All In With Chris Hayes, Wednesday, Febraury26, 2014
Read the transcript from the Wednesday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
February 26, 2014
Guests: Kyrsten Sinema, Gregory T. Angelo, Neera Tanden, Fred Armisen, Ilya
Shapiro, Thomas Frank, Carlos Maza
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, from New York. I`m Chris
Tonight, breaking news out of Arizona, just moments ago, where
Governor Jan Brewer has vetoed the most controversial bill in the country,
SB-1062, the bill which would allow private businesses to discriminate
against gays and lesbians in the name of religious freedom has been almost
universally panned as discriminatory and patently unconstitutional. It`s
also come under intense fire from business leaders who urged the governor
to kill it.
Today, Brewer, who has been in the meetings with supporters and
opponents of the bill all day, vetoed the bill saying it was overly broad.
Joining me now, Democratic Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.
And, Congresswoman, your reaction to the governor`s decision?
REP. KYRSTEN SINEMA (D), ARIZONA: Well, Chris, I have to say I`m
really pleased and happy. The governor has done absolutely the right thing
for our state, and really sent a message to the country about our values.
Arizona is a state that welcomes diversity, that we appreciate diverse
ideas, opinions and people in our state.
I think her actions today really solidified the values of Arizona
HAYES: Are you surprised by the level of attention that it`s got, and
the way that it went from basically no one paying attention to this
legislation nationally, at least working its way through both houses, to it
becoming a central national issue?
SINEMA: Well, Chris, I think many people were surprised not just
around the country, when the bill moved so quickly through the state senate
and almost immediately after through the state house. That was a shock to
even those of us who live in Arizona, because the bill was really ramrodded
I`m grateful that it received a lot of national attention, because it
shows that as Americans, we can all agree that discrimination is wrong.
And that instead, we should have policies that support and embrace peoples
of different faiths, of different communities to come together and live
their lives and have a shot at the American dream.
HAYES: I had a Republican State Senate President Steve Pierce on the
program two nights ago. He is one of three Republicans from the state
legislature who had written to the governor after voting for the bill to
say you should veto it, saying this is going to be a black eye for our
And I got to say, Congresswoman, you were -- you served in the state
legislature in Arizona.
HAYES: You got a lot of attention for how effective you were, it was
part of what you ran on when you ran for Congress.
As an outsider looking in, watching this all being developed, my
question -- do you folks got it together over there in the state house?
Like what exactly kind of operation are you running when the people that
vote for the bill turn around and write a letter a few days later saying,
please veto the bill we voted for?
SINEMA: Now, Chris, I do want to clarify, graduated from the state
senate and I`m now serving in the U.S. Congress.
HAYES: I know that, I know that.
But when you are -- you served in that legislature, you served
effectively. You made effectively coalitions on certain issues with
Republican colleagues across the aisle. So, I`m asking you as an expert,
now a congressman, but an expert on how that state house operates -- is
this typical of the way the Arizona state house operates?
SINEMA: Well, unfortunately, for a number of years, the state house
and senate have been polarized. And we`ve seen that not just with this
legislation, but with other bills in the past. I think that this
opportunity provides a real chance for members of both political parties to
begin talking even more with each other in the state house and state
senate, to try to find more moderate ideas to focus our energy on.
You know, Arizona is facing a lot of challenges right now. One of the
key things I think that senators and representatives can come together to
do is to rehabilitate our image and send a message to businesses that
Arizona is open for business to everyone. We want the Super Bowl, we want
conventions and we want people to recognize how great our state is.
So, there is an opportunity for bipartisan mend making to happen here.
HAYES: I think the first of that happened tonight, Congresswoman
Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.
SINEMA: That`s right.
HAYES: Thank you so much for joining me. I appreciate it.
SINEMA: Thank you.
HAYES: Jan Brewer has tweeted a picture of her veto, of the very
controversial SB-1062. There it is. Of course, that is the way that we
ring in the veto these days with a good tweet of it.
Now, the pressure on Jan Brewer to veto 1062 was intense. And it came
not only from third party groups, it also from the mainstream Democrat
establishment, conservative establishment who were suddenly rushing to
condemn the bill. Including even FOX News.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS: I look at this bill and I wonder whether this
is a reaction, an over reaction. In the end, you know, they may have
struck back in a way that`s deeply offensive to many, and potentially
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS: Basically, it allows people to discriminate.
ANDREA TANTAROS, FOX NEWS: I don`t know why you would want to bring
Jim Crow laws back to the forefront for homosexuals.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS: It sounds like the lunch counter, Juan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Both of Arizona`s U.S. senators also came out against the
bill. And so has Mitt Romney, which means the Republicans 2008
presidential nominee and 2012 nominee both came out against the bill. Now,
I have to say, I think a big part of it dying today. And it`s also
But here is what`s strange about this whole episode, particularly on
this night when Jan Brewer has vetoed it. On one hand, we`re seeing the
Republican establishment running away from a bill that would allow private
citizens to discriminate against gay people and then defend that
discrimination by evoking their religious faith, a bill that is inspired in
theory by the notion that private photographers or bakers should be allowed
to withhold their services from gay couples getting married.
But under what conceivable logic is that type of discrimination by a
baker or photography, outrageous and acceptable, and yet is totally fine
for the state itself to discriminate against gay people by not recognizing
their marriages in the first place.
Think about this. I mean, keep in mind, both of Arizona senators,
John McCain and Jeff Flake, are on the record opposing marriage equality.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: I believe marriage should be between a
man and a woman. I still hold to the traditional definition of marriage.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I have changed my position on other
issues in my life, but on this one I have not contemplated changing my
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Mitt Romney who came out against this bill has also gone on
the record against marriage equality.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe marriage is
a relationship between a man and a woman. Other people have differing
views and I respect that. But these are personal matters.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: These positions are no accident. Opposing marriage equality
is essentially mandatory if you want to be the leader of the Republican
So, I`m left with a cynical observation that Republicans spoke out
against 1062 because they see it as an opportunity to perform a little bit
of tolerance theater, distancing themselves from some of the ugliest
impulses of their base, and not accepting the logic that position would
lead them to.
It`s the logic that federal judges in six states now most recently
today in Texas have accepted, that there is no constitutional justification
for states to discrimination against same sex couples who want to marry,
which is to say these Republicans have been caught in a bit of a tolerant
theater trap of their own creation.
Joining me now, Gregory T. Angelo. He`s the executive director of Log
So, Gregory, do you think there`s a mismatch? Is there a mismatch
between coming out against this legislation, and still adhering to the view
that you don`t support marriage equality?
GREGORY T. ANGELO, LOG CABIN REPUBLICANS: Not at all, Chris. I`m
fond of saying that liberals are never happy even when they win. And
tonight is a perfect example of that.
The fact that you have all of these Republicans that have come out in
support of a discriminatory bill, the fact that you had a Republican
governor come out and veto that bill is not enough.
I have enough difficulty on the hill right now trying to make sure
when we`re advocating for things like the Employment Nondiscrimination Act,
and employment protections for LGBT individuals --
ANGELO: -- to let Republicans know you should not and do not conflate
the two issues together. Marriage equality has very little to do with
whether or not the business with an obligation to provide public
accommodations is allowed to discriminate against LGBT individuals simply
because of religious liberty. So I don`t think --
HAYES: Let me ask you this --
ANGELO: There`s a double standard at least where the media is
HAYES: Let`s clarify this, let`s clarify this.
HAYES: Do you believe that the Windsor holding of the Supreme Court,
which struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, do you think that was
ANGELO: Yes, we do. We`ve been fighting for years to overturn the
entirety of the Defense of Marriage Act, not just the third section that
the Supreme Court said.
HAYES: Do you think the subsequent decisions that have been made now
by judges in six different states that pursuant to that decision, state
bans on marriage equality, are unconstitutional? Do you believe in that?
ANGELO: We support the constitutional right of committed same sex
couples to engage in civil marriage partnerships. We also oppose any sort
of discrimination being codified into law, which is what SB-1062 would have
done had Republican Governor Brewer signed it into law, this she did not
HAYES: But why can`t the Republican Party en mass -- and ENDA it`s a
great example, right? If it`s wrong for a private wedding photographer to
be allowed to discriminate against a gay couple, well, clearly, it should
be wrong for an employer of a wedding photographer to fire that wedding
photographer, because they are gay, right? That`s the practice that ENDA
would put an end to.
HAYES: There seems to be no gap in the logic between those two. And
yet they`re sitting there and waiting for the House Republicans to take it
up and pass it. It passed the Senate.
ANGELO: And it`s sitting there having received bipartisan passage in
the United States Senate with 10 Republicans voting for it, actually, both
Senators McCain and Flake, by the way, the two Republican senators who came
out in opposition to SB-1062. And ENDA is not just sitting in the House of
Representatives, it`s moving through the House of Representatives.
Since passage of ENDA in the Senate, we have had more Republicans come
on board as co sponsors of that bill. We continue to grow our business
coalitions. And more and more Republicans continue to come out in support
So, there`s momentum there -- I know that doesn`t sit with the liberal
media narrative, but to say that ENDA is dead, it`s not. We should be
celebrating tonight right now. The fact that Republicans made the
difference so that SB-1062 did not become law today.
HAYES: Congratulations, that`s wonderful. It`s great. I think we`re
all happy this thing died.
Let`s remember who passed this thing in the House and Senate. It was
the Republican Party, all right? Yes, it`s great that the Republican
governor went ahead and vetoed the bill passed by Republican and
conservative activists in the House and Senate that would have been
discriminatory that everybody didn`t like.
But the fact of the matter remains, the question is, when will the
Republican Party give up the ghost on objections to marriage equality when
you are seeing both public opinion and the courts moving so decisively
against bans on marriage equality?
ANGELO: Well, Chris, let me give you some good news from tonight.
That is, I think that we have really hit a watershed moment in this
movement today, specifically with Governor Brewer`s veto of this bill, and
the fact that there`s been a true emergence of common sense conservatism,
that has trumped people on an ideological right that are hell bent on
sticking to an obsession with LGBT issues as a way to win elections and
grow the economy.
Governor Brewer clearly disagreed with both, so she vetoed the bill
The fact that this bill moved through Arizona so quickly, and there
was a pushback against that, just shows me there was a necessity for Log
Cabin Republicans existence. We are not a part of this party, because of
its stated positions on things like opposition of marriage equality, but in
spite of that. We need to keep lobbying Republicans to get on the right
side of this.
And I would point out, the Log Cabin Republicans was founded because a
former governor of California who`s running for president of the United
States by the name of Ronald Reagan came out against something called the
Briggs Initiative, which would have made it illegal --
ANGELO: -- for openly gay individuals to be teachers in California to
be teachers in public schools. He came out against it, because he said it
was unnecessary. You`ve seen a similar litany of Republicans coming out
across the country against SB-1062.
I see echoes of Reagan and Briggs today, and that gives me hope for
the Republican Party. And it shows --
ANGELO: It`s a turning point for the GOP.
HAYES: That is a good -- that is a very good historical precedent in
both ways. One, it was precisely the best historical precedent.
Two, it did not indicate any greater enlightenment on LGBT issues from
President Reagan. He was right to oppose that bill in California. It was
an ugly discriminatory bill. But that did not mean or predict that
President Reagan was particularly enlightened on LGBT issues, I think we
Gregory T. Angelo, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans, thank
ANGELO: I disagree with you on that. But OK.
HAYES: All right. Coming up, much more on the big news coming out of
Arizona. This is a big question I`ve been asking, where did this bill come
from? It`s just sort of emerged out of the ether, why are more of them
popping up across the country? An ALL IN investigation is ahead.
And up next, Republicans have solutions when it comes to your health.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We could repeal Obama
care and get this monkey off the backs of the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Or you could chuck a million of their health care plans?
New chapters in the mythical saga of Republican alternatives to
HAYES: We have a lot more coverage of breaking news out of Arizona.
We will introduce you to the extremely well-funded organizations who are
churning out anti-gay laws all across the country.
Also, comedian, musician, actor, writer, "Saturday Night Live" alum,
musical director for "Late Night with Seth Meyers", co-creator and co-star
of the immensely popular and funny "Portlandia" on IFC, the one and only
Fred Armisen will be here live and on set. You don`t want to miss that.
HAYES: You talk to Republicans about Obamacare, they will tell you
there is nothing worse than the specter of hardworking folks getting their
insurance plans cancelled.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: It became clear to him
the president was being misleading when he said, if you like the plan you
have -- if you like the plan you have, you can keep it.
SEN. MIKE ENZI (R), WYOMING: People are finding out that they can no
longer keep the health insurance they like.
SEN. LAMAR ALEXANDER (R), TENNESSEE: I have a letter from a woman
named Emily, she`s losing her policy. She says --
REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), MAJORITY LEADER: And he received this
cancellation letter because millions of Americans are going to receive
letters like this over the next couple of weeks.
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: The people who currently have insurance
may lose their insurance.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
HAYES: Every cancellation from insurance companies or from businesses
was put at the feet of the evil Obamacare machine. And Republicans, well,
you know how they roll, they see a problem, they want to fix it.
One of the problems Republicans wanted to fix was the employer
mandate, which requires employers with 50 or more workers to offer health
insurance to full time employees.
So, Republican Congressman Todd Young of Indiana apparently eager to
blunt the force of that almighty mandate put forward a bill that would
define full time as 40 hours a week instead of the current standard of 30.
And guess what? The Congressional Budget Office, the one the GOP
sometimes loves, sometimes hates, the CBO said this Republican tweet to the
employer mandate would kick one million people off their employer backed
health coverage. The report projected that more than 500,000 of them would
end up getting coverage through Medicaid, the children`s health care
program, or the Obamacare exchanges.
The rest, another 500,000, would simply be uninsured. Oh, but it gets
better, how much would this reduce the deficit? Because we all know
nothing animates the Republican Party more than reducing the deficit.
What`s that you say? Oh, it would increase the deficit by $74 billion
over 10 years. Impossible.
Of course, this bill is not going to become law. It is very
instructive as a reminder that any actual commitment to legislating our
complex byzantine health insurance regime will create disruptions in that
system. And the Republican strategy to kill Obamacare has been to point to
the disruptions it might create, that it has created and say the end of the
world is neigh.
But, of course, if they ever actually got around to implementing their
own plan, well, guess what? That would have its own disruptions.
This Friday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor will meet with leaders
to work on putting together what will be billed as the House Republican
alternative to Obamacare. Well, here`s my prediction -- he could come out
of that meeting with two dozen alternatives, but the Republican Party will
actually get behind exactly none of them. Not in any real way.
Because that would mean grappling with the reality of reforming health
care, and not just throwing stones from the sidelines, that is why I have
been saying and I will say again, that the Republican alternative to
Obamacare is a unicorn. It`s beautiful, it`s mythical and it does not
Joining me now, Neera Tanden, the president of the Center for American
What do you think, Neera? Are we going to see a real Republican
alternative to Obamacare?
NEERA TANDEN, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: Actually, the Republican
alternatives that have circulated in the past, the one that Senator McCain
campaigned on, the ones created by think tanks in the last year or so, they
have coverage lapses of 11 million, 15 million, 20 million people.
So I think it`s going to be challenging for them to run their ads
around the country, through these nefarious groups, attacking Obamacare for
coverage loss when they`re actual -- any alternatives are going to have
much greater losses of coverage.
And let me just clear about something, we`re talking about loss of
coverage from employer based coverage. It`s the coverage that big
businesses offer today. It`s the best coverage, it`s much better than the
coverage in the individual market that they were clamoring about, which is
actually the worst kind of coverage.
HAYES: Well, that`s why -- and that is why, I mean, hopefully that
coverage in the individual market gets better, the longer the Affordable
Care Act exists, which is sort of the point.
But the reason that I think it actually makes -- what I think it is
funny, Republicans seem torn between two polls. On the one hand, right,
they don`t want to propose an alternative, because that exposes them to all
the political risks you indicate, and the CBO scores it, the alternative
will do all these terrible things and they have to defend it.
As the other time, they look ridiculous if all they do is talk about
how horrible the Affordable Care Act is, and they don`t propose anything to
replace it with. And so, they are caught between those two, and I think
they want to kind of occupy the space between those two as long as they
can, to get them towards Election Day.
TANDEN: Look, we`re like five years, the Republican alternative is
just around the corner. So, during the discussion of the Affordable Care
Act, there was always going to be an alternative, never really
materialized. 2010 elections, it was going to be an alternative never
And I think for this precise reason, they don`t want to have the
responsibility of governing to actually fix the problem, right?
TANDEN: There are things you could fix, they don`t want to fix the
problem, they want to have a campaign issue.
And look, I think over the long term, the challenges on the Affordable
Care Act have -- you know, we`ve turned a corner on the Web site, people
are getting coverage. I hope there will be one day where we don`t have to
talk about an alternative because they`ll accept this as the law of the
land because it`s actually helping people. People who never had health
insurance are getting it today.
HAYES: I go back and forth on when that date will be. It will happen
eventually, but it will be interesting to see when it actually happens.
Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress -- as
always, thank you.
TANDEN: Thank you.
HAYES: Up next, the series that came to epitomize an entire city.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How is that girl you`re dating?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, she`s insane.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What`s her name?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She won`t tell me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The co-creators and co-stars of "Portlandia", Fred Armisen,
the one and only, he`s here with me tonight, next.
HAYES: Portland, Oregon, one of those cities that seems to take great
pride in its personal taste. It`s the kind of place that in some ways
resists caricatures because it always seems like it`s already caricaturing
itself. City of fix your bike, and bike lanes, do it yourself coffee
purveyors and the kind of place that is a customer base that can support a
vegan strip club.
All this has made for tremendous material for the widely popular IFC
series "Portlandia", which returns for its fourth season tomorrow night.
The show with co-stars and co-creators Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein
takes you into a culture where people cite studies they heard on NPR and
relationships are not just about finances.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)]
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, so Claire, it looks like you have about
$18,000 in savings plus your homeowner which is great. Doug, you have
about $10,000 in debt and it looks like $600 in unpaid parking tickets?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: And although these are caricatures, "Portlandia" has become
one of those iconic pop culture products that has influenced reality. If
you do not believe me, just look at how the city of Portland itself is
currently marketing itself to tourists.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
HAYES: Bikes, bangs, tattoos, the whole thing.
Joining me now is one of the co-creators and co-stars of "Portlandia",
also the musical director for the new "Late Night with Seth Meyers", Fred
Fred, it`s awesome to have you here.
FRED ARMISEN, PORTLANDIA: Hi. Thanks for having me. I appreciate
HAYES: What I -- what I love about Portlandia, what I think you guys
has -- it has the comedic structure of a great "Onion" piece. And the way
that "Onion" piece works is, set up in the headlines and then hit hit hit
hit hit throughout the article and it keeps being funny.
So, the question is, how do you keep that going?
ARMISEN: That`s kind of a trick in a way because we certainly don`t
shoot that way, it`s the editors who really take everything we have. And
they make it something that`s funny.
So, with the way they judge it is, we`re not in the editing room at
all. They judge it on what they laugh at. So --
HAYES: So, you`re in there. Are you guys improvising or is it
ARMISEN: It`s both. So, it`s mostly improvised, but we have a sort
of list of things that are supposed to happen, and then from there, we just
find out -- we want for it to sound natural when we speak. So, that`s a
very funny -- that`s a good comparison in the "Onion", because I remember
getting that feeling too, this is great. Thank you, they didn`t do too
HAYES: Right, but also it was -- when those "Onion" articles work,
they manage to keep being funny in the vein of the joke you knew was
coming, right? I mean --
HAYES: What is the challenge in what`s rewarding of the comedic
premise of "Portlandia" is we know -- we know in some sense what the jokes
are going to be about and who they will be at the expense of.
ARMISEN: Yes. And also the fact that also when you`re done with the
newspaper, you`re done. Like that`s --
ARMISEN: It should feel that way, like you don`t have to linger on it
for too much. It`s just like you enjoy it, and then there`s something --
there`s another "Onion" and there`s another --
HAYES: Do you worry that -- I feel like the character of the hipster,
which is one of the central characters of "Portlandia", it -- do you worry
it becomes the comedic equivalent of like airline food? That there are
there`s so much mocking of them? That there`s -- that it is such a
mockable figure? That there are so many jokes at their expense, that it
becomes more and more difficult to come up with creative comedy about it?
And what we do is, we try to veer away from that. So, lately, we have
been trying to see more about the relationship between Carrie and I, about
getting to know some of the characters who really are not hipsters at all.
And so we`re just letting that grow.
We do think about that, because we do want it to have a shelf life.
We do want it to expand beyond just the one thing.
HAYES: Is Carrie Brownstein as amazing as the 19-year-old version of
me imagined she would be?
ARMISEN: More. She amazes me all the time. She`s so brilliant.
She`s so funny.
HAYES: She`s so good in this. It`s remarkable.
ARMISEN: And she`s a great writer. A lot of these sketches you`re
writing, that`s Carrie`s writing. She`s beyond brilliant and amazing to be
around. I get to hang out with her all day.
HAYES: She of course of the band Sleater-Kinney, the seminal,
incredible band out of the Northwest.
ARMISEN: Yes. I was obsessed with them.
HAYES: Totally obsessed. I was totally obsessed with them.
ARMISEN: Yes. I used to have -- I listened to them nonstop, whole
albums, beginning to end.
You are also a musician, and in fact you have got this kind of
fascinating trajectory. You were a musician before you became a comedian
and joined "SNL" and you`re now back doing music on Seth Meyers` show. How
did that come about?
ARMISEN: Lorne Michaels just asked me to do it. It was maybe a month
before they were doing the test shows. And he said, do you want to come
and curate a band?
HAYES: What does that mean, curate a banned?
ARMISEN: Sort of put a band together, come up with the sound. And I
was interested in it because I like what talk show bands represent, the
sort of mirror they are of music and what`s popular and what`s maybe going
to be popular and just like a sound.
It sort of defined -- it`s like a framework to the show. And I just -
- because I don`t technically know music that well, I wanted to do it.
Like, it`s a good challenge, because I like something that I feel like
maybe I`m kind of a fraud at, you know?
HAYES: Is there -- you just mentioned Lorne Michaels, who is the
executive producer now of "The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon," "Late Night
With Seth Meyers," "Portlandia," "SNL." He was the "30 Rock" executive
producer. Is there an over/under on the date at which Lorne Michaels
produces on television on TV? Because it does seem like the empire is
ARMISEN: Yes, but what is interesting about him is he`s not going for
that. There was never a time when he was like -- I can`t remember him
thinking, I`m going to do this show and that show.
It`s more like he`s got this family of creative people and when he`s a
producer of something, it just doesn`t mean in name only. He just -- he
actually really has opinions about the way things look and what they should
be. And that`s the value of it.
HAYES: You know, I have learned, doing this job, that television is
very difficult to do well and make successful. And there are some people
that are very good at it. Lorne Michaels appears to be one of those
ARMISEN: Yes, because he doesn`t suffer indulgence. When anything
becomes indulgent and sort of preening, it`s this, he can`t stand it. He
likes things broken down.
HAYES: It`s funny. The word we always use around the office is
precious, that we don`t like precious. It`s like no good.
ARMISEN: Yes. Yes.
HAYES: The new season of "Portlandia" starts tomorrow night on IFC at
Fred Armisen, real pleasure.
ARMISEN: Thank you very much. Thank you.
HAYES: All right, still ahead tonight:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TUCKER CARLSON, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: But when you try and force
me to bake a cake for your gay wedding and threaten me with prison if I
don`t, that`s called fascism.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Gay wedding cake fascism.
We will take an in-depth look at the groups behind the religious
liberty crusade across the country coming up.
HAYES: What`s the first thing that comes to mind when I say Jackson,
Mississippi? Here`s mine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Jackson is the largest city in Mississippi, the state`s
capital. And it was named after this guy, Andrew Jackson, who in his role
as the scourge of American Indians, cleared the way for white settlers, who
said thank you by naming the city after the man who made it all possible.
Jackson has also hosted one of the most fascinating American political
experiments over the last eight months, since this man, Chokwe Lumumba, was
elected mayor, an unabashed radical black nationalist who once supported
reparations for slavery and an "independently predominantly black
government" in the Southeastern United States.
As a human rights lawyer, he defended high-profile clients that
included rapper Tupac Shakur and Black Panther Assata Shakur, the first
woman on the FBI`s most wanted terror list.
One of his most widely heralded legal victories, though, was for the
Scott sisters, two young women convicted of orchestrated an armed robbery
that yielded around $11 and were sentenced to life in prison, two
conservative terms each. The main evidence against them, testimony from
the actual robbers, who testified as part of a plea deal.
In 2011, after 16 years in prison, Lumumba convinced the governor to
suspend the Scotts` sentences and release them. And this man, with this
resume, was elected the mayor of the biggest city in one of the most
conservative states in the country.
In January, he convinced the residents of Jackson to vote in a 1
percent sales tax to support the crumbling infrastructure of that city.
And he was attempting to find common ground between the mundane logistical
challenges or mayoral duties and the vision of equality and justice that he
carried his whole life.
That lifelong project tragically came to an end a day ago, when Chokwe
Lumumba passed away, apparently from heart failure. In a country where
politics are cramped sometimes by consensus, Chokwe Lumumba dedicated his
life to those consensus often forgets. He will be missed.
HAYES: A petition to the Supreme Court has been filed to appeal a
decision by the New Mexico Supreme Court finding it was illegal for a
Christian wedding photographer to deny services to a lesbian couple.
It was that case that was the spark for the so-called religious
freedom bills that have spread from statehouse to statehouse across the
And the organization that is defending that Christian photographer in
that case, the Alliance Defending Freedom, is one of a small group of
national conservative organizations that see these bills as the new
frontier in their fight against gay rights.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tennessee lawmakers are taking up sponsorship of
a bill allowing companies to reject business from gay couples.
HAYES (voice-over): Across the country, it seems, a bunch of
conservative lawmakers in a bunch of different states have all had the same
idea at around the same time.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s about whether or not people and businesses
can refuse service to gay couples planning a wedding.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Four new bills filed in the state legislature
promise to have significant impact on government policies affecting gay and
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A bill sponsored by local state Senator Brian
Kelsey has been called the turn the gays away bill.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The issue is a House bill that involves religious
HAYES: Bills that allow business owners to cite their religious
beliefs in order to deny service to gay people have been proposed or
considered in at least 12 states, including, most infamously and
controversially, the state of Arizona.
GOV. JAN BREWER (R), ARIZONA: Senate Bill 1062 does not address a
specific or present concern related to religious liberty in Arizona.
HAYES: The Arizona bill was written by the conservative advocacy
group Center for Arizona Policy, together with Alliance Defending Freedom,
which works across the country.
KELLIE FIEDOREK, ALLIANCE DEFENDING FREEDOM: This bill has nothing to
do with discrimination. It`s basically -- it`s protecting basic freedoms
that belong to everyone. And I don`t understand how you could argue
anything else. This has nothing to do with discrimination.
HAYES: This is the Web site of the Alliance Defending Freedom, where
you can purchase the book called "The Homosexual Agenda," which laments
efforts to dilute moral values so that homosexual behavior is thought to be
ADF has a budget more than $30 million and dozens of lawyers on staff
and it is currently making the case in court that same-sex marriage harms
children. The group has fought a variety of gay rights efforts at home and
abroad, even defending a law in Belize that makes homosexual acts
punishable by 10 years in prison.
The other group behind the Arizona measure, the Center for Arizona
Policy, is part of a nationwide network of family policy networks that have
pushed similar laws in Kansas and Idaho. They`re organized under the
advocacy arm of Focus on the Family, the far-right Christian group founded
by James Dobson, who also co-founded the Alliance Defending Freedom, and
who sees same-sex marriage as the slipperiest of slopes.
DR. JAMES DOBSON, FOUNDER, FOCUS ON THE FAMILY: How about group
marriage or marriage between daddies and little girls? How about marriage
between a man and his donkey? Anything allegedly linked to civil rights
will be doable.
HAYES: Another big player in all this is a think tank called the
Ethics and Public Policy Center, which has led the creation of 18 religious
freedom caucuses in statehouses across the country under the umbrella of
its American Religious Freedom program, a group that crafts model
legislation, hands it over to state lawmakers and then testifies on its
All of these organizations cast their efforts to pass laws codifying
anti-gay discrimination as a simple expression of religious freedom, a
message that has been greatly amplified on the FOX News Channel.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why is it important for you to have a business
and not have to abandon your personal religious beliefs just to make a
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, that`s your personal belief and that`s
hurricane husband`s your personal belief. And in this free country, we
would think that there would be tolerance for your beliefs and for people
who disagree with you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you feel as though you are forfeiting your
own rights and being forced, in other words, to participate in their
wedding by making a cake for them?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How far could this go? If your clients lose, if
the Supreme Court doesn`t take the case, and the lower court decision
stands, then how far could this go?
HAYES: No one`s asking anyone to abandon their beliefs, but, in the
world of FOX News, apparently, that`s the price of equality.
HAYES: We reached out to the Alliance Defending Freedom, the Center
for Arizona Policy, and the American Religious Freedom program for a
representative to appear on the show tonight, but they declined.
So, joining me now is Ilya Shapiro, senior fellow in constitutional
studies at the Cato Institute, editor in chief of "The Cato Supreme Court
Ilya, you wrote a piece today basically saying, look, I`m for marriage
equality. I have no problem with the Arizona law. What`s your argument?
ILYA SHAPIRO, CATO INSTITUTE: Right.
Next week, I`m filing a brief supporting the challenges on appeal in
Utah and Oklahoma to their marriage laws. I filed briefs in the Supreme
Court. I`m all for gay rights.
The problem here is what your segment talked about, the New Mexico
photographer on whose behalf I have also filed a brief, and the Oregon
bakery and other organizations, other businesses that are being sued for
declining not to serve gay couples, but to work gay marriages. And there`s
a very important distinction there.
HAYES: Let`s be clear here, though, a few things, right?
There`s no -- the stipulation of the legislation in the bill that the
governor vetoed, right, doesn`t say anything about gay marriages, right?
It creates essentially a very broad defense for people who are sued to cite
their religious conscience. And that could be for a whole variety of
We can imagine a case in which someone says, you, woman who has come
into my shop, I will not serve you because you`re not wearing a hijab to
cover your hair, and it offends my religious sensibilities, and you could
then use your conscience as defense in a lawsuit against that.
SHAPIRO: Well, that might well be, and that would play out in court.
It`s a further question about why we`re forcing businesses to
associate with people who they don`t want to for any reason, any number of
reasons, be they religious or otherwise.
HAYES: But you think -- in this case, right, in the hypothetical
we`re talking about, right, you think that would be OK? You think it`s OK
to say, look, I find it -- Harram (ph), I find unacceptable to serve a
woman whose hair is not covered; I will not serve you?
SHAPIRO: I would -- I would go further.
I would say, I will not serve people who are wearing red T-shirts. I
will not serve people who are wearing -- who have tattoos, I mean, any
reason, really. This is the meaning of freedom of association. And other
people who don`t like that, including myself, speaking personally now, I
would boycott that business and I would implore my friends to do so as
HAYES: Is the public accommodations title in the Civil Rights Act,
was that the wrong idea?
SHAPIRO: Well, it was right with respect to the Jim Crow South, when
there is a state-enforced segregation and bigotry, where that is enforced
by the state.
But in terms of private businesses doing it on their own, I think they
should have the freedom and individuals should have the freedom to
associate how they want.
HAYES: So, individual -- so that -- so racial discrimination also
counts here, red T-shirts, gay weddings, I will not serve black people?
SHAPIRO: I really don`t think that a business that discriminated
based on race would stay in business for a very long time, and rightfully
so. The market would take care of that.
SHAPIRO: Let`s go back to the actual Arizona bill, which didn`t
mention race, it didn`t mention sexual orientation.
It`s patterned off of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act
passed unanimously, written by that right-wing zealot Chuck Schumer 20
HAYES: Right. Right.
HAYES: And invalidated for the states by the Supreme Court in 1997.
SHAPIRO: That`s right. That`s why a lot of states, about 12 by
legislation and another 18 or so by common law, have these what are called
mini-RFRAs. And they have replicated what is on the federal level.
HAYES: And this was a significant expansion of the scope of that.
SHAPIRO: No, not at all.
HAYES: Yes, it was.
SHAPIRO: No, not at all. Arizona`s previous mini-RFRA was poorly
drafted, and this was getting it back in line, along what other states are
HAYES: I will read to you. "A person whose religious exercise is
burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim
or defense in a judicial proceeding, regardless of whether the government
is a party to the proceeding. The person asserting such a claim or defense
may obtain appropriate relief."
That was not previously in the law. That was in the law that was
SHAPIRO: That`s right. That was one of the biggest amendments.
But that is at play in a host of actions where the government is
trying to enforce whatever kind of its law against the individual, where if
a person is suing, like in the Elaine Photography -- you`re absolutely
right in your segment to say that this was all started with the prosecution
of the wedding photographer.
SHAPIRO: And I think that hasn`t happened yet in Arizona.
We will see what happens now. I would advise my fellow people that
agree with marriage equality, don`t go suing businesses that disagree with
you. Take your business elsewhere, and advise your friends to do the same.
HAYES: Ilya Shapiro with the Cato Institute, thanks for coming on
tonight. I really appreciate it.
SHAPIRO: Thank you.
HAYES: When we come back: a look at just who was promoting the
religious liberty crusade and how it`s being walked back.
HAYES: Thomas Frank, political and cultural critic for Salon and
author of "What`s the Matter With Congress: How Conservatives Won the Heart
of America" -- "What`s the Matter With Kansas."
HAYES: And Carlos Maza, LGBT program director at Media Matters.
Although your second book -- not your second book -- your book after
that was sort of what`s the matter with Congress.
THOMAS FRANK, SALON.COM: Yes. That`s right.
HAYES: Kansas -- this whole raft of legislation first came on my
radar screen when the Kansas House passed a way worse version of this, in
which they statutorily wrote in discrimination of gay people into the bill.
And then what happened?
FRANK: And then it went to the Kansas Senate, where it died.
The various business interests in the state, just like we saw in
Arizona, lobbied against it, and that was the end of it. But these things
are fascinating, cropping up all around the country. And I`m really glad
for the reporting that you just did, because I was wondering...
HAYES: Yes, like, where did it all come from, right.
FRANK: Because I think someone sits in an office somewhere and like
dreams up these culture war set pieces, do this and do that, tweak people
in exactly the right way.
And it`s always the same thing. You, the average man, is being
persecuted by these outside courts and these East Coast liberals, like you,
Chris Hayes, and then with your trial lawyers, you`re coming to their nice
Midwestern locale and ruining their lives.
HAYES: And it was a perfect -- these two cases -- the hilarious thing
about this whole thing is, as far as I can tell, there`s two cases in the
whole country. In some ways, it`s condescending to religious Christians.
FRANK: It`s like flag burning. You remember flag burning?
HAYES: Yes, exactly. Yes.
FRANK: It`s a huge deal, and it never, ever happened.
HAYES: That`s right.
And in some ways, I think it`s insulting to the many devout Christians
around this country, there are tens of millions of whom, who are not en
masse telling people, I`m not going to bake your cake. We have got two
examples. We have got a wedding over in New Mexico and we have got one
baker in Oregon, as far as I can tell.
But FOX particularly, Carlos, has played a huge role in taking these
small cases and building them up.
CARLOS MAZA, MEDIA MATTERS: That`s exactly right.
And the reality is that though these laws are relatively new, the
narrative that justified these laws and the reason these laws sort of even
came up to exist is because FOX News and other conservative groups, and
specifically anti-gay groups like the ADF, have been touting these very few
cases for years, because they are the only cases that sort of deal with
this issue of gay marriage.
And, in reality, even in the case of Elaine Photography was not a
marriage case. That was a case about a commitment ceremony. There was no
gay marriage in New Mexico when it happened.
MAZA: It`s a question of should a photographer have to acknowledge
that a gay couple exists and really loves each other? But the reason that
conservatives latch on to those kinds of cases is because they really need
a victim in this gay marriage fight.
And especially after the DOMA and Prop 8 fights, there isn`t a victim
that you can point to when it comes to things like gay marriage. It`s not
the kids from parents who are getting married. It`s not the states that
have sort of enjoyed the revenue of gay weddings in their states. It`s
these one or two business owners who don`t want to serve gay people.
HAYES: And that`s why these are perfect culture war set pieces.
FRANK: Capitalists on a cross, right?
HAYES: Right. That`s right.
And what I found really interesting about Jan Brewer and the way that
this whole played out -- thing played out, which is that the opening, the
great opening riff in "What`s the Matter with Kansas?" where you talk about
basically how economic conservatives play social conservatives for suckers.
And you say this thing about vote to stick it to the East Coast
liberal professors and get energy deregulation.
FRANK: Yes, right.
HAYES: Vote to -- and you have this great riff about that.
This is exactly this, because, at the end of the day, when the chips
are down, it`s the Chamber of Commerce, it`s the state`s business
establishment that`s going to be like, uh-uh, guys.
FRANK: That`s right. You have gone too far. This is a mistake.
And, immediately, they backed off, immediately. They crack the whip
and the Republicans all get into line. And it`s pretty funny reading -- I
was trying to find who was behind the bill in Kansas. And I was reading
various statements by the legislators in the newspapers in Kansas.
And it`s like group think whiplash, right? They were all running in
one direction. They even got some Democrats to vote for it, and then all
of a sudden, they`re like, wait, wait, everybody in the country is against
this? All the businesses are against this? And then they`re backpedaling,
HAYES: Here`s the news. Ohio -- Ohio bill -- proponents of the Ohio
version of the bill will scrap it after outcry.
We saw how quickly -- I mean, FOX is also kind of running the train in
reverse right now. Megyn Kelly said last night maybe this looks like an
overreaction, Andrew Napolitano.
So, it seems like FOX, which has been celebrating these cases, now
looks like they`re moving the other direction.
MAZA: It`s been a really weird week for FOX, because of all of these
horror stories really gained notoriety on that network.
HAYES: Yes. They were the ones -- no one knew the Oregon baker...
MAZA: Or who ADF was, until they became big on FOX.
The problem is that the horror story is much easier to sell. The
solution to that horror story, these anti-gay, very Jim Crowy types of
laws, are much harder to sell to the public. So, it`s easy to wax poetic
talk about these one or two photographers, but when you talk about how you
fix it, and the solution is allow for businesses to say no to gay
customers, it`s much less sellable to people in the mission.
HAYES: And that is the biggest issue, which I just said to Ilya and I
said it at the top of the program. This was a solution in search of a
I mean, this is not a problem in America, right? So, the idea that
you need to expand this or enshrine this into law seems ridiculous.
Thomas Frank of Salon and Carlos Maza of Media Matters, thank you
MAZA: Thanks for having us.
FRANK: Sure thing.
HAYES: All right. That is ALL IN for this evening.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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