Zach Wahls is an activist lobbying Congress on behalf of gay rights issues, and yet CNN's Suzanne Malveaux rolled out the red carpet for him with nary a critical question on Thursday's 12 p.m. hour of Newsroom.
When Wahls, the author of a book titled "My Two Moms," made light of the "big gay scourge" that some say America faces, Malveaux laughed and flattered him "That was really funny, Zach." Sensing an opportunity, she added "Do you think that we need to use more humor to get – to further this discussion?"
As in, those opposed to same-sex marriage need to lighten up a bit, and some humor will help "further this discussion." Malveaux certainly did her part to further the gay agenda by teeing up the gay activist with complete softballs, enabling him to air his agenda with no debate.
Concerning President Obama's support for same-sex marriage, Malveaux asked "When you heard that, how did you – what did you think about your own family?" And she followed up by asking a doozy – does the country need to move "forward" on the issue?
"And did you think that this is a time where the nation needs to move forward, go forward even more, that there needs to be laws that protect that union?" the CNN anchor posed to Wahls who gave the obvious answer "Of course."
A transcript of the segment, which aired on May 17 on Newsroom at 1:14 p.m. EDT, is as follows:
SUZANNE MALVEAUX: Gay families are descending on the nation's Capitol Hill, right now. Parents and children all meeting with law makers to discuss marriage equality, safe schools, adoption, and other family concerns. Zach Wahls, he's among the 100 families there is to lobby Congress, and he joins us live from the Hill. So Zach, very good to see you. You have been a very powerful voice when it comes to same- sex marriage.
ZACH WAHLS, author, "My Two Moms": Thank you.
MALVEAUX: You have written two books. Well, you wrote one book here called "My Two Moms: Lessons of Love, Strength and What Makes a Family," and you also –
WAHLS: That's right.
MALVEAUX: -- have provided testimony before the Iowa state House last year, and that went viral. I want to play a little bit of what that was all about for our viewers.
WAHLS: The point is that our family really isn't so different from any other Iowa family. You know, when I'm home we go to church together, we eat dinner, we go on vacations. But, you know, we have our hard times, too. We get in fights.
You know, actually my mom Perry was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2000. It's a devastating disease that put her in a wheelchair, so we have had our struggles. But we're Iowans. We don't expect anyone to solve our problems for us. We'll fight our own battles. We just hope for equal and fair treatment from our government.
(End Video Clip)
MALVEAUX: So, Zach, you are back in Washington. I understand that you spoke with Iowa senator Chuck Grassley. What are you hoping to accomplish today? What did you tell him?
WAHLS: Suzanne, I'm here with the Family Equality Council, the country's leading advocacy group for families like mine. We're here talking, as you mentioned in the intro, things like same-sex adoption. There's this really rough patchwork of laws that's not consistent all across all 50 states. The Every Child Deserves a Family Act that we're encouraging senators to co-sponsor, including Senator Grassley, who I'll be speaking with in just about 30 minutes here.
We're also talking about safe schools, which are very important. I went to a public school in Iowa City, and the fact is that there are schools all over this country that kids still don't have the protection they need from other kids who, you know – kids will be kids. And we have got to make sure that our schools are safe for all the kids in them. And then finally, we're also making sure that everybody in the Senate is aware of the Respect for Marriage Act which would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, which is a flagrant violation of the Tenth Amendment. And we're all looking forward to making sure that we can remove that from the books and have marriage equality in this country.
MALVEAUX: And Zach, obviously the big news that came out just the last couple weeks, President Obama coming out in support of same-sex marriage. When you heard that, how did you – what did you think about your own family?
WAHLS: It was pretty incredible. There's no doubt about it. It was a very full circle moment for us. My moms, we've talked, we've had these conversations. They never thought they would live in a country where they'd be able to get married. You know, have a sitting president endorse their marriage. It really was a big moment for a lot of us.
I think some people get kind of caught up in the political calculus or what have you. But to be honest, Suzanne, I'm just happy to have his support.
MALVEAUX: And did you think that this is a time where the nation needs to move forward, go forward even more, that there needs to be laws that protect that union?
WAHLS: Of course. In this country, we have seen a steady march towards more liberty and more freedom. And this is another part of that long march towards, you know, the shining city that I think President Reagan spoke about. And I really do feel that the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act is going to be one of those important steps in that journey to the shining city.
MALVEAUX: Zach, what do you want people to know, just on a personal level, about who you are and what your family is about?
WAHLS: I think there are a lot of misconceptions about what it means to have lesbian parents in this country. I think there are a lot of folks who might think it's somehow radically different from having a mom and a dad. And to be honest, the biggest difference that I have been able to see between my life and my male friends who have straight parents is that compared to them, I'm really good at putting the seat down.
So, if this is the big gay scourge that we have to be worried about, I think as a country we're probably going to be okay.
MALVEAUX: That was really funny, Zach. Do you think --
WAHLS: Thank you very much.
MALVEAUX: Do you think that we need to use more humor to get – to further this discussion? It seems like people are very either one way or the other and kind of angry and serious about it all.
WAHLS: You know, it's a passionate issue to be sure, and I think humor is a good way of defusing some of that and helping us all step back and realize that the impacts on this aren't necessarily going to be as earth-shattering as some people might have you believe. I think there is a lot of very violent rhetoric that is thrown around, and to be honest, it happens from both sides.
The fact is that not all people who are opposed to same-sex marriage are bigots or hateful for ignorant. Likewise, not all people who support marriage equality are godless, colonoizing sodomites. So, I think if we can move past some of these stereotypes on both sides, we're able to have this real conversation. Understand at the end of the day my family isn't looking for some radical change to the law. We're looking for due process and equal protection, just like all families in this country have and deserve.