FPN President Debates Late Marriage Amendment Endorsement in Live CNN Interview
Despite promising to fight to push for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would protect marriage as the exclusive union between one man and one woman during his 2004 re-election bid, President Bush failed to deliver in his second term. The day before the U.S. Senate failed to pass a federal Marriage Protection Amendment in June of 2006, FPN President Joe Glover appeared in a nationally-televised debate on CNN to defend the need for an amendment, and to criticize Bush’s lackluster support for its passage.
READ THE TRANSCRIPT OF THE INTERVIEW HERE:
ROBERTS: For every doubt about the president’s sincerity, even among supporters, and for all the talk that this is more about votes than values, some take the question of same-sex marriage both seriously and personally. For them, this debate, whether driven by politics or not, touches deeply-held beliefs about morality and equality and love.
Joe Glover is president of the Family Policy Network. Patrick Guerriero leads the Log Cabin Republicans, gay and lesbian members of the GOP.
Good to see both of you tonight. Thanks for being with us.
PATRICK GUERRIERO, DIRECTOR, LOG CABIN REPUBLICANS: Good to be with you, John.
JOE GLOVER, PRESIDENT, FAMILY POLICY NETWORK: Thank you for having us.
ROBERTS: Joe Glover, let’s start with you.
You were at the White House today while the president was giving that speech. What were you thinking when you heard the president express support for a same-sex-marriage amendment?
GLOVER: I was thinking, it was a fabulous speech. These are things that we needed to hear, though over the last couple of months.
We’re very encouraged by what the president had to say, both in his radio address on Saturday and again today at the White House. But we sure wish he had given it the same weight that he had given his drive to get the prescription drug entitlement that most conservatives didn’t want. But we’re glad it finally came.
But it doesn’t seem to have any hope of — of becoming law. There doesn’t seem to be any hope of amending the Constitution for those who would like to. So, is this purely political?
GLOVER: Well, I wouldn’t say that it has no hope of becoming the Constitution. It just doesn’t have that this week.
But the fact of the matter is, we’re going to have more votes now than we had back in 2004. And we’re moving in the right direction. And, quite frankly, a vote is important this week, because it will let voters in several states know that their senator is not with them on the issue of marriage, and they can make the choice, if they would like to, to remove those senators and replace them with ones who do.
ROBERTS: Patrick Guerriero, what was your reaction to the president’s speech today?
GUERRIERO: I’m obviously disappointed.
The reality is, you know, while I have disagreements with social conservatives, they’re pretty smart people. And this was really a dog-and-pony show today. The president hasn’t talked about this issue over the last year-and-a-half.
The reality is that when most Americans woke up this morning, they were concerned about the war on terrorism. They were concerned about Iraq. They were concerned about gas prices. They were concerned about interest rates and the economy. And when they look to Washington and see their leadership, whether it be Republicans or Democrats, all the way up to the president, talking about issues that no one believes really are going to change, they question the focus of leadership in America.
And that’s not good for the president. He, I believe, has made a misjudgment here. And he is now playing politics with the American Constitution, which serves to divide the American family, rather than unite us. And, in America today, we need a nation that’s united to take on the serious issues we face.
ROBERTS: Patrick, you wrote an open letter to President Bush.
Let me just quote from that. You said, “Your decision to use the grounds of the White House, America’s house, to advance discrimination is an insult to millions of fair-minded Americans from all walks of life.”
Is this, indeed, discrimination? Is the right for same-sex couples to marry enshrined in the Constitution?
GUERRIERO: Yes, a couple things.
One, the amendment as it’s written has a second sentence which would also deny civil unions and jeopardize domestic partnerships. And, this morning, among the millions of Americans that woke up were also millions of gay and lesbian Americans, who pay taxes, who love their families, who are patriotic, and good law-abiding citizen.
And it’s insulting to them to look to Washington and see the president use the bully pulpit of the presidency to consider an amendment that would deny states the right to debate this issue over the next several decades.
ROBERTS: Joe Glover, let’s come back to you.
How do you feel about how the White House has handled this entire issue? You and I spoke over the phone last week, and, at that point, you seemed to be pretty hot about the whole thing.
GLOVER: Well, first, I want to take issue with a couple of points and just say that, look, there is concern about this issue. And every state that has taken this issue up at the ballot box, it has passed overwhelmingly.
In fact, the president pointed out today, it’s passed by over 70 percent on average in 19 states so far. Another six to nine states are going to take it up this year. It’s not only important to the American people, but it’s important to young children, who — who need both the love of a mother and a father.
And it’s also important to God. He said, therefore, shall a man leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife. And it wasn’t a multiple-choice question.
ROBERTS: All right.
GLOVER: And that’s the benefit for every member of society. As far as the president goes…
ROBERTS: Yes. OK. Go ahead.
GLOVER: As far as the president goes, we were very encouraged today by the speech that we heard. We were encouraged by the — the speech we heard over the weekend over the radio address.
GLOVER: But we are frustrated that we haven’t heard this over the last couple of months. During the — the prescription drug…
ROBERTS: Or the last 18 months, for that matter.
GLOVER: Well, for that matter, you’re exactly right. And — and I think that, if this has any impact — impact on the midterm elections and on the race for the nomination in the GOP in 2008, it will have this impact. And that is, on a case-by-case basis, social conservatives are going to look and see whether or not candidates are actually doing something, taking action, whether they’re currently in office or whether they plan to be, to protect marriage, or are they just talking about it?
GUERRIERO: Joe, you would have been better served today if you had encouraged the president to offer a constitutional amendment to ban divorce or ban infidelity or children out of wedlock.
GLOVER: Patrick, there’s no question…
GUERRIERO: And, so, I think scapegoating gay and lesbian Americans, who want to live in taxpaying…
GLOVER: Nobody is scapegoating…
GUERRIERO: … law-abiding, lifelong relationships, to me, is a distraction for the real — from the real issues that impact marriage and family life in America.
GLOVER: Patrick, listen. Listen.
GUERRIERO: And the God that you claim to worship, to me, is an all-loving, compassionate God, that doesn’t pass judgment on other members of the American family.
GLOVER: God is an all-loving, compassionate God. He created you and me alike, and He created us in a way that we would know the love of a father and a mother, His love, and we would know the love of a person of the opposite sex. That’s His plan for the home.
ROBERTS: Gentlemen, we are going to have to leave it there. Thanks very much for joining us tonight. Obviously, there’s a lot more to say about this. Joe Glover from the Family Policy Network and Patrick Guerriero from the Log Cabin Republicans, appreciate you joining us tonight. Thanks.
GUERRIERO: Good — good to be with you.
The Marriage Protection Amendment failed in the Senate two days later on June 7 with only 49 votes, falling short of the necessary 60 votes needed for passage.
Glover and Guerriero debated this topic in another live CNN debate two nights later, just hours after the Senate failed to pass the Marriage Protection Amendment on June 7, 2006.
To view that interview, click here: