While NBC interviewed Joe Scarborough on the "gay marriage" front (and CBS stayed out of the fray), ABC followed up their Claire Shipman report on "Good Morning America" with an interview with very liberal San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. Typically, co-host Charles Gibson asked about whether this issue is pandering and good politics for Republicans, but not whether it's been pandering or good politics for Democrats.
Gibson began: "We're going to turn next to Gavin Newsom. He's the Democratic mayor of San Francisco, and as you'll recall, a couple of years ago, he ordered city officials to marry gay couples, and he touched off this debate to some extent. And Mayor Newsom is joining us from our San Francisco bureau. It's good to have you back with us, Mr. Mayor...Your opinion on this? Do you think there's any chance, snowball's chance in you know where, that this will become part of the Constitution, or is this just politics?"
Newsom easily whapped that pitch: "It’s obvious, it’s politics, it’s pandering. It’s placating a core constituency, the evangelicals..."
Gibson asked for elaboration: "So it's politics, but you think it's good politics, from his standpoint?"
Newsom started the cocky talk about how he has principles, unlike Bush: "I may be an old-fashioned guy. I believe in principles. I believe in people that try to unite, not divide. So I think it’s cynical politics, I think it’s the reason people don’t believe any more. I think it lacks inspiration. It lacks purpose beyond , obviously, just looking at interim elections."
Hold on a minute. So when Gavin Newsom made San Francisco a national magnet for "gay marriages," he wasn't trying to divide Americans? He wasn't trying to cynically pander to his voting population in San Francisco? He has principles, and Bush doesn't?
Newsom continued his answer: "So I think it’s unfortunate. I particularly believe it’s unfortunate that it’s done a day when we’re commemorating 25 years of HIV and AIDS. ["Commemorating" AIDS?] This is the day, 25 years ago. What a statement by the President of the United States, that he would pick today to use the bully pulpit, to go after the opportunity for people to enter the same institution that so many of us frankly take for granted."
This is unfortunate language, since Mayor Newsom obviously did take his own marriage for granted, despite being married in a Catholic church.
Gibson wasn’t about to go there, but he did put a little bit of stress on Newsom’s liberal activism (without the label, of course): "But the interesting thing, as Claire [Shipman] mentioned just a moment ago, 39 states have banned same-sex marriages. And 13 states have actually passed state constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage. Did you feel in anyway responsible for that, given the fact that you touched off this debate by allowing same sex marriages in San Francisco?"
Newsom refused to acknowledge his own role, and then turned to equating "gay marriage" to racial and gender analogies: "No, you know, these are the arguments used when people had the audacity, women, to say I want [the right] to vote, or people decided they wanted to be married that happened to be of different races. Remember, there were 16, 17 states in this country ‘til 1967 that denied interracial marriage. Again, 1967, not ‘27. Interracial marriage was illegal. And there were people that challenged that, and there was cause and effect. That’s the reality of the effect of these civil movements..."
Gibson interrupted: "But many of these amendments and many of these moves to ban same-sex marriages came about as a result of what San Francisco did."
Newsom spoke out for going all-out for total gay acceptance: " ...If you fear a reaction in terms of advancing a principle, then you’ll never advance that principle. The reality is that any social-justice movement goes through precisely the challenges we’re going through as it relates to equality of marriage in this country. But the reality as well is we’re also making progress. We made progress in Spain. We made progress in Canada. We’re making progress with the institution of marriage, as you’ve seen, it hasn’t collapsed in Massaschusetts, so the fact is, it’s going to be a long and hard struggle, but we’re going to succeed."
Gibson then noted that the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment is somewhat weak in impact: "What is so wrong, it may not become part of the constitution, but what is so wrong with this kind of an amendment that many states have passed? It doesn't bar same-sex unions and it doesn't necessarily get rid of the legal rights that same-sex couples would have. It just takes out the word 'marriage'."
Newsom turned sassy: "Maybe we should revisit Brown vs. Board of Education, maybe separate but equal is what this country’s all about. Is that what our Founding Fathers were all about? We’ll create separate institutions because we happen to look a little bit differently. We happen to think a little bit differently. I think the full promise of the Constitution is equality for all. It’s not for running a 90-yard-dash for one group over another group. No chance does that, from my perspective, equate with the principles and the foundations that is our constitution. You know, the difference between the President and I, is that I actually believe in the Constitution of the United States. He thinks there’s something wrong, and that’s why he thinks he needs to write discrimination into it at a time when he ought to be focusing on double-digit health care costs, and rising gas prices...."
Then the eyes glazed over at the Democratic boilerplate.
But it’s quite obvious with Newsom – as it is with other "gay marriage" spin controllers – that it’s quite a pirouette to suggest that "gay marriage" is both a) an urgent social necessity to end injustice and b) obviously, an issue of the lowest possible political priority, depending on the question asked.