS TALK)

MORGAN: -- and in another you can.

LIEBERMAN: Can I answer this?

GRAHAM: Yes. They will.

LIEBERMAN: -- at the time, really, that's the basic question. Uh, two.

One is, is it unconstitutional to prohibit same-sex marriage?

MORGAN: And yes -- what do you think, yes or no?

LIEBERMAN: What do I think they're going to decide?

MORGAN: What do you think they should decide?

LIEBERMAN: I -- I think that marriage ought to be decided by the states. So that would mean that some states would have the right to prohibit same-sex marriage. Although I must tell you --

MCCAIN: That's the principle of the conservative federalist belief.

MORGAN: But it seems so un-American to me.

(CROSS TALK)

MORGAN: -- here's a country -- I'm sorry, but here's a country --

(CROSS TALK)

MORGAN: -- that stands on the grounds of freedom, democracy and equality. And here you are all telling me that's fine, as long as you're in the right state.

(CROSS TALK)

MORGAN: I don't get that.

LIEBERMAN: Well --

GRAHAM: I've been waiting to ask you this question.

MORGAN: Go on.

GRAHAM: If it's based on love, can three people love each other?

MORGAN: Can three people love each other?

Why would you need three people?

GRAHAM: Well, is it possible for three people to genuinely love each other and want to share their lives together?

MORGAN: Of course it is.

GRAHAM: OK, then, is it OK to have three people marry each other?

MORGAN: Uh, I would say not. I don't think that's the debate. I don't think we're asking --

(CROSS TALK)

MORGAN: But I've not heard anybody arguing for the right --

(CROSS TALK)

MORGAN: -- for three people --

(CROSS TALK)

MORGAN: -- no, but that's -- but that's a facile point.

GRAHAM: Why?

MORGAN: Because the point is simply a homosexual couple's right to get married in the same way as the heterosexual couple in America.

Now what -- all three -- unless I'm wrong, what you're all three saying is yes, if you're in the right geographic part of the country --

(CROSS TALK)

MORGAN: -- and to me, that isn't equality.

MCCAIN: The Constitution of the United States says all rights are reserved for the states --

LIEBERMAN: And the --

MCCAIN: -- except for those given to the government.

MORGAN: But there are many federal laws.

LIEBERMAN: No, there are.

MCCAIN: There are.

(CROSS TALK)

MORGAN: And the argument now, at the Supreme Court --

MCCAIN: There are --

MORGAN: -- will be should it be a federal issue.

LIEBERMAN: Right.

MORGAN: And I don't see how you can be a free and equal America unless this is a federal decision that says --

MCCAIN: Can you respect the religious --

MORGAN: -- all rights are equal.

MCCAIN: Do you respect the religious belief of people who believe --

MORGAN: Would you still --

(CROSS TALK)

MCCAIN: Do you believe -- do you respect those religious beliefs?

And if they reflect those religious beliefs in the laws that are passed by their states --

MORGAN: I do respect religious beliefs --

MCCAIN: -- if that's -- that's -- that's the will of the people --

MORGAN: But there are many people --

MCCAIN: -- then --

MORGAN: -- of different religions in many different states, as you know.

MCCAIN: There certainly are.

MORGAN: Would you respect the original rights of the founding fathers to allow slavery?

No.

LIEBERMAN: No.

MORGAN: Would you allow slavery in some states but not others?

LIEBERMAN: You know what we're dealing with --

MORGAN: No, you wouldn't.

LIEBERMAN: -- here?

There's been a legal tradition in our country, and it runs straight into what you're asking, which is that the states are the place where domestic law or family law is determined, state by state. The Supreme Court may say that's no longer valid.

Incidentally, I -- I'd just say this to you: Connecticut -- same- sex marriage is legal in Connecticut. Somebody asked me recently, um, how -- how has it -- how has it changed things?

And you know, I thought about it and to the best of my knowledge, it hasn't changed things at all. Things -- the -- it hasn't really changed anybody's life except people who are gay or lesbian and want to --

MORGAN: All it's done is make certain people's lives happier --

LIEBERMAN: Yes.

MORGAN: -- and better.

GRAHAM: Can -- can I suggest this?

Slavery was outlawed by a Constitutional amendment. Go watch "Lincoln," a great movie.

MORGAN: Yes.

GRAHAM: The people decided. The question for us is who should decide these things?

Should it be a handful of judges or should it be the people themselves?

And I come out on the side of the people themselves. Different people will look at it differently.

But slavery was outlawed by a Constitutional amendment. If you want to propose a Constitutional amendment legalizing same-sex marriage and it passes, that's the law of the land.

MORGAN: Well, here's my bet. My bet is that in 25 years, it will have happened.

Basically, all three Senators had their arguments about why marriage equality should be decided at the State level as opposed to the Federal level demolished by Morgan. Let's look at the highlights.

Right off the bat, Graham presents the argument that marriage equality has become a non-starter for the younger generation because Hollywood.

I think part of it's the media. I mean you're -- you're casting movies and TV shows where people are -- same-sex couples are -- are funny, charming and kind.
Casting gay people in a positive light is what has caused America's moral decline, he opines. Someone needs to sit the good Senator down and explain how modern technology has opened up a whole new world. Our younger generation didn't have their minds broadened by Will and Grace.

Without missing a beat, he quickly abandons this deep thought and whips out the religious freedom card.

A lot of this is religious. In my state, we're not going to change the traditional definition of marriage. And I would support the traditional definition of marriage, not out of a hate, but if I believed it, I think that's just best for society.
Of course he doesn't hate gay people. I'm willing to bet some of Senator Graham's best friends might have those icky tendencies. But he has to say this anyway. It is in the NOM handbook. Rule #1: Never admit you hate the homos. Say you are working against their rights out of pure love.

Dammit, Morgan isn't having that.

But can America really stand for freedom and genuine equality if half the states continue to view the rights of a homosexual couple to get married in a completely different way...
This stymies Graham to such a degree that Holy Joe is compelled to take the reigns away from him.
I think that marriage ought to be decided by the states. So that would mean that some states would have the right to prohibit same-sex marriage.
And then McCain hits Morgan between the eyes with his principled conservatism.
That's the principle of the conservative federalist belief.
Thank you for that Senator McCain. Marriage equality shouldn't exist because federalists believe it shouldn't exist. Nicely played.

Or was it? Piers doesn't seem to think so.

[Here is a country] that stands on the grounds of freedom, democracy and equality. And here you are all telling me that's fine, as long as you're in the right state.
Ooooh, good one! How do you come back from that? Why, ignore that excellent point and shift the discussion to the old standby, slippery slope, right Senator Graham?
If it's based on love, can three people love each other?
Piers has heard this one before and is in no mood to dance with a straw man. Instead, he continues to press his original point, which begins to get under McCain's skin. Time to get back to that old time religion! It worked so well the first time. But again, we have no takers on the snake oil. Piers has had enough of the sermon and shuts this stupid argument down fast.
Would you respect the original rights of the founding fathers to allow slavery?
This was all just too much for Joe Lieberman. He decides to put all three of them out of their misery by admitting that marriage equality in his State hasn't done a whit of harm and has only served to make gay people happy. Lindsay Graham can only advise that we all go see Lincoln. John McCain can only sit there scowling wondering what the hell just happened.

And scene.

It's really a pity that we don't have these three Senators arguing the cases headed to the Supreme Court.

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