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MSNBC "The Rachel Maddow Show" - Transcript - Marriage Equality

Interview

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MADDOW: Late this afternoon, a California federal appeals court ordered that same-sex marriages in the state of California should resume immediately. It was a surprise ruling. Everybody thought there was going to be a 25-day delay but it just started and started right away.

In the next few moments, we are expecting to witness the marriage of Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo at Los Angeles City Hall. Mr. Katami and Mr. Zarrillo were two of the plaintiffs in the Prop 8 case decided by the Supreme Court on Wednesday morning. Their co-plaintiffs, Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, we just saw were just married tonight, married by California`s attorney general, Kamala Harris, at San Francisco City Hall.

Right after the court`s decision two days ago, Paul and Jeff explained during an interview here on MSNBC that they were inspired to do something, to do whatever they could in response to the passage of Prop 8, which was the gay marriage ban in California. They were inspired that night on election night they were going to do something. They said they felt the jarring contrast between the pride and hope at electing the nation`s first black president and the same time same-sex marriage rights in California being revoked by a popular vote.

Now, 4 1/2 years later, 4 1/2 years after both that shock and that decision by that couple, they are about to say their vows before Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and also maybe us.

Joining now as we await that is California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom. Nine years ago in 2004, only one month into his term as the mayor of San Francisco, it was Gavin Newsom who defied state law when he told the county clerk`s office in San Francisco that he wanted them to start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. We saw that again today but the order this time came from the ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Mr. Lieutenant Governor, thank you very much for being with us.

GAVIN NEWSOM (D), CALIFORNIA LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR (via telephone): Great to be here, Rachel. Thanks for having me on.

MADDOW: Am I right you are in transit between Sacramento and San Francisco?

NEWSOM: You can`t make it outside. My friend, Antonio and Kamala, are there nearly nine years and I wanted to be there in the moment. But this sort of proves the point how surprised all of us were --

MADDOW: I`ve got to tell you, while I`m talking to you. We`re watching what seems to be the impending marriage of Paul and Jeff, two of the named plaintiffs in Prop 8. The mayor is there about to convene the ceremony. We will go to that as soon as it starts.I just want to ask how it feels that this is all now suddenly happening in this unexpected way.

NEWSOM: Yes, well, it`s pretty extraordinary. I mean, it`s affirmation of love at the end of the day. Love is triumph and persistence. I mean, just remarkable commitment and resolve of people all across country that stepped up and stepped in and weren`t bystanders on this journey that we`ve all been on and frankly for over 20 years, Rachel, not just since 2004. And the Massachusetts decision and what happened in San Francisco.

So it`s a powerful reminder of what`s right in this country and the principles that we all strive for in perfecting this remarkable place that we call home.

MADDOW: Mr. Lieutenant Governor, thank you for being with us. We`re going to now have a live wedding on TV. We got to go. Thank you, sir.

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