CNN: Gary Glenn debates Marriage Protection Amendment

Prime time live with CNN’s Paula Zahn (click here to view video)

Glenn tells national TV audience:
Marriage Protection Amendment needed to uphold people’s vote


American Family Association of Michigan President Gary Glenn appeared Monday night live on CNN’s “Paula Zahn NOW”
to debate the need for a Marriage Protection Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. A transcript of the debate follows:

Paula Zahn

Cable News Network (CNN)
Atlanta, Georgia
June 5, 2006

PAULA ZAHN: The talk of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage gets people to the boiling point very quickly, as you’re about to see. My next guests have drastically opposing views.

Gary Glenn of the American Family Association (of Michigan) supports the amendment. Barry Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State is against it. Welcome to both of you.

Gary, I’m going to start with you tonight. Since same-sex marriage was made legal in Massachusetts, you have had some 8,000 couples married. What kind of a threat do you think they pose to the rest of America?

GARY GLENN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN FAMILY ASSOCIATION (OF MICHIGAN): Well, Paula, the president’s speech today, I think, did make all the right points, and that is that the overwhelming majority of Americans believe that, regardless of what’s happened in Massachusetts, that marriage is and should remain only between one man and one woman.

Every time it’s been put to a vote of the people — and that’s happened now in 19 states — it’s gotten an average of 70 percent in favor of retaining the definition of marriage being between a man and a woman. From the low end — the lowest percentage was 57 percent in Oregon, and all the way up to 86 percent in Mississippi. It was almost 60 percent here in Michigan.

ZAHN: But, if you’re saying, then, that it’s had limited impact on the rest of the country, what — what do you think has been the impact, period, of allowing those marriages to go forward? Does it — do you really believe it corrodes the idea of what marriage is?

GLENN: Well, I think, if we’re going to be fair, Paula, if we redefine the institution of one-man, one-woman marriage once to meet the demands of a particular special interest group clamoring for that definition today, that re-definition, then how do you fairly and consistently refuse to change marriage two or three or more times to accommodate the chosen lifestyles of other special interest groups, like people who want to practice polygamy?

ZAHN: All right.

GLENN: It’s a matter of common sense for the overwhelming majority of Americans. Marriage is between a man and a woman. And the only way to stop the federal judiciary from overturning the will of the people at the state level is with a Marriage Protection Amendment to the United States Constitution.

ZAHN: All right. Let’s ask Reverend Lynn about that. In the absence of a constitutional amendment, would you end up with what Gary was just talking about, 50 different definitions of what marriage should be, potentially?

BARRY LYNN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AMERICANS UNITED FOR SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE: I don’t think so, although we did have the experience back in the ’40s and ’50s of 50 different definitions of the relationship between marriage and race. For example, many states said black Americans could not marry white Americans in their state.

Well, through the course of activity by the courts and by legislatures, people decided that was unfair. And that, of course, restriction no longer exists. Now we’re having the same fight. And many of us have reached the conclusion that it makes no sense to define marriage as between only one man and one woman of a particular gender.

ZAHN: Why doesn’t it make sense to you?

LYNN: What doesn’t make sense to me is the arguments that Gary has used. For example, just because we make one change in the marriage laws doesn’t mean we have to open the definition to six people constitute a marriage or change the age restrictions for marriage. That’s completely illogical.

And, in response to your first question, what has happened in Massachusetts, or maybe in Vermont with civil unions, Gary didn’t have an answer, because nothing bad happened. Just good and decent Americans had an opportunity to accept rights, responsibilities, and stability in their relationship. Who in the world can be against that, except people really on the radical fringes of the country?

ZAHN: Gary, please be honest with us tonight. We have heard even Republican analysts say today this thing has no shot of passing in the Senate, that the only reason it’s being brought up now is to shore up the support of President Bush among his conservative base.

GLENN: Well, Paula, if the president is serious about passing a Marriage Protection Amendment, he ought to make that speech in two or three dozen cities across America, like he did for Social Security reform, and he could start…

ZAHN: But that isn’t what I asked you. What about the timing of this? This thing — this thing doesn’t — isn’t going to pass in the Senate, is it?

GLENN: Well, we want the Senate and we want the House of Representatives on record voting either with the people, in favor of protecting one-man, one-woman marriage, or in favor of the activist judges who want to overturn the will of the people.

Our concern is that the federal court system will force a single definition of marriage or any plethora of definitions of marriage from the federal judiciary on the states, in opposition to what the people of this country want, which clearly is between a man and woman.

ZAHN: Barry Lynn, Barry, you get the last word. You have got about 10…you have 12 seconds. And then I have got to move on.

LYNN: Gary, I think all — what this is all about is, you want votes, so that you can identify people in the next election who you say are anti-God and anti-marriage.

The marriage of two gay men is not going to affect my marriage or your marriage. I have been married for 36 years tomorrow. And if the two men up the street who are gay get the permission to marry, it’s not going to do one blessed thing to my relationship. And that’s simply a falsehood that keeps being repeated throughout this debate.

ZAHN: All right, gentlemen, we have got to leave it there. Barry Lynn, Gary Glenn, thank you both of you, for joining us tonight.

LYNN: Thank you.

GLENN: Thank you, Paula.

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