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Search On for Three Missing in Baltimore Harbor Accident; Debate Ensues Over Whether Gay Marriage is Civil Rights Issue; Yankee- Red Sox Spring Training Game Incites Interest

Aired March 7, 2004 - 09:00   ET


RENAY SAN MIGUEL, ANCHOR: Good morning to you, this is CNN SUNDAY MORNING. And I'm San Miguel.
KELLI ARENA, ANCHOR: And I'm Kelli Arena.

If you're waking up on the West Coast, thanks for starting your day with us.

We've got plenty to get to this hour, including the latest from Baltimore on the deadly boat accident. We'll head to the scene for a live report in just a few minutes.

SAN MIGUEL: The states are being forced to deal with the issue of gay marriage. It is a topic that some say echoes the civil rights movement of years past. We'll talk about the impact the debate is having on the nation's conscience in about 15 minutes from now.

ARENA: And a once storied football program is now overshadowed by a major sex scandal and investigation. Is the pressure of winning too much for schools to stay within the rules and the law? We'll tackle that issue a bit later, but first, this hour's news alert.

SAN MIGUEL: The search is resuming this morning in Baltimore for three people are missing and feared dead in a water taxi accident.

The boat, with 25 people on board, flipped over in a sudden windstorm. One person is confirmed dead; 21 others survived.

A high level Justice Department team of lawyers and investigators is headed to Iraq this weekend. They're gathering potential evidence to use in any war crimes cases against Saddam Hussein and members of his regime.

Democratic candidate John Kerry tells "TIME" magazine he will almost certainly send a team to Iraq in the next few weeks or months. Kerry says the team will make an assessment on the situation there, which he can use to formulate his Iraq policy.

Israeli forces raided two central Gaza refugee camps today, sparking gun battles that killed at least 14 Palestinians. Three of them were boys under 14 years old.

The Israeli forces accused Palestinian militants of using civilians as human shields. The raids come a day after militants staged an attack on Israeli soldiers at the main Gaza crossing into Israel.

ARENA: Our top story this hour, this morning's search in Baltimore Harbor.

The Coast Guard, Baltimore police and others are searching for three passengers missing after a water taxi accident.

The boat flipped over in a sudden storm yesterday. CNN's Kathleen Koch joins us with the latest -- Kathleen.

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kelli, that search resumed this morning, just a couple of hours ago, just after 7 a.m. As you mentioned, it is a very intense search.

Baltimore city police, Baltimore City fireboats involved, Coast Guard boats. As you can hear the helicopters above. Police helicopters, Coast Guard choppers, searching a very extensive area of water, because they found debris last night some two miles from where this boat sank.

So, these bodies -- it's assumed it's the bodies of the three people, because they say no one could have survived in water this cold. They really aren't sure where they will find these.

Now, the good news is that some 10 people, 10 of the passengers, have been released from the hospital. Eleven of them are still hospitalized, two in critical condition, two with serious injuries.

We had a briefing just a few minutes ago from the National Transportation Safety Board, and they described to us the progress of their investigation.


ELLEN ENGELMAN-CONNERS, NTSB CHAIRWOMAN: At this time, it's very much of the preliminary stages. We want to ensure that the passengers are out of any kind of danger while they're hospitalized, so that they're able to speak with us.

However, we can confirm the facts that we know last night. There were 25 people on board, including passengers and crew. There were life jackets on board. They were not deployed. So, we are aware of that.

There were weather conditions, and we're reviewing those with both the weather stations around here as well as NOAA, to get as much weather information as we can.


KOCH: The National Transportation Safety Board says that its focus today will be interviews: interviewing passengers, interviewing eyewitnesses, interviewing the captain and the assistant captain about the vessel.

Also, the capsized vessel has been towed to a dock just behind me. You can't see this, on the other side of these rescue vessels. But they are examining it. They are photographing it.

It is still overturned, so they're looking at possible damage to it, not only caused by the accident but also the tide's gone up and down, so the pontoon taxi boat has scraped along the bottom of the harbor here. So they say that's caused some damage.

But they're going to be righting it eventually. But they're very concerned, because it does have a good bit of fuel inside, maybe 40 gallons, and they don't want that to go into the water.

Back to you, Kelli.

ARENA: All right. Kathleen Koch at Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Thank you.

The boat used by Seaport Taxi can hold up to 25 passengers. It is 36 feet long, and water taxis in the Baltimore area carry about 250,000 passengers a year. The capsized boat was one of 11 owned by Seaport Taxi.

SAN MIGUEL: Now for some news across America.

Martha Stewart reports tomorrow to a probation office in New York. She'll be briefed about restrictions on her activities, pending her sentencing in June for lying about a stock deal. Stewart's probation officer will give the judge a pre-sentencing report based on the federal sentencing guidelines.

A case of bird flu has been found at a chicken farm on Maryland's Eastern shore. Thousands of chickens are being destroyed at that farm and one nearby that shares equipment with it.

Bird flu has turned up in five states so far, but no human cases have been diagnosed in the U.S.

In Boston, the Catholic archdiocese is suing and insurance company for not covering payments to victims of abuse by priests. The suit says the company's denial of coverage has forced the church to borrow money and offer valuable property for sale.

At UCLA, the official who overseas the cadaver program has been arrested on suspicion of grand theft, but it's not clear what he is accused of stealing. The arrest follows an investigation of whether employees stole and sold body parts from cadavers donated to the medical school.

ARENA: Turning now to Iraq, Iraqi officials may finally sign that interim constitution. Shiite members of the Iraqi Governing Council say progress was made during a weekend meeting with a top cleric who had opposed part of the document.

Shiite opposition derailed Friday's plans of for signing of that historic paper. Shiite members hope the progress will lead to a signing tomorrow.

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry is reportedly thinking about sending a team to Iraq. We'll tell you about that later this hour.

And Paul Bremer, the top U.S. administrator in Iraq, will be a guest today on CNN's "LATE EDITION WITH WOLF BLITZER." Tune in, beginning at noon Eastern.

And in the polls it was beginning to look like an unfair fight.

SAN MIGUEL: Howard Dean seemed to have the Democratic nomination within sight, and his staff had just the plan to clinch it.


JOE TRIPPI, FORMER DEAN CAMPAIGN MANAGER: And do not change the subject line. I just said it. It's the people, stupid.


SAN MIGUEL: Coming up, a look inside the early stages of Howard Dean's primary campaign, when Dean and his supporters were true believers. A special preview of tonight's "CNN PRESENTS" is coming up.

Plus, true believers of gay rights hope to have the right to some day say "I do" anywhere in the country. It is an issue that continues to ignite debate, and we will talk about more about it, next.


SAN MIGUEL: Old friends get set to say hello once again. Spring training has sprung in major league baseball, and the Red Sox and Yankees -- wait a minute, did we say old friends? I don't think that applies in their case. But they are getting ready to play.

We head to Florida for a spring training report in 10 minutes. Stay with us.


ARENA: A gay activist group has honored Barbra Streisand with its humanitarian award. Last night's annual gala in Beverly Hills singled out Streisand as a champion of civil rights for homosexuals.


BARBRA STREISAND, ENTERTAINER: The law cannot dictate matters of the heart. When two people form a deep bond, there is usually a soul connection, and the soul has no gender.


SAN MIGUEL: You should know by now that same-sex marriage is at the forefront of what many gays and lesbians feel is their struggle for civil rights. Some people have compared it to the struggle for civil rights among African-Americans.

Our guests this morning have some strong opinions on this contentious issue.

From Los Angeles, the Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson. He is the founder and president of the Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny.

And here in Atlanta, Representative Tyrone Brooks. He was a Democratic lawmaker in the Georgia state house.

Gentlemen, thanks so much for being with us. We appreciate your time today.



SAN MIGUEL: Reverend Peterson, let me go ahead and start with you. You are against the same-sex marriages?


SAN MIGUEL: Tell me how this is not a civil rights issue, how this is not an issue of discrimination?

PETERSON: Homosexuality is not a civil right. What we have is a bunch of radical homosexuals trying to attach their agenda to the struggles of the 1960s.

Over the last 15 years or so, I have seen homosexuals who are heterosexuals become homosexuals, and I've seen homosexuals who have decided to overcome that become heterosexuals.

But I have not seen one black man turned white or a white man turned black.

This issue with homosexuality and same-sex marriage is a moral issue. It is all about sex and not about color.

And the sad thing is that the civil rights movement was about equal access under the law and protection by the law for all of the American people. It was not about sex. Dr. King must be turning over in his grave today, watching his dream become a nightmare. This is a sad occasion.

SAN MIGUEL: Representative Brooks, what about that issue, that this is not so much about, you know, whether or not somebody has the right to vote, or whatever. It's about a moral stand.

And it's the kind of thing that, you know, that some people who would support -- who would have supported the civil rights struggles in the 1950s and 1960s, may not be so approving this time around?

BROOKS: Let me be clear. I have been a civil rights worker all my life and probably will die a civil rights worker. I just happy to be an elected official who served in the Georgia general assembly and served as the president of the Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials.

I do believe that an individual has a right to live their life as they so please. I believe that individuals have a right to cohabitate and to marry as they so choose.

I do not believe the constitution of our state or our nation should be about the business of infringing upon individual rights and civil liberties. I believe the Constitution is written to expand your rights, to give you more freedom.

I would never, ever vote to restrict the individual rights of individuals, no matter whether they call themselves gay or lesbians. I believe that we have to depoliticize this issue.

And I also think we have to understand why this issue is surfacing today. This is being drive by the national Republican Party to drive up their vote in November.


BROOKS: They don't have issues to run on.

SAN MIGUEL: Let me go ahead and get the Reverend here. Go ahead, Reverend.

PETERSON: Let me say the representative is lying. It is not driven by the Republican Party.

This is a moral issue that is driven by all of the American people who know that this idea of same-sex marriage is wrong.

I, too, am a civil rights fighter. I have been that all my life. I grew up in Alabama on a plantation, when the laws were against me, simply because I was black. It wasn't about who I was having sex with.

This -- Mr. Bush -- here, the Congressman, is out of touch with the reality of Dr. King's dream and the hearts and desires of black Americans. This is about family.

Homosexuality, same-sex marriage is not about family, it is not about love. It is not about children. It is about sex, and nothing else. And they have a right to have sex with whomever they want to. They don't have a right to impose it upon us.

SAN MIGUEL: Reverend, let me go ahead and I have to tell our viewers right now that we're having a little bit of trouble with our signal. Actually, no, we're good now, with the Reverend -- with Representative Brooks.

Let me go ahead and go back to you, Reverend, for just a second.


SAN MIGUEL: Because there is an issue that is being brought up that deals with civil rights and who somebody is sleeping with, and that is the comparisons that are being used with those laws that were against interracial marriage in the '50s and '60s, and comparing that to the struggle today.

Let me get a 30-second answer from you regarding that issue.

PETERSON: That's another disgrace to a black American. Interracial marriage was once again about color. They didn't care who you have sex with, but they didn't want blacks and whites coming together based on color, not sex.

SAN MIGUEL: Let me go ahead and get the Representative Brooks back in here now. I believe our signal is good now with him.

The -- One of your colleagues, Ernest Williams (ph), who was against this, on the comparison between civil rights and gay rights, said, quote, "You can make a choice of who you want in your bedroom. You can't chose your skin color."

What about that issue? I mean, the people that might be in the congregations within your own district, you know, might have been supportive of civil rights issues, but they have a moral issue with this one?

BROOKS: Well, I have a moral issue, also. And I don't question anyone's morals, and I don't want anyone to question mine.

I went to work for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference when Dr. King was living, 1967. I was there up until the 1980s, when I went into the Georgia general assembly. I have never heard any minister in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference condemn the lifestyles of individuals who may be different from us.

But you understand, you know, that this is not about...

PETERSON: ... living it...

BROOKS: Don't talk over me. I don't talk over you, Reverend. Reverend, I'm not talking over you. Please don't talk over me.

PETERSON: You are not...

BROOKS: Reverend, please don't. Please.

SAN MIGUEL: Let me go ahead. I'm afraid that we're going to -- we have to wrap this up.

PETERSON: I'm just in this dialogue.

BROOKS: Reverend, I didn't talk over you. Please respect me, Reverend, as I respect you.

PETERSON: But I can't...

BROOKS: This is not about gay marriage. This is about the national Republican Party confusing the issue, because they don't have any other issues to run on. SAN MIGUEL: Gentlemen, we're going to have to end it for both of you. We have run out of time on this issue. We promise that we're going to be revisiting this again. We hope to have you both of you gentlemen on again.

Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson, Georgia state Representative Tyrone Brooks, thanks to both of you for being with us. We appreciate your time this morning.

PETERSON: Thank you.

ARENA: Well, the weather may not reflect it, but the calendar sure does. It's spring training time, and the boys of summer are warming up in the Sunshine State.

RAY D'ALESSIO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. I'm Ray D'Alessio from Fort Myers, Florida. Yankees, Red Sox, the rivalry continues. CNN SUNDAY, we're back in a bit.





ARENA: Anyone remember who won the World Series last year? Well, I know Renay does. But it doesn't seem to matter, since the off-season has been dominated by the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry.

And the latest chapter, titled A-Rod.

For more we head down to the Red Sox spring home in Fort Myers, where we're joined by CNN's Ray D'Alessio -- Ray.

D'ALESSIO: Good morning, Kelli.

Of course, on paper, it says spring training, but let's face it. Given all that's happened in recent months, this game as a playoff type atmosphere.

For six straight years now, the Red Sox have finished second to the Yankees in the division. But during the off-season, it appeared they had closed the gap.

They went out. They got two quality pitchers in Curt Schilling and Keith Faulk. Of course, Schilling has already beaten the Yankees in the World Series as a member of the Diamondbacks.

The Red Sox even had a deal in place for Alex Rodriguez, arguably the best player in the game today. But when that deal fell through, and A-Rod signed with the Yankees, the Red Sox were back to square one.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KEVIN MILLAR, RED SOX FIRST BASEMAN: There wasn't a person on this planet that's a baseball fan that didn't think A-Rod was going to be a Red Sox.

CURT SCHILLING, RED SOX PITCHER: It didn't bother me until the Yankees signed him. I mean, you know, obviously the Yankees are a good club, but they got better, getting the best player in the game. And that was a little bit frustrating.

DEREK LOWE, RED SOX PITCHER: There's no bigger, you know, punch in the gut for a Red Sox player and fan than for them to get A-Rod. But, you know, it is over with.

MILLAR: We're excited to start the season, because it's just like -- it was just like yesterday, walking off that field and having that taste in game seven in Yankee Stadium. And now we're preparing, and everybody is hungry.


D'ALESSIO: Now if you're keeping score at home, last year, including the playoffs, the Red Sox and Yankees met a total of 26 times with the Yankees winning 14 of those games.

As far as A-Rod is concerned, he is expected to be here today. Nomar Garciaparra, however, the Red Sox shortstop who was also a part of those trade talks, he is not in the starting lineup.

Folks, if you think we're making too much of a big deal about this game, all you have to do is look outside this stadium. There's already a line that stretches around the block -- Kelli.

ARENA: I believe you, ray. You're not making too much of a big deal about this. Ray D'Alessio, thanks very much.


ARENA: Time for a quick check of the headlines.

Rescue teams resumed their search this morning for the bodies of three missing passengers from a water taxi that flipped over yesterday about a mile off the Maryland shore. One other person was killed in the accident.

A Justice Department team is headed for Iraq to begin preparing evidence for a possible Saddam Hussein war crimes trial. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice authorized the 50-member team to be the lead U.S. agency in trial preparation.

SAN MIGUEL: Now we're going to fast-forward to the week ahead.

On Tuesday, sniper John Allen Mohammed will be sentenced in Manassus, Virginia. A jury recommended death, but the judge could give him life in prison.

On Thursday, the Massachusetts legislature renews its issue on a bill to ban gay marriage. This comes in the wake of a state supreme court ruling in favor of gay marriages.

On Friday, the suspect caught in the abduction that was caught on videotape will be arraigned in Sarasota, Florida. Joseph Smith is accused of killing 11-year-old Carlie Brucia.

Well, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry looks like he'll try his hand in foreign affairs a bit early. Details on Kerry's Iraq plan, coming up.

And what it was like to be on top, an inside look at Howard Dean and his supporters in the early days of their primary run. A sneak peek of tonight's "CNN PRESENTS," coming right up.


ARENA: The pressure to be the best may have brought out the worst in one college program. We'll talk about the problems facing collegiate athletics in about 10 minutes.

SAN MIGUEL: And welcome back. That story is coming up, but first here is what is happening at this hour. Checking the headlines right now.

Shiites in Iraq say they have resolved the dispute over the interim constitution and will sign the historic document at a ceremony tomorrow. Friday's signing was delayed when Shiite leaders objected to a clause that would grant veto power to three Kurdish provinces.

A major demonstration is planned today by the opposition in Haiti. It's billed as the biggest march since President Jean-Bertrand Aristide left the country. Both local police and international peacekeepers will be working to prevent violence.

The first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church official takes over today as bishop of New Hampshire. Gene Robinson's election as bishop has been denounced by conservative Episcopalians in the U.S. and abroad. Robinson says he'd marry his partner in a minute if he had the chance.

ARENA: Applause and plot lines. Forget about a Broadway play. It is the daily drama playing out in this year's presidential race, and this political road show could be coming soon to a stage near you.

President Bush takes his re-election campaign to Houston today, where he'll attend a rodeo and fund-raiser.

And John Kerry is also touring the South. The current star of the Democratic race is in Mississippi, where he'll attend church in Jackson and speak at a historically black college.

Mississippi is one of four states holding a primary on Tuesday.


Debate Ensues Over Whether Gay Marriage is Civil Rights Issue; Yankee- Red Sox Spring Training Game Incites Interest>

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