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Hillary Clinton: Secretary of State?/Controversy Over Same-Sex Marriage

Aired November 14, 2008 - 21:00   ET


JOY BEHAR, GUEST HOST: Tonight, breaking news -- how does Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sound?
She's met with President-Elect Obama.

Is a job offer on the table?


SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm not going to speculate or address anything.


BEHAR: She's not spilling the beans, but we are.

Plus, what was a battle over same-sex marriages is now an all-out war. Election day bans have soldiers on both sides fired up and ready to fight. Cynthia Nixon and Mayor Gavin Newsom face off against those who are fiercely against gay unions.

Is your marriage anybody's business or everybody's?

Right now, on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening.

I'm not Larry King.

I'm Joy Behar from "The View," sitting in for Larry tonight.

We begin with breaking news.

Is Hillary Clinton about to be named secretary of State?

She and President-Elect Obama had a secret meeting that's not so secret anymore.

Here's what Senator Clinton said earlier today about the prospects.


CLINTON: I disagreed with his continuing to say that he would meet with some of the worst dictators in the world without preconditions and without the real, you know, understanding of what we would get.

I'm not going to speculate or address anything about the president-elect's incoming administration. And I'm going to respect his process. And any inquiry should be directed to his transition team.


BEHAR: OK. We've got a great group here to discuss all the possibilities.

Hilary Rosen a CNN contributor, political director and Washington editor-at-large for She supported Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential bid.

From Arizona, CNN senior political analyst, David Gergen, has served as a White House adviser to President Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton.

And from Washington, D.C. , Lanny Davis. Lanny has known Senator Clinton since their days at Yale Law School. He served as special counsel to President Bill Clinton and he supported her 2008 presidential bid.

But joining us first is CNN's senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley, with the very latest -- Candy, hi.


How are you?

It's good to talk to you.

Look, the very latest is this, that CNN has been told by Democrats -- top Democrats -- that in that meeting yesterday there was serious talk about the position of secretary of State. But as far as we can tell, we have not found anyone to say that there has been an offer.

What these sources tell us is that Barack Obama basically talked to Hillary Clinton about whether she would accept the secretary of State position, if he were to offer it. So you don't -- you don't want to be president-elect and offer somebody something and to have them turn it down. So it seems like a preliminary step here.

But sources -- those of Gloria Borger and others, say that she came away with the impression she could have the job if she wanted it.

One of the more telling things I think about this story is that we're not getting huge push-back from the Obama camp, that they're not saying this isn't true. And they've been very good about knocking down stories that are out there that they say look, this is not happening. It's bad information. And we haven't heard a word about this.

BEHAR: You know, Candy, you covered Senator Obama when he was running white quite a bit. How do you think he really feels about Hillary?

What's your opinion?

CROWLEY: I think that -- yes, I mean, listen, I think he is, at this point, very confident about being president. I think that he is a practical politician and that he really does sincerely want a very -- I think he wants a superstar cabinet. I think the idea intrigues him. I think it is not personal. I think it is pragmatic and I think it is political.

BEHAR: It is.

But is it change, that's the question?

Is it change, really?

CROWLEY: Well, their relationship?

BEHAR: Uh-huh.

CROWLEY: Listen, I think their...


CROWLEY: ...these are -- both of these people are grownups and they understand that politics is hardball. And they also understand that you have to move on. And it's amazing what political rivals can get past when there's a mutually beneficial suggestion out there.

So do I think that they love each other?

Probably not.

Do I think they can get past this?

Yes, because I've seen politicians get past a lot worse feuding.


Thank you Candy, very much.

It's always to pleasure to see you on CNN.

OK. Let's go to our panel.

David Gergen, hi, how are you, David?

Are you there?


It's good to talk to you.

BEHAR: Hi. GERGEN: Yes, I am.

BEHAR: How are you?

GERGEN: Can you hear me?

BEHAR: Do you think they...


BEHAR: Do you think that they have to love each other?


GERGEN: No. No. Of course not. You know, and Barack Obama is a student of history. And he said some months ago that he had been reading Lincoln's book on "Team of Rivals" and how Lincoln had asked heavyweights who were much more prominent than he was at the time he ran for the nomination on the Republican Party 1860 -- he asked them to come join his cabinet. As it turned out, his secretary of State, who was a rival, William Seward, became his closest ally in the cabinet.

And these things happen in politics. And I believe that from Barack Obama's point of view, there are enormous -- Hillary Clinton brings some enormous assets to this position, one that I think he would feel very comfortable -- I think he would be proud to have her as secretary of State.

BEHAR: But he did campaign on change. And Hillary Clinton is an ultimate insider in Washington.

So isn't that a little bit going against the -- what he campaigned about -- on?

GERGEN: Well, I think that...

BEHAR: I mean...

GERGEN: ...and Lanny Davis can speak to this. Well, it doesn't -- I think Hillary Clinton came to Washington as an agent of change. And -- you know, when she first came with Bill Clinton. And they were very much in the change mold. And she has, you know, spent a lot of years trying to change a lot of things. In some she's succeeded, in some she did not, such as health care.

But she's still dedicated to reform. She's a reform-minded person. And I think that, from her point of view, the hard choice is whether she should stay in the Senate, where she could possibly be the architect of a health care plan passed, or whether she would like to, in a sense, mold the world.

And I -- you know, the fact is the Senate thing is a little problematic. She's not a senior senator. She doesn't run a committee. Not part of the leadership. She's not part of the leadership and that may take some years. To have a chance to go and be secretary of State and change the world, that's pretty attractive.

BEHAR: Yes, that's pretty good.

But, Lanny, do you think that this is a bold stroke if he puts her as secretary of State or is it to cover up a weakness that he -- he might have?

What do you think about that?

LANNY DAVIS, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL, PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: Well, first of all, thank you, David. You always say what I want to say about referring to the Doris Kearns Goodwin book.

But I think because it is a strength of Barack Obama that he wants to go for the best, that he's not worried about who is associated with prior administrations. Change is about policies. And if Hillary Clinton decides that she can be an effective secretary of State and Barack Obama wants her, she will be implementing the president's policies, not her policies.

As long as I've known her, which is almost 40 years, Joy, she's a great listener. She can step into other people's shoes and see the world through their eyes.

That's what Barack Obama stands for in a changed foreign policy, where instead of dictating to the rest of the world, we are engaging and we are having dialogue. And, clearly, Clinton, if she decides to do this -- and I no idea what her thinking is -- she would be an outstanding agent of Barack Obama's change attitude toward the world.

BEHAR: Hilary, where are the leaks coming from, by the way?

Do you know anything?

HILARY ROSEN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know, the Obama team wanted people to know, I think, that their boss is trying to be the best boss he can, which is -- that means you hire the smartest people you can find. And it's important to them that he be seen, I think, as going out and looking for top talent. And so I think some of them have an interest in doing this.

I think you saw Senator Clinton be somewhat circumspect. I think she and her team are being pretty circumspect. But, as a practical matter, you know, you -- when your folks like this, you don't -- you know, you don't get presidential motorcades and Secret Service motorcades going through the town of Chicago and expect to keep things secret for very long.

BEHAR: That's true.

That's a good point.

(LAUGHTER) ROSEN: Let me address one quick issue, which is what change means. Change means, you know, no more George Bush. Change means what Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton both campaigned on, which is, you know, using our power in the world to build alliances, to solve problems with important allies across the country, to restore America's standing in the world. I mean and on those sorts of key foreign policy philosophies, they're very much in sync. And that's why she's an excellent choice for him.

BEHAR: OK. I want to hear more about this and we're going to have more on Senator Hillary Clinton.

Will her next title be secretary of State?

See you after the break.


BEHAR: Welcome back.

We're talking about Hillary Clinton and her possibly being the next secretary of State in the Barack Obama administration -- the man she slammed in the primaries for his lack of experience.

David Gergen, I want to ask you, what about Richardson and John Kerry?

What about them?

GERGEN: Well, they...

BEHAR: Are they now being just tossed aside for secretary of State?

GERGEN: I don't think they're being tossed aside.


BEHAR: Go ahead.

GERGEN: No, I don't think they're being tossed aside. But I -- and there are others, of course, who are -- Chuck Hagel, a Republican; Sam Nunn. There's a fairly lengthy list now of people who might -- who have been talked about as secretary of State. But I do think...

BEHAR: But, but, but, but...

GERGEN: go back to Hillary's...


GERGEN: But to go back to Hilary's point about, you know, the trucks rolling through Chicago, it is unimaginable to me that Barack Obama would invite Hillary Clinton to Chicago for a meeting that was sure to be public unless he intended to offer her the secretary of State job. And it's unimaginable for me to believe that she would go to Chicago to have such a discussion unless she were seriously interested.

That's not to say that she's made her mind up. It is to say that it must intrigue her. She has some difficult questions to sort out, not only about what she wants to do, but there are questions, also, of course, about Bill Clinton, who has been deeply engaged in international affairs in recent years through his Clinton Global Initiative.

What happens to that?

You know, where does all that go?

I think they -- those are not easy questions to resolve.

BEHAR: But Bill Richardson basically turned on the Clintons and supported Obama. And now if he picks Hillary and sort of disses Richardson, that doesn't really go down well, does it?

GERGEN: Well, you know, Bill Richardson is also a pro and he understands the point that Barack Obama is trying to form a national government -- you know, a team of rivals. It's a real group of heavyweights, of all stars, as Candy Crowley said earlier.

And he understands this. There may be other jobs in the administration that he would like. I can imagine two or three others where he could be most effective. He might like to go back to Energy, where he did a very good job. And we've got a huge process ahead of us to get a major energy bill and deal with global warming.

So I think that you have to look at it from the point of view -- from Barack Obama's point of view. And that is, with the economy cratering -- and, you know, and the economy is still going down rapidly. He's going to have to be preoccupied next year with domestic affairs. He very much would be well-served by somebody who could hit the ground running as secretary of State, who knows all the players around the world, who's very familiar and will be celebrated around the world as secretary of State.

BEHAR: Well, David...

GERGEN: And Hillary Clinton fulfills that...


GERGEN: ...that bill for him.


But, Lanny, what about Bill Clinton?

How much is he going to be involved if Hillary is the secretary of State?

Are they getting two for one again?

Is that what the deal is? DAVIS: Bill Clinton is going to go back to being Bill Clinton, the emissary to the world and, with George Bush I, all the good that he did for people around the world in need, whether they had AIDS or are the victims of tsunami.

And with Hillary Clinton as secretary of State, if she is secretary of State, I think that Barack Obama has proven to me -- and, again, to quote David, "Why not the best and bring the best people around you?"

It's not a question -- this isn't a personality contest between highly qualified individuals Bill Richardson or John Kerry would make outstanding secretary of State.

He is picking people who he thinks would serve him best, the way Abraham Lincoln did, even though they were his rivals.

So Bill Clinton can serve his administration by going back to what Bill Clinton did best, which is to be an emissary to the world, especially the people who are hurting and suffering in the underdeveloped world. And with Hillary Clinton as secretary of State, she is a good listener, as I said, but she will engage with the very countries that we have dissed -- to use your word -- under eight years of this administration. And Barack Obama has made it clear that he wants dialogue, not confrontation, with the parts of the world where we need to be having these conversations.

ROSEN: Let's not overplay...


ROSEN: ...though, this, you know, "Team of Rivals" analogy. I think that it can be somewhat overused here. Originally, I think, when Barack Obama was talking about the "Team of Rivals," he was talking about Republicans. He wasn't talking about other Democrats.

You know, for the last six months, Hillary Clinton has been campaigning to elect him president. That's not exactly particularly rivalry. So that, you know, she's a team player.

I think when you -- when Democrats come together, as they have in this election, to do something historic, you know, there's only so many of those jobs to go around. And Democrats are going to get the bulk of them.

BEHAR: So we're not going to see John McCain in the cabinet or Sarah Palin, is that what you're saying, Hillary?


ROSEN: Pretty unlikely.


ROSEN: Pretty unlikely. DAVIS: Although, with all due respect, Abraham Lincoln picked members of his own party who were his rivals for the nomination. That's why David and I and Barack Obama referred to Doris Kearns Goodwin's book.

BEHAR: I see.

DAVIS: But Hillary does make a point that the combination that he wants are the best people and he will pick Republicans. And I think Chuck Hagel is one of them, who is bipartisan and maybe different from him on economics and conservative on other issues, but on foreign policy, I think Chuck Hagel will be somehow involved in his administration, as so might Dick Lugar and other Republicans that don't agree with him on everything.

GERGEN: Yes. And, Joy...

BEHAR: It's deja vu all over again.

GERGEN: Joy, can I ask a...


Go ahead.

GERGEN: Can I ask Hilary a question, because she knows the -- she knows the feminine leaders of the Democratic Party so well. Many of them have been objecting to Larry Summers at Treasury because of statements he made that I think -- for which I think he should be forgiven.

If Hillary were to become secretary of State, does that make it easier for Barack Obama to appoint Larry Summers?

ROSEN: Oh, I don't think that the key women leaders really are going to -- would object to Larry Summers. I think that there are other practical reasons why they would look for a wider slew of choices than Larry Summers -- somebody that has potentially more hands-on financial management experience and the like.


ROSEN: But I don't think it's a feminist issue, at this point, with Larry Summers.

BEHAR: OK. Then that...

ROSEN: But Hillary would be a big boon for, you know, women generally in this job.

BEHAR: Thank you all very much for coming on with me tonight.

DAVIS: Thank you, Joy.

BEHAR: I appreciate it.

Have a good night.

GERGEN: Thank you.

BEHAR: OK. And we will be back in a minute.


BEHAR: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE.

I'm Joy Behar.

You're looking live at a protest outside CNN in Los Angeles. Demonstrators are calling for an end to bans on gay marriage. On election day, voters in three states -- Florida, California and Arizona effectively banned same-sex marriage.

We'll devote the rest of the show to this issue.

Before we start, I've made my views on gay rights well known. I'm a big supporter. That said, expect an even-handed, spirited debate in which both sides of the issue are fairly represented.

First up, Cynthia Nixon. Many of you know the award-winning actress as Miranda on "Sex and the City." She's in a committed same- sex relationship and she campaigned against the ballot measure in Florida that defined marriage as the union between a man and a woman.

Earlier today, I asked her about some very personal things and her stake in this.


BEHAR: Florida, California and Arizona have all voted to ban same-sex marriages.

What do you think?

CYNTHIA NIXON, ACTRESS, SUPPORTS GAY MARRIAGE: I think it's disappointing. I think it's a setback. But I think it's a minor setback. I think we might have won these -- we might have lost these particular battles, but there is no question that time is on our side and we are going to win the war.

BEHAR: So you think the next time around, we're going to win?

NIXON: Absolutely. I mean, if you look at, you know, Proposition 8 was passed, but it was passed but passed by about 4 points, which is -- you know, the margin of error is pretty much that.

BEHAR: Right.

NIXON: If you look in 2000, eight years ago, when there was a similar proposition, it passed by 22 points.

BEHAR: Right. NIXON: I mean that's an enormous distance to go in just eight years. BEHAR: Yes. And most people voted on a Tuesday.

NIXON: Yes. You know, I mean it's an interesting thing. You know, we were polling right up until election day. And if you polled people in the beginning of the week and the end of the week, it was very different. At the beginning of the week, they were for Proposition 8. At the end of the week, they were against Proposition 8. And the only explanation anybody could come up with was on a Monday or a Tuesday, having been to church on Sunday, their ministers were telling them to vote a certain way. And as the week wore on, they started, you know, looking at that with a grain salt and thinking for themselves and thinking hmmm, I don't really know that I agree with my minister completely.

BEHAR: So you think if election day was on a Thursday, you...

NIXON: There are people who say if election day was on a Thursday or a Friday, it might have gone a different way, as it did in the polls leading -- leading up.

BEHAR: I'm sure that it must have been disappointing to you that President-Elect Obama is against gay marriage, you know that. He's for civil unions, though.

NIXON: Well, I think it's important to remember he's not just for civil unions. He is for civil unions that have all the rights and benefits of marriage, which civil unions and domestic partnerships do not at all right now.


NIXON: He's for the repeal of The Defense of Marriage Act. He's for don't ask/don't tell. And so, of course, I would love him to be completely, 100 percent for marriage equality. But I feel like that would be so -- I mean if that happens, you know, at this point, maybe the American public is not quite ready to call it marriage, but to have all the benefits and rights, that would be...

BEHAR: Do you think -- I mean, I know you can't speak for the whole gay community, but do you think the gay community would be happy with that, that, you know, you just take the word marriage out of it?

It seems like some people are just insistent upon the word marriage.

NIXON: Well, I think it's really important to know all of the things that, with civil unions the way they are now, it really leaves it up to your employer.


NIXON: Is he going to -- is he or she going to give you health care benefits?

Is he or she going to give you pension rights? You know, now, with a civil union, if your -- if your partner is from another country and you have a civil union with them, that doesn't mean they get citizenship.


NIXON: But if all of these things were removed and if we could say it's a different name, but it is -- it is the same as marriage, it -- it's not the -- it's not -- that won't be the end of the game, but it will be -- it will be close to the end of the game.

BEHAR: I see.

Now, you have never been married, right?

NIXON: I have never been married.

BEHAR: And yet you have two children that you had with a man, right?

NIXON: Yes, that I was with for many years. Yes.

BEHAR: Why didn't you marry the father of your children when you had the chance to get married?


NIXON: Well, I mean, it's sort of funny.


NIXON: It's like being in the straight role so long and now I've gone into the topsy turvy world, where everybody wanted me to get married so much and now no one will let me get married.

(LAUGHTER) NIXON: You know, she and I didn't want to get married. But I also feel like there was much less legal reason for us to get married. I mean, my girlfriend now is the stay-at-home mom with our kids.

BEHAR: Christine?

NIXON: Christine -- you know, for almost a year-and-a-half now. Now, if -- their father, you know, he is their father. That's just it.

BEHAR: Right.

NIXON: But with us, if something happened to me -- if, say, I got hit by a truck or something, she would have absolutely no legal relationship to those children. She's been in their lives for almost five years.


NIXON: And...

BEHAR: So, in a way, it would be a personal decision on your -- the father's side?

He would have to say OK (INAUDIBLE) could be...

NIXON: He would have to say. And I know him.


NIXON: He's a great guy.


NIXON: I know what he would do. But she would have no legal standing and you know...

BEHAR: Yes. Because if he didn't -- if he wasn't such a great guy, then you'd have trouble?

NIXON: Absolutely.

BEHAR: The kids would have trouble.

NIXON: Absolutely, whereas if we were married...


NIXON: ...she would be -- she would be officially their stepmother.

BEHAR: So then you want to marry Christine?

NIXON: I do.

BEHAR: You do?

NIXON: I'm waiting for it to come to New York, which I don't think is going to be too long. You know, I don't want to travel to even as far as Connecticut. I want to do it in my home.


Now, you know, Melissa Etheridge, who is also out, many years at this point...


BEHAR: ...she has decided or has made a statement that I read that she will not pay taxes in California until they lift this ban. Now, I'm going to ask some other people about this, but what do you think about that?

Would you stop paying taxes in New York?

NIXON: No, I would not.

BEHAR: You wouldn't?

NIXON: I would not.

BEHAR: You wouldn't do that?

NIXON: I wouldn't. But I think it's very creative and a very, you know, bold move on her part. Absolutely.

BEHAR: What about the boycotting that's going on?

You know, they're threatening to boycott Utah because of the Mormon -- the Mormon Church getting involved in the robo-calls, etc.

Do you think that that's an impingement of free speech?

NIXON: No. I feel like one thing that we need to keep in mind here is that we do have a really strong separation in this country of church and state.

BEHAR: Right.

NIXON: And so once a church starts advocating a political point of view, I don't feel like that's -- that's free speech on their part. I feel like that is them mixing where they really don't have a...

BEHAR: So they should lose their tax-exempt status?

NIXON: If they're doing the kind of things that they have been doing. If they're making robo-calls in favor of candidates or political positions, yes. I don't -- I -- separation of church and state, very important.

BEHAR: I don't want to leave without asking you, what are you going to do next?

NIXON: You know, organize, organize, organize. I mean there are lawsuits pending in California. This is not over. But if -- if they don't go our way, you know, we're going to put it back on the ballot again. Because, as I say, time is really -- is really on our side. And we have to remember how far our country has come in such a short space of time. And I think people are really getting comfortable with the idea. I mean, you know, you look at Massachusetts and I think, you know, it just took a few years and people saw gay marriage happening in front of them and they said gay people -- gay people's marriages look just like straight people's marriages. It doesn't seem to be affecting my life at all. And I -- and I have the benefit of knowing that I'm giving -- I live in a state that gives everyone their full civil rights.

BEHAR: Cynthia Nixon, actress and activist.

Here's the live protest in Hollywood. It's still going strong.

Do you think America is ready for same-sex marriage?

That's what we're asking on our blog. Go to and click on blog. We'll air some of your comments later in the show.

Next, the war over gay marriage in California, with four riled up guests.


BEHAR: California's Proposition 8 has prompted huge rallies that might grow even bigger this weekend.

Here to discuss this red hot issue are San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. The Democrat campaigned against the measure, which prohibits same-sex marriage.

From San Diego, the Reverend Jim Garlow. He was a leading supporter of Prop 8. He's the senior pastor of Skyline Church in Rancho, San Diego.

And Dan Savage is here in New York. He's a syndicated columnist who opposed Prop 8 and what some call anti-gay measures. He is in a committed same-sex relationship and has adopted a child, a son. And here in New York, Bishop Harry Jackson Jr. joins me. He is the senior pastor at Hope Christian Church in College Park, Maryland. Pastor Jackson opposes same-sex marriage. He supported Proposition 8 in California.

Greetings, everybody. How are you?


BEHAR: Let me start with you, Dan. California voted against gay marriage. They voted against it. It's one of the most liberal states in the country. Maybe Americans just don't want it. How do you respond to that?

DAN SAVAGE, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, sometimes majorities are wrong. Once upon a time, a majority of Americans wanted the Japanese in interred in internment camps. Once upon a time, a majority of Americans restricting women from voting. Once upon a time, a majority of Americans supported slavery and Jim Crow. Majorities of Americans are frequently wrong. Majorities right now are wrong. But the majorities are getting slimmer and slimmer.

As Cynthia Nixon said in the previous segment, in 2000, it passed, an anti-gay marriage law, by 22 points. Now it passed in California by four. In four more years or eight more years, it will -- gay marriage will triumph. We will win in California, which is why the religious right is so desperate right now to amend state constitutions and the federal constitution wherever they can, because they want to take a picture, a snapshot in time, right now, of the anti-gay bigotry as it exists right now, because they can feel it slipping away.

BEHAR: Reverend Jackson, do you feel that is true? Is there a desperation in your cause?

BISHOP HARRY JACKSON JR., HOPE CHRISTIAN CHURCH: No. The only desperation is that marriage as we know it could become extinct. In the black, for example, I look at seven out of eight babies being born out of wedlock, 40 percent of young women will never get married. That's just a snapshot of where marriage is going for everybody in America.

So I'm concerned that my daughters won't find husbands and that their families won't be complete. And there's more at risk than just what's happening with gays, as what's happening with the entire culture.

BEHAR: Respond?

SAVAGE: If straight people aren't stepping up to the plate and taking responsibility when they're marrying and having children and are starting families that's not the fault of gays and lesbians. Preventing gays and lesbians from marrying doesn't improve heterosexual behavior, heterosexual families.

JACKSON: It has to do with redefining and diluting an institution. So we're dealing with the fact that this institution is troubled. There needs to be positive reinforcement of this institution. We as clergy, I think, have failed in giving the right pattern for heterosexual marriages. But that is something we address at the same time.

BEHAR: Why not throw your efforts behind that, by improving heterosexual marriages?

JACKSON: That we are. I think it has to be both. If we are redefined, I'm not willing to say what if, in the black community -- we've got nine out of ten babies born out of wedlock. What if, in the black community, we have 60 percent of our young women not getting married at all? That's unacceptable to me.

SAVAGE: Then ban divorce. Attack heterosexual shortcomings. Take the fight to the heterosexual family and heterosexuals who are behaving badly. Don't attack a very tiny percentage of the population who want to do the right thing, who want to be responsible. My partner and I have adopted a son. It would be in that child's best interest if his parents were married. The same state that signed off on our adoption, that approved our adoption, will not let that child's parents marry. How does that protect that child? How does that protect a heterosexual family?

BEHAR: Let me ask Reverend Garlo also that question. Is your opposition to gay marriage based on religion only, reverend?

REV. JIM GARLOW, SKYLINE CHURCH: It's based on a number of thing. For one thing, the people have spoken and we live in a democracy. Thirty states have spoken on this issue, and all 30 states have spoken very clearly. Marriage is one man, one woman. It was taken away by Californians once by four judges, a judicial oligarchy, and now they are attempting to take it away once again.

The fact that I live in a democracy is a major factor. The fact I'm a pastor of a church and I care about the Bible -- The Bible begins with a marriage, ends with a wedding, one man, one woman. When Jesus spoke on this topic, he spoke very specifically, one man, one woman. He quoted from the Book of Genesis. The Bible is clearly an anchor, a source for me. The very fact that we live in a democracy and the people have spoken -- they've spoken across the nation on this, on an average of 68 percent, average passing rate in 30 states on this issue.

BEHAR: There are other things in the Bible that I'm sure you object to, right?

SAVAGE: We do live in a democracy. As I said earlier, majorities are frequently wrong. Our founding father looked to the religious war in Europe in the 16th century and the 18th centuries and they were smart enough to write the Bill of Rights, carve things out for majority rule and say that there are individual liberties.

Our system is not just mob rule. We have individual liberties protected by the judiciary. That's their role to say certain things are constitution, unconstitutional. There are things that majorities may not do under our system. That may not sit well with everyone, but that is our system. Once upon a -- when interracial marriage was approved by the courts, when those laws banning interracial marriage were repealed by "judicial oligarchies," a majority of the country would have voted to restrict had it been put on the ballot, interracial marriages.

As I said earlier, majorities are frequently wrong. Sometimes in America, you have to look at what the majority thinks and doubt its wisdom, because the majority of Americans have often been wrong throughout history.

SAVAGE: That's such a false argument right there.

BEHAR: Let me interrupt you. Mayor Newsom, what do you think about the fact that these religious organizations are getting involved in politics? How do you respond to that?

MAYOR GAVIN NEWSOM (D), SAN FRANCISCO: Look, I respect people of faith and I respect the separation of church and state, and I respect the rights of people of faith to have different opinions as elected officials. And we often see that in issues of choice and birth control, recognizing divorce or not recognizing a divorce, embryonic stem cell research and the like. It doesn't surprise me on the issue of same-sex marriage.

But I want to pick up where Dan left off. In 1967, we had a radical court, the U.S. Supreme Court, that stood on a principle that blacks shouldn't marry whites. That interracial marriage, in spite of the fact it wasn't traditional, should be afforded to people that were being denied it in 16 states. Seventy percent of Americans opposed that decision; 70 percent of Americans would never have supported that decision.

So the principle of submitting the rights of a minority to the whims of a majority is one of the reason we have a Constitution. And, Joy, we didn't just change the law here in the state of California. It's very different than Florida and Arizona. We actually changed our Constitution to take rights away that were legally afforded. What Californians did has never been done in our history, save prohibition. It's an audacious thing and it's one of real alarm. What stops us from changing the Constitution to do other things by a simple majority?

BEHAR: There's a lot to talk about on this. Why can't we all just get along? I don't know if we can answer that. But we'll have more on gay marriage coming up. Stay there.


BEHAR: We're talking about same-sex marriage with our San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, Reverend Jim Garlow, Bishop Harry Jackson Jr. and Dan Savage. Reverend Jackson, 70 percent of African- Americans voted yes on Prop 8.


BEHAR: Against gay marriage. What do you make of that?

JACKSON: I think it shows that there's been a hijacking of the civil rights movement by the radical gay movement. If it were so obvious that these things are so similar, how come black people voted against it? I think it has to do with the fact that marriage is an institution that is prized. The redefinition is a problem. And also I believe that there's a measure of racism in the gay movement. Jazz Mechanic (ph) of the "Los Angeles Times" talked about this last week. She says, hey, this is a major problem. There seems to be a dual standard between black gays and white gays.

BEHAR: How is their racism? I don't understand.

JACKSON: What she is saying basically is that blacks are treated second class even within the gay movement.

BEHAR: Is that so, Dan?

SAVAGE: I would disagree with that. I would also disagree that there's been a hijacking of the civil rights movement by the gay rights movement. I respect the unique African-American experience on this continent over the last 400 years.

JACKSON: You can't --

SAVAGE: The African-American civil rights movement will always be the Civil Rights Movement, all caps. It is the Civil Rights Movement. Ours is a civil rights movement. There are parallels between our civil rights movement and the African American civil rights movement. But there is not an equation drawn by gays and lesbians. It's a very different experience.

JACKSON: You can't connect the dots. Wayne Beason wrote for "Huffington Post" on November 7th that he felt if educate blacks a little more, they'll come along, that it's because they're not that informed that they're not for this issue.

BEHAR: Well, that's one person's opinion. JACKSON: Yes, but if it was so obvious, wouldn't more blacks get it? I think there's a moral reason for this. There's a problem -- we in the black community especially understand America's in moral free fall. And right now, why take one of the basic building blocks, pull it out of the foundation and destabilize what may be a teetering --

SAVAGE: Taking people who are living in committed relationship, often with children, and bringing them into the marriage fold does not destabilize marriage.

BEHAR: Reverend Garlow, do you think that homosexuality is a choice?

GARLOW: I don't think there's any proof, any conclusive proof that people are born. There's no DNA. There's no gene or something that is distinctly homosexual. But I don't want to let pass what Dan has just said a moment ago, which is completely false, the analogy between interracial marriage and this issue. In the case of interracial marriage, all that was done was affirm that marriage is one man, one woman. The reason we would support interracial people being able to marry is because it supports the definition, the fundamental definition of marriage, one man, one woman.

There is a reason why cultures all over the world have affirmed this same thing. It's not even a Bible thing or a Christian thing to them. It's because it works. A man with a sperm, a woman with a egg, produce a child and is best posture to raise and nurture and care for that child.

SAVAGE: Marriage isn't about children, necessarily. People can be married without having children. People can have children without being married. People who are infertile can be married.

BEHAR: Is gay rights a civil rights issue? That's our quick vote question tonight. Go to and weigh in. More with our guests, next.


BEHAR: OK. We're having fun now. Joy Behar back with you on LARRY KING LIVE. We're talking about same-sex marriage. Mayor Newsom, let me talk to you, because there was a case in Sacramento this week, a funeral director forced to resign because he was from the Mormon Churn and he donated 1,000 to vote yes on Prop 8. And he was -- seemed to be forced to resign. Do you think that that's fair?

NEWSOM: No, I don't. Frankly, I don't like -- on both sides of this, there's been some extreme elements that have been -- not been playing fair. Look, I have members of my own family, Joy, that disagree with me on this. I'm very passionate on this. I believe in real equality. I believe in full equality. I don't believe in separate rights for some people and separate rights or equal rights or more rights for another group of people.

I have a fundamental difference of opinion with people, but we can disagree without being disagreeable. We don't need to threaten people's jobs. The yes on 8 campaign was exposing donors during the campaign. Now the no on 8 folks are doing that after the campaign. Look, we need to agree to disagree, but now work to try to reconcile the fact that 18-plus thousand families have just been uprooted, their lives dramatically impacted. We took rights away. The Constitution was amended. This is real life for people.

BEHAR: What happens to those couples that got married?

NEWSOM: A lot of the --

BEHAR: Ellen Degeneres and Rosie O'Donnell, they all got married in California. Are they not married anymore?

NEWSOM: No, they are. They absolutely are and they will continue to be. Let me say this, there are those proponents of Prop 8 that don't want those marriages to remain legal. So they're in question. And the idea that we would put people, human beings, in this position to have afforded legal rights and then strip them away by a simple majority. It takes two-thirds in California to get a budget. It takes a simple majority to take the Constitution and throw out its constitutional protection. Let's focus on that fundamental fact.

BEHAR: Do you think that was fair?

SAVAGE: I want to defend Mark Shaman (ph) and Jeff Whitty (ph) and others who -- it was a musical theater and they produced the work of gay and lesbians artists, who when they heard that the head of this theater, who was running this theater and benefiting from their labors, had donated this money to Yes on Prop 8, and regarded them as second class citizens, and was benefiting from their labors -- they said they weren't going to work with this theater anymore, which is their right.

One of the signs that gays and lesbians are carrying around at the demonstrations -- there will be massive demonstrations across the country tomorrow, says, no more Mr. Nice Gay. We've had it up to here with being told that our relationships are somehow an existential threat or an attack on the American family, and that we're a danger to children. We -- no other minority group in the country is subject to this campaign of stripping us of our rights, amending Constitutions like this. We're not putting up with it anymore.

BEHAR: Go ahead, jump in.

GARLOW: First of all, the judges were asked to delay it until after the people voted. Eleven attorney generals from 11 different states said please wait until then. Four judges refused. They refused to do that. So the stripping of the rights, they knew all along that the people were going to be vote, because it qualified before the judges even removed Prop 22 as part of the law in the State of California.

Secondly, when we talk about the No More Mr. Nice Guy, we need to cover -- I'm here on the ground in California, where we're monitoring and tracking with 7,200 pastors, where there are rocks being thrown through church windows, where white powdery substances showing up in different places, where several couples have been beaten, numbers of individuals have been beaten. We have a lot of defacing of cars.

BEHAR: I have a question. Let me ask you, reverend, how does a gay marriage hurt you as a heterosexual? I'm wondering. How does it hurt you?

GARLOW: I wish we had about an hour for me to answer. To put it in a sound bite, every place we have historical models where same-sex marriage is validated by the government, Europe or even in the United States, we find a stripping away of the rights, parental rights of parents, number one. Number two, personal freedoms and religious freedoms all evaporate quickly.

If you want more time, I'll be glad to give you more time to walk through all the examples.

BEHAR: We don't have that much time. It's only an hour show, reverend. We'll be back in 60 seconds.


BEHAR: We've been getting lots of comments about same sex marriage on the blog tonight. LARRY KING LIVE's own David Theall tells us what you're saying. David, let's hear it.

DAVID THEALL, LARRY KING LIVE PRODUCER: Joy, what we're talking about is Prop 8, gay marriage, church opposition to, the same you've been talking about with the panel, we've been talking about on Larry's blog. It is at Our question of the day, a conversation starter, is America ready for same-sex marriage?

Some of the comments we've heard tonight, Hugh says no he doesn't think America is ready. "If liberal California voted not to recognize same-sex marriage, how are you going to get the more conservative parts of the nation to accept it?"

Michael, on the other hand, says, "ready ready or not, America needs to accept same sex marriage," because he thinks if we go backwards on this issue we're moving backwards on a civil rights issue.

Steve chimed in and talked directly to Prop 8 in California. He says, "democracy has spoken. Californians have voted twice to define what marriage is. And speaking of those voters, he says those in favor of gay marriage have shown the least amount for tolerance with others with protests, vandalism, illegal street blockings, harassment and now a blacklist.

Michelle finally chimed in with a comment that really caught our attention tonight. She says, "it can be argued that America wasn't ready for the enactment of civil rights, but we saw that through. And much of America wasn't ready for women to vote, but we're a better nation because of it." Says Michelle, "perhaps through the successes of our past, we can face a future less afraid." We're going to continue this conversation throughout the night on Larry's blog, Look to the live blog, click it, come on in. This conversation is happening under our question of the day.

BEHAR: Thank you, David. And the debate continues after the break.


BEHAR: We're back. We have a couple of minutes left. I want to ask you, Dan, about the fact that the Mormons are getting a lot of heat. Do they deserve it? I understand that some gay groups want to boycott the entire state of Utah. Can you do that to the entire state? You know, Roseanne Barr is from Utah. Not everybody in Utah is against gay marriage.

SAVAGE: Four out of five dollars that were spent -- the money raised to pass Prop 8 was funneled by the Mormon Church to California, a lot of out of state dollars. I don't think anybody should be attacking churches or attacking preachers. We're sitting here having a very polite conversation. Certainly, nobody who is responsible supports violence. But we've reached a point where attacks on the gay community are emanating from religious institutions. We have a right to protest, exercise our free speech rights outside those churches.

BEHAR: Do you think, reverend, that when the church gets involved in politics that they should lose their tax-exempt status?

JACKSON: No, the laws say we can advocate for issues like marriage. I want to talk about violence. Right now, there intolerance among gays that is not being covered on the news, people making all kind of signs on churches. Also, there are people that are speaking out and using the N word with other blacks that are out. And this is talked about in many of the blogs.

So I'm just concerned. There's intolerance in this movement that's not being shown up. I think, quite frankly, many of the news media like this one might be biassed in not showing both sides.

BEHAR: We're doing exactly that now.

SAVAGE: A lot of intolerance is being unleashed. You champion an intolerant movement, and it's reaping the whirlwind in this country when you attack a vulnerable minority group. We've seen it historically over and over again.

JACKSON: Using the N word I think is ultimate of intolerance.

BEHAR: I've got to go. You guys are fantastic. We'll wrap it up after this.


BEHAR: Unfortunately, we've run out of time. I have a parting gift for you, reverend. JACKSON: OK.

BEHAR: Is gay the new black? We're all friends here. It's really delightful.

Did you miss Larry's interview with Sarah Palin or want to see it again? Who doesn't? It airs Saturday and Sunday on LARRY KING LIVE at midnight. It's a great hour, check it out. Monday, the pregnant man is here and he's pregnant again. Oh, my goodness. That's LARRY KING LIVE Monday. Thanks, Larry, for letting me keep the seat warm yet again. Nobody can take your place.

Time now for Anderson Cooper and "AC 360."