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Religious Beliefs vs. Gay Rights; Clinton Paving Way for 2016 Run; "12 Years a Slave" Going to Classrooms

Aired February 27, 2014 - 08:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: No proof of what you're saying?

BILL DONOHUE, PRESIDENT, THE CATHOLIC LEAGUE: I do - I do have proof that kids who come from one-parent families don't do as well as kids who come from two-parent families.

CUOMO: So does that matter gay or straight? Does gay or straight matter?

DONOHUE: Well - well, all I know is this, why should --

CUOMO: So you should want gay marriage. You should want gay marriage because single parent families are a problem.

DONOHUE: Why should we want - well, why -- why would we want a social experiment with an institution, which has served us well for over 2,000 years? Why do we experiment with this?

CUOMO: You just said -- because you have single parent families and they deserve the try to do whatever a straight person does. You said respect them as individuals.

DONOHUE: No, I - what I'm saying is that they -

CUOMO: How do you respect them as an individual if you don't give them the right that an individual has?

DONOHUE: What I'm saying is that the gold -- the gold standard is a father and a mother creating a family. That's what was ordained by nature and nature's God. Yet --

CUOMO: Marriage was not ordained by nature. Most mammals don't couple.

DONOHUE: Have - have you noticed that -

CUOMO: I think beavers and elephants or something do (ph).

DONOHUE: Have you noticed anatomically there's a goodness of fit between a man and a woman?

CUOMO: Nobody's arguing that this is how you procreate -

DONOHUE: Well - well, that's - that -

CUOMO: But marriage is about love -- DONOHUE: The - that's the point. No.

CUOMO: And commitment -

DONOHUE: No, it isn't.

CUOMO: And the right to it is about equality and you know that.

DONOHUE: No. Marriage is about family. Marriage is about family. It's not about love. Two sisters can love each other. Two people --

CUOMO: Marriage is not about love? Are you married?

DONOHUE: That's an odd -- that's an odd idea, by the way, in western history. The idea that two people should get married on the basis of love. Now, hopefully people do love each other.

CUOMO: Hold on. Hold on. Hold on. Hold on one second.

DONOHUE: Marriage has always been based historically on duty and on commitment.

CUOMO: It's about love. You faith is about love.

DONOHUE: Today, in our society, it is.

CUOMO: The duty, the commitment grows out of love.

DONOHUE: If they love each other, that's great. It can't be the condition, otherwise you can sanction all the kinds of things I'm talking about.

CUOMO: Bill, first of all, let's -

DONOHUE: What?

CUOMO: There's a lot here. We don't have the time to discuss them. But I do think we want to come back to a couple of basic propositions. In Arizona, there was no legal force making business owners do business with gay people if they don't want to. So the law, fundamentally, was unnecessary. The governor said it. That's why she vetoed it.

The bigger proposition is, why do you want to discriminate against gays? You say, we don't as individuals, only the marriages bother us.

DONOHUE: Right. That's right.

CUOMO: But that's the same thing because their right as an individual is to marry.

DONOHUE: No, it isn't.

CUOMO: You do not own marriage. It was not developed by Christians. It is a civil situation. It's secular.

DONOHUE: That's right. We - the Catholic Church -- CUOMO: If they are equal, they have equal rights and --

DONOHUE: The Catholic Church got its ideas on sexuality from Jews. That's correct. And this --

CUOMO: And your idea that marriage is better between a man or -- and a woman -

DONOHUE: Well, I -

CUOMO: Is really about it being about one versus two, love versus not having love. That's what it's about.

DONOHUE: I have Christianity, I have Judaism, I have the Muslims, I have Mormons, I have most of the world -

CUOMO: Right.

DONOHUE: Who regard this idea as being bizarre, that two men should get married. This idea, historically, that two men should get married because they're in love with each other, I don't know. I don't want to go there.

CUOMO: Well, first of all, you say love isn't part of marriage.

DONOHUE: I - I would - I would love to have it.

CUOMO: Thank God I didn't say that because my wife would want to kill me.

DONOHUE: What I'm saying is that historically speaking, love is a condition of marriage is very new. If people were in love -

CUOMO: I -

DONOHUE: Hopefully they -- my daughter got married last July -

CUOMO: I don't -

DONOHUE: And hopefully she'll stay happily married.

CUOMO: I can't even - I don't even know where to start on that, that love is not a condition of marriage. I mean, really, I can't -

DONOHUE: Duty and commitment.

CUOMO: Of course, but they're all - they grow from it.

DONOHUE: Right.

CUOMO: And the last point is this. You're in a tough spot. And here's why, other than just sitting across from me, which is always not pleasant. But the -- here's the problem. These Christians who are more of the extreme, who take the Bible as literal interpretation -

DONOHUE: Go ahead (ph). CUOMO: Or they're following a specific pastor, they're going to have their own rigid beliefs. You have a leader in your church -

DONOHUE: Right.

CUOMO: The pope.

DONOHUE: Right.

CUOMO: And his message that is drawing so much acclaim, that is bringing so many people back to your church, is so different from the one you're offering up. And I know you have your op-ed coming up that says that when the pope said, who's it for me to judge gays, he was making an assumption that there are gays who are seeking God.

DONOHUE: Right.

CUOMO: By the way, you can be gay and be seeking God.

DONOHUE: Absolutely.

CUOMO: And he's saying love, he's saying forgive -

DONOHUE: Yes.

CUOMO: He's saying include.

DONOHUE: And I agree with him.

CUOMO: And that is not what that law was about and that's not what you're saying.

DONOHUE: Well, I - let me tell you, I do believe -- people ought to love gays as we would straights. I'm all in favor of that. And discrimination against gays is wrong. I think the institution of marriage --

CUOMO: Then gays should marry.

DONOHUE: Well, see, I'm making an distinction between individuals. You're bleeding the individual into the institution. I think sociologically that's not correct.

CUOMO: All right. Well, then we'll leave it there. I appreciate you making the points.

DONOHUE: Thank you so much.

CUOMO: This is very important. It's bigger than law. It's about where we move as a society. The law is moving us in one direction. People of faith have a problem with it, so it's an important discussion.

DONOHUE: Thank you so much.

CUOMO: A pleasure.

All right, what do you think? Use #newday. Let's keep this debate going.

Kate.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Coming up next on NEW DAY, Hillary Clinton takes the stage in Miami and seems to whip up - whip the crowd into a bit of a frenzy. A lot of supporters in the crowd, clearly. And a new poll shows most Democrats want her to run in 2016. So is she gearing up to try for the White House once again?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Here we go. Time for the five things you need to know for your new day.

We start at number one, as always. Breaking news. Ukraine's parliament has just elected an interim prime minister. It happened hours after armed men took over a parliament building in the country's southern region and raised the Russian flag.

Arizona's governor has vetoed a controversial bill that would have permitted business owners to refuse to serve gays and lesbians because of their religious beliefs.

South Korea says North Korea has fired four short-range missiles off its east coast. The U.S. and South Korea are currently conducting drills nearby, but it's unclear if those missiles were aimed at them.

Nutrition labels are in for an overhaul. The FDA changing them to put a bigger emphasis on calories and added sugars and to show that serving sizes that are better reflective of just how much people are actually eating.

And at number five, NASA making an out of this world discovery. Seven hundred and fifty new planets all found by the Kepler Space Telescope. Four of them are in NASA's habitable zone, meaning they have the potential to support life.

We're always updating those five things. So be sure to go to newdaycnn.com for the very latest.

We're going to take a short break here on NEW DAY. Up next, what is in Hillary Clinton's future? A big speech in Miami has many people asking, is she gearing up for 2016? The latest, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOLDUAN: Welcome back.

This morning, there's fresh speculation that Hillary Clinton will run for president in 2016. She, of course, hasn't said as much, but a close listen to her speech last night in the key swing state of Florida, you'd think she was campaigning for something. Our senior political correspondent Brianna Keilar has the story from Miami.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Right off the top of her remarks here at the University of Miami, Hillary Clinton weighed in on the hot topic of the day.

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Thankfully, the governor of Arizona has vetoed the discriminatory legislation that was passed recognizing that inclusive leadership is really what the 21st century is all about.

KEILAR: Praising Governor Jan Brewer for striking down a bill that would have allowed companies to refuse services to gay patrons. She also talked health care.

CLINTON: There's been so many misconceptions about what's in the Affordable Care Act.

KEILAR: In an earlier speech in Orlando, Clinton proposed fixes to Obamacare. But near Miami, she pitched the thousands of students in the audience on the importance of signing up.

CLINTON: You want to go try your hand at film-making or an Internet start-up or be an artist, you will have the opportunity now to do that without assuming disproportionately the risk that something could happen to you or when you're married or have children to your families.

KEILAR: Clinton leads the pack of Democrats considering a 2016 bid. A new poll by "The New York Times" and CBS News finds that 82 percent of Democrats want her to run. Clinton is ramping up her public speaking engagements, allowing her to advance her narrative as Republicans take aim.

GOP critics are seizing on news that many of the documents from Bill Clinton's presidency, possibly including interactions with his wife, have not been released, even though they were supposed to, by law, more than a year ago. The National Archives telling CNN 33,000 papers from the Clinton white house will be released in late March.

CLINTON: It is great being here.

KEILAR: But here in the pivotal swing state of Florida, Hillary Clinton was all about looking forward and so was this crowd.

One student's question, what does the TBD in her Twitter feed mean? Clinton demurred with a nod to her social media savvy audience.

CLINTON: Well, I'd really like to, but I have no characters left.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: Now she has said that she will make her decision known on whether she's running for president by the end of this year and for the pack of Democrats trailing so far behind Clinton, it can't come soon enough -- Chris and Kate.

BOLDUAN: You put it perfectly, Brianna. Thank you very much. Have fun in Miami. Wish we were there right now.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, the Oscars are this weekend. We're going to hear from past nominees and celebrities like Cher about what it is like to be there.

CUOMO: All right. We're going to talk Oscars.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: Now, as I was saying before I was rudely interrupted by that commercial, we're going to talk Oscars. But first, let's go to the couch. After you, darling.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOLDUAN: And on that note: George Clooney, Jennifer Hudson, Chris Cuomo, Steven Spielberg, the list goes on and on -- all appearing tonight in the CNN Film's premiere of "AND THE OSCAR GOES TO", 85 years of highlights, history and never before seen backstage footage. Here's a little preview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The room fills up with losers. For everyone who wins, there are four who don't. And they are bitter. And they sit there and they're not interested in the jokes anymore.

BOB HOPE, ACTOR: Keep your eyes on the losers tonight as they applaud the winners. You'll see great understanding, great sportsmanship, great acting.

CHER: The thing that's terrible is that one minute you are a nominee and the next minute, you are a loser.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The winner is --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The winner is --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The winner is -- may I have the envelope?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very memorable from that night.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Losing.

TOM HANKS, ACTOR: And the winner is -- "The Hurt Locker".

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We ducked out and didn't go to the Governor's Ball and went to In-N-Out instead. This little lady walked up to me and said, "Didn't you just win an Oscar?" I said, no. And I bit into my double-double up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: All I'm thinking about is double-double up.

"AND THE OSCAR GOES TO" airs tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

Coming up on NEW DAY, Montel Williams is going to tell us why he believes every high school student should have to watch the Oscar nominated film "12 Years a Slave".

It's great to have him.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who were your masters?

CHIWETEL EJIOFOR, ACTOR: Master name of Freeman (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was he a learned man?

EJIOFOR: I suppose so.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He learned you to read?

EJIOFOR: A word here or there. But I have no understanding of the written --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't trouble yourself with it. Same as the rest -- master bought you here to work. That's all. Any more will earn you 100 lashes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PEREIRA: Welcome back.

You just saw a scene from the critically-acclaimed film "12 Years a Slave". It has been nominated for nine Academy awards. And now the National School Board Association just announced that powerful film based on the memoir by the very same name will be distributed to public high schools across the country.

TV personality Montel Williams played a key role in coordinating the distribution of the film to schools. And guess what? He is here with me right now.

It's always a delight.

MONTEL WILLIAMS, TV PERSONALITY: Thank you.

PEREIRA: You gave a little fist pump.

WILLIAMS: I did.

PEREIRA: This means a lot to you.

WILLIAMS: 23 years ago, I was involved in getting the motion picture "Glory" distributed in every high school across the country. It became a curriculum in lots of places across this country. People, I was told by a person yesterday, they were called into the auditorium and they had to sit there and watch the movie "Glory".

I was at a special screening of the movie. I sat beside Steve McQueen and Chiwetel and we were talking. Steve McQueen said his dream was to always have this movie in schools. I said really? OK.

This was three weeks before Christmas. Three weeks before Christmas.

PEREIRA: And here we are.

WILLIAMS: And here we are. And what was crazy is because everything just kind of came together. Fox Searchlight came together, you know. The National School Board came together. And I went down and spoke before them and they said, "Look this is an opportunity for us to have something that tells the truth and can emotionally involve children in a way that they'll understand what the pain of this era caused and it could cause again.

PEREIRA: It was one of my questions for you. How do we do that? Because teaching history to kids, especially kids today, when they've got all of the new-fangled devices and technology and we have this sort of, I don't know, a lack of patience for stories, it would seem, how do we make it relevant to today's kids? How do we make them feel?

WILLIAMS: I think it's a testament to Steve McQueen and all the actors in this movie. You can't watch this movie --

PEREIRA: Without being moved.

WILLIAMS: -- you can't.

PEREIRA: Yes, I know.

WILLIAMS: If you aren't moved, there's something wrong with you. No sense of (inaudible). I mean I sat in a special screening here in New York City and I turned around at one point in time, the entire room was crying. Now do you say that I don't want to see it because it will make me cry? No, you need to see it --

PEREIRA: Well, to that end, let's have that discussion. But the fact is this is a slightly more sensitive audience -- high school kids. We're talking about showing it to high school kids.

WILLIAMS: Sure. They are the ones who are going to change America.

PEREIRA: How do we couch it because I don't believe that we should shy away from it because it is the truth, but how do we make sure that they can handle what they are seeing? Do you know what I mean?

WILLIAMS: Incredible. Penguin Books who released the book itself -- Penguin wrote a full curriculum for this. So the movie is not just --

PEREIRA: They talk about it.

WILLIAMS: There's a curriculum. There's a way for teachers to engage students in the discussion so that we're not just saying, this is a slavery thing happening. PEREIRA: Right.

WILLIAMS: No, you need to understand because right now there are children being enslaved around the world.

PEREIRA: 30 million.

WILLIAMS: You know, we are just passing legislation, we are passing legislation in America, watch this, to see if we can turn back the clock and start enslaving people again. When we allow people to discriminate against one portion in our society like they're going to try to do in Arizona, is this not a slippery slope to say we can allow anything else and a sense of degradation of people?

PEREIRA: The age-old if we don't know our history, we're doomed to repeat it, right?

WILLIAMS: Correct. No ifs, ands or buts.

PEREIRA: Did it make you -- I know it did for me watching the film. It was difficult and I tell people it was one of the most difficult films I've had to watch but it was one of the most important films I've watched.

WILLIAMS: No question.

PEREIRA: It made me think about my own history lesson (inaudible).

WILLIAMS: Sure.

PEREIRA: I'm sure it did the same for you.

WILLIAMS: I'm a little older. So back, back, back when we went to school, we did attempt to tell the story of slavery the right way because remember, I went to elementary school and high school when there were marches and riots across this country in the 60s. And so I lived this experience.

Most kids today don't even remember that happened. They can't remember before, you know, the first rap tune came out. I think we need to really stop for a second.

PEREIRA: Do you think that you're going to be pushing for further works like this to be brought into our schools? Where do you want to go from here?

WILLIAMS: This has been a wonderful opportunity for me -- two times in my life to affect the education of America's children. I'll leave it up to a lot of other people to take that journey.

PEREIRA: I like that. . This was a chance encounter.

WILLIAMS: It was. I did it. Let's get it done.

PEREIRA: Thank you for making this a priority. And let's hope we can change how our kids are -- well, they are already better off than we are, aren't they?

WILLIAMS: Oh, no question.

PEREIRA: No question.

WILLIAMS: I think this generation is the one that's going to lead. That's why I want them to see this so much.

PEREIRA: Montel Williams always a pleasure.

WILLIAMS: Thank you.

PEREIRA: Kate, Chris.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Michaela. Thank you so much.

And thanks for being with us. A lot of news happening though today so let's get over to Carol Costello and the "NEWSROOM" -- Carol.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks a lot, Kate.

"NEWSROOM" starts now.