Meet the Press   |  June 30, 2013

Kennedy on 'dignity:' implications for the GOP

Republicans on the Meet the Press roundtable defend their political beliefs on gay marriage in the context of language in Justice Kennedy's ruling.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> let me bring jim demint in because i want to come back to pete's point. justice kennedy is using the word dignity over and over again. he's saying you can't demean gay and lesbian couples, you can't discriminate against them. let's be honest, in both of your backgrounds, ralph reed and jim demint , you will be viewed in many quarters as being intolerant of gay rights , intolerant of gays going back to the christian coalition . how do you answer justice kennedy saying to pose gay marriage is to deny dignity to people who deserve equal protection ?

>> what i'd say, david, is he is denying dignity to the millions of americans who for moral or religious reasons believe that gay marriage is wrong. as you just said, you've got 37 states where the people have decided that they want to protect marriage between a man and a woman because they know that that's the environment where children can thrive and succeed. i mean, that's been proven. so it's not about the desires of adults. it's really about the best environment for children. we're talking all about politics, but the reason governments at the state level and the federal level have recognized marriage between a man and a woman is because it's better for our country and it's better for children.

>> justice kennedy addressed that issue in his ruling.

>> he talked about children as well.

>> he said by denying marriage rights to same-sex couples who have kids you're humiliating those kids. so we can put it in the interest of children, but i think that cuts both ways and i think the ruling cuts against that argument. i mean, gay people say there's nothing we can do in policy that makes more of us exist or less of us exist. you guys have been arguing far generation that public policy should demean gay people as a means of expressing disapproval the fact we exist. but you're just arguing in favor of discrimination.

>> i really can't let that go. i mean, this suggestion that because somebody wants to affirm the institution of marriage that they're ipso facto sbol ranlt, by that argument barack obama was intolerant 14 months ago. by that argument, 342 members of the house, 85 members of the senate, including by the way joe biden , harry reid , pat leahy , who all voted for this law, and bill clinton who signed it into law were intolerant and motivated by an animus and a hatred for gays. wait a minute.

>> they all changed their mind, though. all of them.

>> we're talking about when they -- obama was 14 months ago. was he a big got 14 months ago?

>> nobody's calling anybody a bigot.

>> was hillary clinton a bigot when --

>> but you are motivated by hatred for somebody else because you believe that the foundation and socializing institution of western civilization is something to be protected.

>> david, i have to say this. the same argument destroyed civilization, will undermine the american family , will challenge our civic institutions, unravel our civil policies. the reality is the same arguments were made on behalf of those.

>> george wallace ?

>> not george wallace . i'm saying george washington . my point is this, that in the american culture , yes, people can change their minds, evolve, grow, think one thing was true then and another is true now. most americans believed 50ears ago one thing abo issues of race, now they believe something different. as we make a move towards progressive realization of what is enlightened viewpoints, your affirmation of marriage for those who are heterosexual goes against people who are aif i wering their right as same-sex people.

>> pete williams , with all those points in mind, the supreme court did not answer this core question.

>> that's right. with all due respect to mr. reed, it did not reject the argument of equality, it just sidestepped it with great relief. it was only too happy to find an off ramp and say the parties that came here, the prop 8 proponents, don't have the proper legal standing. it was obviously clear from the oral arguments that the court is nowhere near wanting to take on this question. they would not like to see this come back. there were two cases pending in the supreme court after it decided these cases from two other states that raised the court question. the court said we're just not going to hear those now. so having done all this, it does not want to see these cases back on its doorstep for quite a while. it wants the states to have very argument you're having.