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MSNBC "Hardball with Chris Matthews" - Transcript - Marriage Equality

Interview

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MATTHEWS: Well, today`s historic Supreme Court decision comes just two days before the 44th anniversary of the so-called -- well, the Stonewall riots. They weren`t so-called. But they`re named after a big riot up here about equal rights in New York City, down in the Village, which gay rights advocates say began the movement for gay rights in this country. It also comes 10 years to the day of another monumental Supreme Court decision, the Lawrence versus Texas case, which struck down those anti-sodomy laws. I`ve talked about them a number of times.

Well, the gay rights movement has made enormous gains in recent years, and today`s decision is, of course, the milestone showing just how far it has come. Jared Polis is a Democratic member of the United States Congress from Colorado. And Richard Socarides is an old pal of mine. He was a gay rights adviser to the great Bill Clinton when he was president.

Congressman, I guess very few people know what it`s like to run for Congress when you`re openly gay, and now to be there at the time that the federal government, which you are a representative to, has now officially not just legalized gay marriage, same-sex marriage, but has formalized its regularity, if you will, made it equal and very much the same thing as straight marriage in terms of its authenticity, its reality. It`s -- to me, it`s a staggering decision today.

REP. JARED POLIS (D), COLORADO: You know, as you know, the Capitol and Supreme Court are across kind of a lawn. And I can tell you there`s a lot more happening on the Supreme Court side than the Capitol side for equal rights.

So I was over there this morning, thousands of people on the steps of the Supreme Court, gazing up at those columns and really excited that our relationships of gay and lesbian Americans in fully committed relationships will now receive recognition.

MATTHEWS: Did you think when you were growing up, or even more recently, as ran for Congress -- did you see the United States Constitution on your side?

POLIS: You know, you mentioned Stonewall.

And, frankly, my generation had it a lot easier than the generation ahead of me, the pre-Stonewall generation.

But I can tell you, today`s kids growing up have it a lot different than even I did, in schools across our country, taking a same-sex date to prom, knowing that you can marry the person you love. It`s amazing, the speed that we have made progress. The American people are a good people. And they recognize loving relationships in all their forms. And today`s Supreme Court decision was an important step in the right direction.

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MATTHEWS: I think it`s also because people are running for office now openly.

Congressman, tell me, is this now the wall, has it gone down in Colorado, as it has in, say, Massachusetts or Rhode Island?

POLIS: You know, it`s interesting.

And my sexual orientation has never been an issue in running for office. There are six openly gay members of the House. And you know what? None of them come from what we might call gay mecca districts like San Francisco.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

POLIS: They`re just from regular suburban districts, Riverside, California, Madison, Wisconsin, suburbs of New York City. I`m from the suburbs of Denver. And it`s never been an issue on the campaign trail. People care about what we`re going to do for the country.

MATTHEWS: Well, let`s talk about reality for one minute here. It seems like young gay people, when they`re late teens, they get mobile. They can pick a college if they got the money to do it. They can pick where they want to live. They go to the cities. They go to Atlanta. They go to Chapel Hill, maybe. They go to Washington. Right? They don`t want to stay out in the rural areas. Is that going to be a reality that we live with for a long time?

SOCARIDES: Well, they go to the big cities.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

SOCARIDES: You everything has changed. I want to tell you, when I was in law school, I never thought I could run for office, because I was a gay person. I thought that maybe I could serve in appointed office. Maybe I could serve behind the scenes.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Yes.

SOCARIDES: But I never thought I could run for Congress. It is a totally new day.

MATTHEWS: We got a guy here who did and won. Thank you, Jared Polis, U.S. congressman from the suburbs of Denver. Thanks for joining us.

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