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Jane Velez-Mitchell

Obama Reaches out to Political Rivals; Helen Mirren Makes Controversial Comments About Rape

Aired November 17, 2008 - 19:00   ET


JANE VELEZ MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, Barack Obama doesn`t just talk peace; he seems to practice peace. Why Obama`s embracing of his former campaign enemies, John McCain and Hillary Clinton, the very two he defeated, could signal a new age of peaceful politics.

An Oscar-winning dame, Helen Mirren, sparks a royal firestorm of controversy. The woman who played the queen shocks the world by suggesting women believe rape victims have only themselves to blame. Oh, really?

Plus, another front on the war on women. A mother missing for more than a week found dead. Her former husband arrested. What will it take to put an end to brutal crimes like these?

Those issues and a lot more, coming up.


VELEZ MITCHELL: Oscar-winner Helen Mirren says female jurors in rape trials are jealous of the victims. I will tell you why her outrageous comments are sparking an uproar that`s about a lot more than her reputation.

And the body of 27-year-old Wisconsin woman Alisha Sidie found Saturday. Her ex-husband led cops right there. The latest battlefront in the war on women.

But first, former adversaries Barack Obama and John McCain met face to face today for the first time since the election. On the agenda, the many enormous problems facing our country and how they can tackle them together.

Meeting with former rivals seems to be a new hobby of the president- elect. He also met with former Democratic presidential candidates Bill Richardson and Hillary Clinton last week in Chicago.

Tonight there`s a growing buzz over whether Hillary Clinton will be our next secretary of state. On "60 Minutes" last night, President-elect Obama was asked about the possibility of rivals on his cabinet.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENT-ELECT: I`ve been spending a lot of time reading Lincoln. There`s a wisdom there and a humility about his approach to government, even before he was president, that I just find -- find very helpful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put a lot of his political enemies in his cabinet.

OBAMA: He did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that something you`re considering?

OBAMA: Well, I`ll tell you what, I find him a very wise man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will there be Republicans in the cabinet?



VELEZ MITCHELL: You heard it there.

Here`s my issue tonight: Obama is practicing peace. He is reaching out to former enemies and saying, "I will embrace you and find common ground with you." How can we possibly ask Iraqis, who have seen their loved ones die, to practice peace with their enemies if we cannot practice peace with our own political enemies after an election?

Barack Obama is putting into action his philosophy of finding common ground and operating from humility rather than ego, and that really is a peace-making philosophy.

Joining me now is Representative Dennis Kucinich, a Democrat from Ohio, a former presidential candidate, and an advocate for a Department of Peace. Also, John Ridley, commentator for NPR and founder of Love that.

Now, full disclosure: first of all, I was a supporter of candidate Kucinich during this past election. We share a lot of the same views on things like fighting obesity and working for peace.

So Congressman, let me start with you and ask you, in being so peaceful and inclusive of Republicans and former rivals like Hillary Clinton, who voted for the war, does Barack Obama risk alienating the peace supporters who got him there in the first place?

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D), OHIO: Well, this really is about transforming the politics. It`s not just about one person; it`s about all of us. And those signs that we saw in the campaign trail about change, it wasn`t just about Barack Obama and changing our politics. It`s about whether our culture and our society as a whole is capable of transformative change, the kind of change that will lessen violence in the society by addressing domestic violence, spousal abuse, child abuse, the kind of violence that we have in schools. How can we address that? How can we become a more peaceful society?

And when you take change and you go innermost, what`s innermost becomes outermost, and we become more peaceful people. So, if we have leaders who can be peaceful, certainly, they help draw forth that potential from the entire population.

VELEZ MITCHELL: Well, John Ridley, I think he has been very, very peaceful, as I`ve said. Look at how he handled the whole Joe Lieberman situation. I mean, there is a so-called independent Democrat who ended up campaigning for McCain, and President-elect Obama sent out the word through his spokesperson, we will not hold a grudge against Lieberman. That is peaceful.

JOHN RIDLEY, NPR: Yes, it is peaceful, and I think it is broad- minded. I mean, the reality is, a lot of these folks from Washington are not going to go away, and they`re not going to leave Barack Obama alone. The idea is to bring people into this camp and allow not just for a broad variety of opinion, but also for dissent.

I think a lot of people have looked at the last eight years and said one of the problems with the administration was there was not a lot of dissent. There was not a lot of argumentation going on. And it`s not always a bad thing. And sometimes that can be what leads to change, is a difference of opinion.

VELEZ MITCHELL: Yes, but let me ask you this question, Congressman Kucinich: where does change or, I would say, peace-making and people- pleasing begin? If you are too accommodating to your enemies, do you end up adopting their positions?

Because a lot of peace-oriented people and anti-war activists are worried that, in -- in really bringing all these people into his administration, Barack Obama may end up back-tracking on a firm timetable for withdrawal from Iraq.

KUCINICH: Well, first of all, peace is practical. If you want to see the impracticality of war, you just look at what happened with Iraq.

Peace is not simply the absence of war, however. It`s an active presence of a capacity for looking at another person, having compassion, of being able to settle differences without violence, of seeing the other person as an aspect of oneself.

So, if Barack Obama is taking a direction that invokes peace and draws it forth from others, I think that`s an important direction for America. This goes way beyond politics. This -- this must transcend politics. And if we are able to transcend politics, then we can come to create a new condition, and that`s really what politics ought to be about, the art of not just the possible, but the art of drawing in new possibilities.

VELEZ MITCHELL: And you know, John Ridley, I`m really, profoundly impressed with this new style, which is not so much bipartisan as almost nonpartisan. And then he gets together with McCain and they talk about football, but when the cameras go away, reportedly, they talked about global warming and closing Guantanamo and ending torture, all issues that they have agreement on.

RIDLEY: Yes, I mean, that`s the thing, is that people in Washington actually do agree on some things. We see disagreement constantly, but there are -- and by the way, Barack Obama talked about this in his acceptance speech. What are those areas of common ground and how do we build on those?

And by the way, I think the American people are truly hungry to see their elected officials accomplish things. So, what are those things that they can accomplish in the near term, then start working on these larger problems? Look, just getting the troops out of Iraq is not going to happen in a day.

VELEZ MITCHELL: You know, I think this is evolutionary, what`s happening in politics, and I think everybody wants it so badly.

Briefly, Congressman Kucinich, speaking of cabinet appointments, what about the Department of Peace? You have that in Congress. You were one of the co-sponsors. Tell us where it stands and why a lot of people consider it a flaky idea. I don`t. I think it`s a great idea.

KUCINICH: Well, it`s a national movement that focuses first on domestic policy. When you look at the cost of violence in our society and everyone who`s doing this knows a story about domestic violence, spousal abuse, child abuse. We need an organized approach to deal with that in our society.

The Department of Peace talks about setting up the kind of help that families need, particularly in these hard economic times, more pressure on families, more chaos in the house.

VELEZ MITCHELL: And what about the international front? What about...

KUCINICH: Internationally, it would use the science of human relations. That`s what FDR called seeking peace, the science of human relations, to try to find that common ground so that war does not become inevitable.

You know, when you believe war becomes inevitable, war is a self- fulfilling prophecy. So if we have a president who`s determined to move in a new direction and pursue peace, that can only be a positive development, not just for our country but for the world.

VELEZ MITCHELL: Thank you, Congressman, so much for your insight. John, please stay right there. More on all these issues when we come back in just 30 seconds.


VELEZ MITCHELL: Hillary Clinton has long been the punching bag of the right, and a cabinet-level vetting process that would include Bill Clinton`s overseas business dealings, that could provide a whole lot more ammunition for the big guns on the far right.

Joining me now, Nico Pitney, national editor of "The Huffington Post," and John Ridley, commentator for NPR and founder of

Nico, as with every Clinton, the potential controversy is enormously complicated, and it involves things like midnight banquets with obscure Middle Eastern European leaders. Is there any way to give us the nutshell on Bill Clinton`s potential problems, assuming he wants his wife to be secretary of state?

NICO PITNEY, NATIONAL EDITOR, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Well, I mean, what people are glossing over is that he`s already released a substantial share of his financial information. He -- every speech he`s given that he has paid for has been disclosed. The donors to the Clinton Global Initiative have almost entirely been disclosed. There are still clearly issues with his library that may bring up some dirt.

But another thing to keep in mind is that he knows his wife has been running for president, and there was a strong potential, obviously, if she won, that he was going to have to disclose all of this anyway. He`s had that on his mind.

I think the potential for a landmine is much more an excitement for reporters than it is a reality. Clearly, you never know. But I think there`s a very good chance that this ends up being a tempest in a teapot.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I hope so, but I`ve got to ask you, John Ridley, in his foundation, which he created back in 1998, has raised $500 million. And I understand that he doesn`t have to reveal, by law, who the donors are. And so far, he hasn`t.

But if he wants his wife to be secretary of state, will he have to reveal that? And will he have to fill out that questionnaire, that vetting questionnaire of more than 60 questions?

RIDLEY: Yes. I think most people are going to want him to do that, and I think there really are two issues. I mean, talk about issues, Jane. One, the money is clearly an issue.

But the other one, people look at the Clintons as an entity. We saw this in the primary. The things that Bill Clinton said reflected on his wife, and we`re going to see this, I think, on a global level.

You saw with Kazakhstan, when Bill Clinton basically said that they`re doing a better job on human rights when Senator Clinton was saying that no, they`re not doing a good job.

So, I think the issues here are definitely going to be the money trail, where the money`s coming from and where it`s going. But also, are people going to be able to separate Bill Clinton from Hillary Clinton if she becomes secretary of state? And clearly, he`s still going to be out there doing what he does, for better or for worse.

VELEZ MITCHELL: Now Nico, we were talking about non-partisanship and this evolutionary style that President-elect Obama has to really embrace his former enemies and to seek consensus. But is the far right embracing that? Because, especially in the media, some of the comments by the far right seem typically combative. I mean, Rush Limbaugh referring to the current economic problems as Obama`s recession.

PITNEY: Yes. I mean, they`re going to keep -- they`re going to keep going. Surprisingly enough, Republicans on Capitol Hill, in Washington, are actually showing, you know, that they understand the reality of their situation. They`re ducking their heads. They may be plotting for, you know, for some aggressive moves against Obama down the road. But right now, they`re still in a bit of reconciliation mode.

That said, you know the heat is coming. They are very well organized on the right. They`ve been -- they`ve been organizing, developing think tanks and advocacy groups for decades, and they`re going to pull out all the stops, just like they always have. There`s no reason to expect anything differently.

VELEZ MITCHELL: Well, John and Nico, thank you so much for your insights. And I have to say I just don`t think it`s going to work this time around. I do think we`ve kind of jumped forward and that the American public is really looking for a different style. And so far, President- elect Barack Obama is delivering that style.

And we`ll have to see how the opposition handles that, because this is kind of like foreign territory.

Oscar-winner Helen Mirren says women are jealous of rape victims. I`ll tell you how her outrageous comments will affect the war on women.

And comedian Wanda Sykes came out of the closet at a Prop 8 protest this weekend. The fight for gay rights just heating up. We`ll have the latest.


VELEZ MITCHELL: Forty-seven-year-old mother of two Alisha Siede was found dead on Saturday after her ex-husband led cops to the body. I`ll have the details on this tragic case in the war on women in just a moment.

But first, British actress Dame Helen Mirren won an Oscar and the nickname First Lady of Film by playing England`s Queen Elizabeth II, a woman considered by many to be out of touch with the times. Well, perhaps Dame Helen has a lot more in common with her majesty than her regal good looks.

Over the weekend, Mirren shocked the world by telling a British newspaper that defense attorneys in rape cases will pick female jurors because, quote, "women go against women" and that female jurors are more likely to assume the victim in a rape case was, quote, "asking for it." For an encore, Mirren added that the unsympathetic female jurors are, quote, "sexually jealous."

What is wrong with Helen Mirren? I used to like her.

Consider that one in 20 British women have been victims of rape. Consider that one in six American women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. What Helen Mirren said is not just absurd; it`s dangerous.

But what do you have to say about this? I would love you to call in and give me your thoughts on this issue of rape and Helen Mirren`s comments about it. So, give us a call at 1-877-JVM-SAYS, which is 1-877-586-7297. Call me right now and tell me what you think. Am I overreacting? I don`t think so.

With me now, Laura Brevetti, a former sex crimes prosecutor, and Sonya Ossorio, the president of New York City`s National Organization for Women.

Sonya, let`s start with you. We`ve been talking about the war on women in the U.S. As females keep turning up as victims of violent murder and sexual assault, when women are often to afraid to even report a rape, how much damage can comments like these of Helen Mirren`s actually do?

SONYA OSSORIO, PRESIDENT, NEW YORK CITY NOW: Well, it could be very damaging, because you`re absolutely right, the number of rapes that occur that go unreported are staggering. And the number that are actually -- that go to trial and prosecuted are even fewer. So, it can be very damaging.

And you know, I think the implication in the comments that she made is some of those precise stereotypes that women have been dealing with for centuries, which is that we`re hysterical, irrational, unable to have sound, reasonable judgment. I mean, these are the exact types of stereotypes that kept us from getting the right to be on a jury in the first place, getting the right to vote, getting the right to run for office.

VELEZ MITCHELL: Yes, I mean, it`s absolutely bizarre, Laura Brevetti, to hear such misogynistic comments coming from a woman. And it doesn`t stop there. She`s also been reported saying a couple of weeks ago that women who were raped after willingly going to bed with a man cannot expect their attackers to be charged. I mean, about three quarters of rape victims know their assailant. So essentially, she`s throwing out the window most of the rapes.

LAURA BREVETTI, FORMER SEX CRIMES PROSECUTOR: Absolutely. I mean, her comments, I think everyone would agree are outrageous. She should stick to acting and leave legal commentary to the experts who know. I`ve had -- I have a prospective of being both a prosecutor in the sex crimes area, as well as the defense attorney across the board, which I am right now.

There is no defense attorney today that would take a jury that`s all women and no prosecution that would take a jury that`s all men. If they wanted to listen to Helen Mirren it just wouldn`t happen. She`s wrong on all accounts. She`s over-generalized and oversimplified a very complex proceeding that a trial is, and she`s done damage.

VELEZ MITCHELL: Sonya, let me ask you this, because now we`re going to have to play psychologist. Helen Mirren reportedly admitted in 2003 she had been date raped more than once, and this happened when she was younger. And she said she did not go to the police because, quote, "You couldn`t do that in those days," end quote.

Do you think subconsciously, maybe she regrets her decision not to go to police, and she`s kind of doing a reaction formation thing, where it`s like doth protest too loudly?

OSSORIO: I don`t know. I can`t speak to exactly, you know, what is - - what she is thinking and what`s in her mind, but that certainly is the case. I mean, the fact of the matter is, we do live in a rape culture, and it leads to a situation where we often blame the victim.


OSSORIO: And that, of course, is very, very damaging in terms of encouraging people to come forward. And you know, I think for a lot of people, it`s a coping mechanism. Many very, well-intentioned, caring people...

VELEZ MITCHELL: Let me -- let me jump in there, because we`re going to continue that sentence in a second, but first I`m going to take your calls: 1-877-586-7297. That`s 1-877-JVM-SAYS. What do you think about this issue of rape and Helen Mirren`s comments? Next.


VELEZ MITCHELL: We are back talking about actress Helen Mirren and how she appears to be blaming the victim when it comes to rape. The phone lines lighting up.

Let`s go straight out to Adie from Utah.

Adie, what are your thoughts on this, ma`am?

CALLER: Well, you know, I`m a psychotherapist working with troubled teenage girls here in Utah, from all over the country. And as their therapist, I see somebody who they would normally look up to taking an issue that`s very close to their heart and turning it on them.

VELEZ MITCHELL: Well, I agree with you. It`s kind of like this isn`t just anybody saying this. This is a woman who has won the most prestigious awards in film. She`s a woman that everybody looks up to as an example not of the debauchery of Hollywood, but of really, you know, it would appear initially as the best of Hollywood. So it`s doubly offensive for her to be saying this. I agree with you 100 percent.

We`ve got another caller. I think it`s Grace from Michigan?


VELEZ MITCHELL: Hey, how are you doing tonight, Grace?


VELEZ MITCHELL: All right. What`s your question or thought, ma`am?

CALLER: Well, my first couple thoughts that came to mind was first of all, she said she had been date-raped more than once, and I wondered how, after the first time or maybe a second, she got herself into that again, and I`m wondering if she`s just judging others by herself. It just says a whole lot more about her.

VELEZ MITCHELL: Yes, I agree with you. Laura Brevetti, I think that does speaks volume, the fact that she admits she was date-raped more than once.

BREVETTI: Well, I think she has, that is, Ms. Mirren, has a lot of unresolved personal issues, and she`s allowing that to bleed into statements that she is making public, and she`s hurting a lot of young ladies and women in this country who need to report, even, date rape. Sexual intercourse with a man is a matter of choice, not obligation, even on a date, and that has to be made known and made clear.

VELEZ MITCHELL: Oh, 100 percent. And the statistics are frightening. Sixty percent of sexual assaults are not reported to the police. Precisely, I think, because, Sonya Ossorio, women are afraid that if they know the assailant, which is usually the case, if they didn`t behave perfectly, that they`re going to be blamed and they`re going to be called, basically -- I don`t know if we can say this on the air -- sluts.

Sonya? OK. Sonya, your thoughts on this.

OSSORIO: Well, you know, I`m not that surprised that she`s been necessarily raped twice. I mean, it`s very prevalent. It happens. And you know, I mean, there are situations around the world now where rape is part of systemic, you know, operation as part of the war. So, it certainly does happen, and it`s not that surprising that it may happen to one individual woman more than once in her lifetime.

VELEZ MITCHELL: I know. It`s so funny, because all the Hollywood stars are in therapy, and I think this is a very, very, very good issue for her to work out on the therapist couch.

I want to thank both of you, and I`d like to say that blaming the victim is never OK.

With the case of Imette St. Guillen, who was a brutally John Jay College of Criminal Justice student, who was brutally assaulted and murdered here in New York. Some people said if she hadn`t been out drinking at 4 in the morning, it wouldn`t have happened. How dare they! How dare they take this beautiful girl -- what, only frat boys can have an error in judgment? The penalty for having an error in judgment is death? That is totally ridiculous.

Huge protests against California`s Prop 8 continued over the weekend. I`m going to show you exclusive video from inside the rally. The protestors sent it (ph), coming up next.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You are looking at exclusive footage shot over the weekend and sent to this show by somebody at these protests. These stunning images take you inside one of the massive protests against California`s Prop 8 that are sweeping across the nation.

California`s Proposition 8, which passed on Election Day, removed the right of same-sex couples to marry. Leaders of these protests believe they can spark a nationwide push for gay rights with many calling it a civil rights issue, the likes of which we have not seen since the 1960s.

Meantime, a shocker this weekend when comedian and actress Wanda Sykes from the hit show "The New Adventures of Old Christine" said this at one passionate rally.


WANDA SYKES, ACTRESS: I don`t really talk about my sexual orientation; I didn`t feel like I had to. I was just living my life and not necessarily in the closet. I was just living my life. Everybody that knows me personally, they know I`m gay, they know, you know. I am proud to be a woman. I am proud to be a black woman. And I am proud to be gay.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is an issue that will not and should not go away.

Here to give their views on both sides of this issue is the Chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition, the Reverend Louis Sheldon, who is also the author of the book "The Agenda: The Homosexual Plan to Change America." Robert Jeffress, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas.

Both men supporters of Prop 8 and on the other side, the Reverend Susan Russell, senior associate for pastoral life at All Saints Episcopal church in Pasadena, which has performed gay marriages.

Reverend Russell, let`s start with you. Do you think Prop 8 has now backfired in that it has galvanized gay and gay-friendly Americans like never before and really unified it as a national civil rights movement?

REV. SUSAN RUSSELL, ALL SAINTS EPISCOPAL CHURCH: I think the hard truth is that many were complacent about their rights, and to see a bare majority here in California take the effort to strip away fundamental rights from Americans is just fundamentally wrong.

I think the outrage you are seeing in the streets is precisely what should be happening. And I do believe, I think it`s perhaps the beginning of the end for those who want to write discrimination into our constitution and take civil rights away from gay and lesbian Americans.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Reverend Sheldon --

RUSSELL: Its time for them to step up and speak out and that`s what we`re doing.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Reverend Louis Sheldon, these demonstrations haven`t just gone national, they have gone global -- Canada, England, Australia, other European countries also planning demonstrations.

If Prop 8 was designed to shatter the gay rights movement, hasn`t it had the opposite effect?

REV. LOUIS SHELDON, TRADITIONAL VALUES COALITION: Well, in America, you only have two states that allow gay marriage, 48 do not. I believe in the rule of law, and I believe very clearly what we have done -- we went to the Attorney General, we gave him the language we wanted, he gave us a title in summary.

We went out and got the signatures and we won. Now, if these people want to be anarchists, and they want disturb --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wait, wait -- anarchists?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Demonstration is a very fundamental part --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: These are not rioters. These are not riots --

SHELDON: You have not seen the demonstrations that they are doing.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m looking right here.

SHELDON: In San Francisco, oh no that is only one example. You have not seen what happened in San Francisco --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re not participating in the demonstration.

SHELDON: May I speak? You brought me down here and now let me speak and don`t be so rude.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok, finish it off, but don`t call it a riot, it isn`t.

SHELDON: But I`ll do what I will. Don`t you allow me any freedom?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m telling you not to lie.

SHELDON: Let me tell you this, that in San Francisco, there is footage, but you won`t show it, where they were beating up people because they are pro-Proposition 8. That -- these are anarchists.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Listen, there are plenty of -- there are plenty of cases where people who happen to be gay have been beaten and even killed -- Matthew Shepherd, for example --

SHELDON: Listen, I have been under attack in that city --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So I don`t think we need to go to the extreme of citing people who have broken the law, because people have broken the law on both sides.

SHELDON: But you believe in disturbing the law?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s bring in the Robert Jeffress, the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas.

Let me ask you this question pastor, because a lot of people who voted yes for Prop 8 say they`re not against gays, they`re just against gay marriage. What is your position on homosexuality?

PASTOR ROBERT JEFFRESS, FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF DALLAS: Well, I preach the sermon this Sunday why gay is not ok. We had 100 protestors outside of our church. They were very peaceful. But what I said was, from the biblical viewpoint, Jesus said that marriage is between a man and a woman. God made us. God is the one who designed us. He created sex, and in his owner`s manual, the bible, he said that the way sex best works is between a man and a woman and a marriage relationship.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s kind of interesting, because Jesus Christ himself wasn`t married. Let me ask you this, Reverend Russell, if Jesus were here today, what would he say, in your opinion about this whole controversy?

RUSSELL: I think Jesus is here today, and Jesus is here in the body of Christ of those faithful Christians out in the streets saying this is wrong. If Jesus were here today, what he would say is spending $46 million to write discrimination into our constitution has nothing to do with the gospel Jesus came to teach of peace and love and caring for your neighbor.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, Reverend Louis Sheldon --

RUSSELL: I will defend -- you know, I will defend Louis Sheldon`s right to believe anything he wants. He doesn`t have the right to write it into our constitution, and that`s why we`re in the streets of California, and that`s why we`re going to prevail.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Reverend Sheldon --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I believe that gay marriage should be a right for all Americans. In other words, this should be ok across the country. You have 30 seconds. Change my mind.

SHELDON: Why did not Jerry Brown, the Attorney General for California, when we submitted the language, tell us this and say this is not constitutional material? He allowed us to go ahead. You cannot go back when the Attorney General, the law enforcement agent of the entire state of California, says green light. Go get your signatures. And when we won, it`s very clear this is nothing but sour grapes.

Now, remember, when we lost in May 15th to the Supreme Court overturning Prop 22 --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, that`s it, you had your time. Guess what, you didn`t change my mind, but this is an issue that even --

SHELDON: Who can change your mind?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- a former Mormon recognizes is larger than one church`s agenda. Take a listen to this woman from our exclusive footage.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- great many gay friends, and I felt as a former Mormon and a resident native of Texas, there`s a lot of people in my friendship circle that are very much on the right wing it was really important for me to speak out and make sure that that group of people heard from me as a straight person who has really nothing to gain from giving gays the right to marry, that this is an issue that`s important to everybody, not just gay people.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Pastor Jeffress, there you hear from somebody who is not gay but who is just an American saying, hey, this is a civil rights issue. Isn`t the mark of a movement coalescing when it`s joined by people who don`t necessarily benefit themselves?

JEFFRESS: Jane, they don`t understand the societal implications. Countries in Scandinavia that have embraced same-sex marriages have seen the rate of heterosexual marriages plummet to their lowest rates, and the result is, children are being born out of wedlock, it`s destabilizing society. Whenever you counterfeit something you devaluate and homosexual marriage is a --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I looked around the world, I don`t see the Netherlands as an example of a nation falling apart. I see, you know, there are plenty of areas in this world that are suffering crisis. In Africa, there are kids who don`t even have food to eat.

JEFFRESS: Jane, 70 percent of the prison population in America today is people who were born out of wedlock. And if marriage is whatever you say it is, if it`s not just a man and a woman, why not a man and three women or four women and a man? You devalue something when you counterfeit it, and it has great societal implications.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Reverend --

JEFFRESS: And that`s why we need to stay with the traditional definition.

By the way, it`s when the Supreme Court upheld in 1885 when it said no legislation is more profitable for society than that which supports marriage between a man and a woman in Murphy versus Ramsey.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well a couple of things. Ok, I`m hearing you, but a couple things. One, I think it`s actually going to hurt California economically, and that`s what various government officials have said. Because all those gay marriages that were going to happen, --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- they`re not going to get those tax dollars in.

But I want to ask Reverend Susan Russell, and I`ll get your responses all to the hypocrisy within the movement to stop gay marriage.

Look at the Reverend Ted Haggard. He was absolutely adamantine about stopping gay marriage. He was speaking for 30 million Evangelical Christians as the one-time president of the National Evangelical Association. And then he was accused of having a gay relationship himself. And he resigned and he admitted sexual immorality and being a liar and a deceiver. What do you make of that?

RUSSELL: I think internalized homophobia does really dangerous things to people, and I think what we`re seeing right now, and I applaud those who are coming out of the closet as a result of this fight.

I think at the end of the day, what we need to do is absolutely support the sacrament and the sanctity of marriage, but that means all marriages. And we need to look at the values that make up a marriage, not the gender that makes up the couple. And we need to stop letting religious bigots write their theology into our constitution.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Reverend Sheldon --

RUSSELL: We need freedom of religion and freedom from religion in this country.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Reverend Sheldon, your response to the Haggard scandal?

SHELDON: Well, there`s no question about it. There are many people that are in the closet, and that I don`t think is the issue at all. I think the issue is that you can be redeemed. I put a word in my book --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re saying you can unlearn homosexuality, like you can go to a camp and they can make you heterosexual again?

SHELDON: I don`t know what psychological training you had at all, but let me just mention --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What psychological training have you had?

SHELDON: I`ve had an awful lot of counseling people.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Were you in therapy?

SHELDON: Yes. Now may I speak?


SHELDON: You get awful sassy as a reporter who`s supposed to be a little bit neutral.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, no this is an opinion show, sir, and you`re giving your opinion and I`m giving mine.

SHELDON: Yes, so let me just mention to you very clearly that reparative therapy -- the greatest people that are persecuted are those that are delivered from gender identity conflict. It is not a gene. No one has ever found the gene, and even if they did find the gene it wouldn`t make a lot of difference.

But they have never found the gene. And that gene says that, you know --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, guess what? I think you`ve spoken probably more than anybody else on our panel tonight, so don`t say I haven`t given you a chance to have your say.

I think that gay marriage should be a right, and I think that these protests are going to get bigger and bigger. And I think this issue isn`t going anywhere.

Thank you, Robert, Louis, Susan, all. Come back, we`ll argue some more in a little bit.

Just a reminder, "Nancy Grace" up right after this at 8:00; she will have the latest on the search for Caylee Anthony. It now looks like her grandparents will be releasing a new statement on the case this week. Nancy will have all the details.

Meantime, the war on women continues; 27-year-old Alisha Sidie found dead this weekend. Her ex-husband`s the prime suspect. I will have the details, next.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A week-long search for a missing mom came to a heartbreaking end Saturday night when the body of 27-year-old Alisha Sidie was found. And guess who did it, the ex-husband.


DOUG SIDIE, EX-HUSBAND OF ALISHA SIDIE: No, no, no. There was no plans, there was just. She came and brought the boys home, and there was a short argument between us two and then she left on foot. That`s all for now. That`s all I know.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Even though that was Doug Sidie pleading for his ex- wife`s return, he soon confessed to killing her and then led investigators, reportedly, to the heavily wooded spot where he dumped her body.

First-degree intentional murder charges are expected to be filed against Doug Sidie this week. While Sidie and the mother of his precious two-year-old twin boys had gotten divorced, reports say they were getting back together; turns out to be a very tragic decision.

Joining me by phone, Bruce Marcus, a reporter at WIZM in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Bruce, when will charges be filed and what exactly caused this ex-husband to break down and tell the cops the real story?

BRUCE MARCUS, REPORTER AT WIZM: Well, in answer to your first question, the charges are expected to be filed soon. The Jackson County DA has said that they want to make sure, obviously, because of the magnitude of this, that they have their case in order, but it`s expected within a matter of days that Doug Sidie will be in court and formally face charges not only of first-degree murder, but also concealing the corpse and obstructing justice.

And as far as what broke this case, you know there was a massive search under way for Alisha involving hundreds of volunteers as well as law enforcement authorities. And apparently, a volunteer uncovered some evidence. Law enforcement is still rather vague as to what that evidence was. But that apparently prompted the Sheriff`s Department to talk to Doug Sidie.


MARCUS: And he wound up effectively, basically telling authorities where the body was.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do we know the manner of death? Can you paint a picture of what we know about what happened on the fateful evening?

MARCUS: No. There was an autopsy that`s supposed to be conducted. It`s being conducted today, and as we speak, I don`t know the results of that autopsy. The authorities have been very vague. There was a news conference yesterday --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But in general, I mean, I just want to jump in. In general, they were having an argument. She was there, they both lived together. They were divorced, but they still lived together? What was going on there?

MARCUS: Well, they were divorced. I believe it was in September of last year, and they were in the process of reconciling. Initially, he was described -- Doug Sidie was described as Alisha`s husband. Technically, he`s the ex-husband.

But they were living together and there was an argument. And after that, they`re still vague on the details, but --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But there was a gun? Was there a gun involved? Was she shot, or how did she die?

MARCUS: No, they haven`t -- authorities in their news conference yesterday did not get into details as to how she died.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, and let me ask you this, any foreshadowing`s, 911 calls, domestic abuse calls, anything like that?

MARCUS: Yes. Doug Sidie had a long criminal record. There was some drunk driving, there was spousal abuse. These are reports that have filtered out when there was that news conference yesterday with the Jackson County Sheriff and Jackson County DA.

They had said that they were called to the Sidie house before but did not reveal the details. But since then, it`s been reported that he has had a number of quote, unquote, "incidents" I guess, with the law, including spousal abuse.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that says it right there.

Thank you so much, Bruce, for taking the time to give us an update.

MARCUS: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I appreciate it.

I want to turn to Vikki Ziegler, Divorce Attorney, and Rhonda Saunders, Los Angeles prosecutor and author of "Whisper of Fear."

Rhonda, time and time again, we see this pattern, husbands with crocodile tears putting out a plea for his missing wife and it turns out the husband is the killer. Why is this such a common pattern?

RHONDA SAUNDERS, AUTHOR, "WHISPER OF FEAR": It`s so common, there are statistics that say on an average, three women a day in the United States are murdered by an intimate partner. And what it has to do with is an anger or a rage.

And the other person wants control over the woman, and when they don`t get that, it can turn to tragedy, as we see in cases like this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, Vikki Ziegler, you`re a divorce attorney, you see these disputes all the time. You heard it right there. There had been a history of abuse. There had been calls to the place, to the home.

There are always warning signs when something like this happens. What would you tell women when that pattern starts?

VIKKI ZIEGLER, DIVORCE ATTORNEY: Jane, red flag. Somebody`s calling you names, there`s potential abuse. You need to call the police. You need to tell people, family, friends, perhaps the Rabbi or the pastor that these things are happening.

And don`t be afraid to call the police and do your research, because this just starts -- I mean, to reconcile with the man that you divorced knowing that there was this history of abuse, is scary. And this is the consistent cycle of domestic violence that we`ve been seeing in cases throughout the country.

And Rhonda is right. Approximately 1,200 women each year are murdered by their intimate relationships or a spouse or a partner.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What happens now to the boys, twin two-year-old boys, Rhonda? They are victimized twice. They lose a mother and a father.

SAUNDERS: This is such a tragedy. And I`ve handled cases like this, where the woman has been murdered by her husband in one case where he is now on death row. He hacked her to death in broad daylight in front of witnesses leaving a 14-year-old and a 9-year-old boy behind. And those boys` lives have been destroyed by their father who had no regard whatsoever for them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And you know what, I would like you to stand there right there. When we come back, we`re going to discuss the issue of which side of the family will get these two children. It`s an absolutely horrific case.

We`ve got a lot more in just a second.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She wouldn`t just leave them. Something had to have happened, like -- somebody just help us, please. Her family is a mess. I`m a mess. I don`t know what to do.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You are definitely a mess; another husband and that one recently in Long Island who cried crocodile tears and later confessed to killing his wife.

Back now, with Rhonda Saunders, L.A. prosecutor and Vikki Ziegler, a divorce attorney, Rhonda why is it that these husbands go on camera and make these emotional pleas for their wives when in fact they are the killers. It`s gotten so bad any time a missing woman`s husband cries on camera, I say to myself, he did it.

SAUNDERS: Pretty much, I look at that the same way. And they`re coming on camera because they want to get a defense going for themselves. They want the sympathy of the public, and if and when they`re arrested, they want to be able to say, well, look I was crying on camera, I wanted to find her.

If you think about the O.J. case, where he offered a reward to find the killer of his wife, it`s the same patterns.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Vikki Ziegler, yes, as divorce attorney, you have to tell us what will happen to these two twin boys in the most recent case we are recovering. Two-year-old boys, twins, their mother is dead, their father is going to be facing charges of killing her. They have lost twice. What happens to them?

ZIEGLER: Any family member at this point is fair game. The state now is going to have to hold a hearing to determine which family member is best. The test is really the best interest of the children.

Right now they`re in state custody they could be placed in foster care. They could even be separated and you said they`re twins, and so that`s a scary and really unfortunate circumstance.

But what`s going to happen is the state is going to interview and perhaps have a hearing to determine who actually is best suited. Who has the best house accommodations, financially who can care for these children and who is closest with them.

And then once that is determined by a judge, then these children hopefully will be placed with someone that is familiar to them and taken care of properly. Devastating, very, very sad.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Rhonda, is there any leeway given to these families? They didn`t commit any crimes. The grandparents, is there one side of the family that is favored more than the other? For example, the victims` family is favored for full custody; let`s say more than the suspect`s family?

SAUNDERS: It depends who can care for the children the most. But these children are going to grow up knowing that their father killed their mother. It`s traumatic. And in the case I told you about with the woman being hacked to death, leaving a 14-year-old and a 9-year-old behind, she knew. She knew something was going to happen to her. She made her sister swear that if something did, that her sisters would raise those children.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ladies, we have to end it there. We are not going to let go of the "War on Women."

We`re going to talk about it again and again, here on "ISSUES." We will see you tomorrow night 7:00 p.m. Eastern for more "ISSUES."