On NBC’s “Meet The Press” yesterday, in a debate over the Supreme Court’s historic rulings on marriage equality, MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow battled two top Republican religious conservatives — and won. On the show were former U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), now the head of the Heritage Foundation, and Ralph Reed, former (and disgraced) head of the Christian Coalition, now the head of the Faith and Freedom Coalition. NBC’s David Gregory, in rare moments of holding the right accountable, stepped in the hold their feet while Maddow slammed their arguments with facts.
Jim DeMint claimed that Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy “is denying dignity to the millions of Americans who, for moral or religious reasons, believe that gay marriage is wrong.” DeMint was responding to NBC’s Pete Williams’ comment that Kennedy used the word “dignity” ten times in his ruling.
“As you just said, you’ve got 37 states where the people have decided that they want to protect the marriage between a man and a woman because they know that that’s the environment where children can thrive and succeed,” DeMint added. “I mean, that’s been proven. So it’s not about the desires of adults, it’s really about the best environment for children. We’re talking all about politics, but the reason governments at the state level and the federal level have recognized marriage between a man and a woman is because it’s better for our country and it’s better for children.”
But Maddow would not let that stand.
“Justice Kennedy addressed that issue specifically in his ruling,” she responded. “He says that by denying marriage rights to same-sex couples who have kids, you’re humiliating and demeaning those kids. By denying their families equal protection under the law by the parents who are raising them and who love them and who make their family. So we can put it in the interests of children, but I think that cuts both ways. And the ruling cuts against that argument. I mean, gay people exist. There’s nothing we can do in public policy can do to make more of us exist or less of us exist. And you guys for a generation have argued that public policy ought to demean gay people as a way of expressing disapproval of the fact that we exist. But you don’t make any less of us exist, you are just arguing for more discrimination. And more discrimination doesn’t make straight people’s lives any better.”
Later, Ralph Reed tried to claim the left, or, certainly, Maddow, was calling the anti-gay, pro-discrimination right “bigots.” Maddow deftly denied that charge.
Then Rep. Tim Huelskamp, who says he will introduce an amendment to the constitution banning same-sexz marriage, played fast and loose with “research.”
“The research is very clear that the ideal for raising our children should be the issue here.”
But David Gregory had enough and wasn’t going to allow any more fact-twisting.
“Children tend to prosper in homes where there is a loving marriage,” Gregory responded. “There is really not evidence to suggest that if you are a same-sex couple or a heterosexual couple that it makes one difference one way or the other.”
Huelskamp butted in:
“Well actually the research does not show that, actually the research is very clear as we have indicated here, but…”
“No, no,” Gregory interjected. “Everybody throws that out, but the research actually shows that in broken homes, it hurts the children. Which I think most people would say that would be true of same-sex couples or heterosexual couples. We don’t really know, do we? But we do have a sense that loving marriages provide a good family life for children, right?”
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