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


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MATTHEWS: For more, we`re joined right now by two experts. Gavin Newsom`s Lieutenant Governor of California, and Christine Quinn`s the speaker of the New York City Council.

I want to go to Chris Quinn, first of all. You`re gay.


MATTHEWS: The new normal in New York City politics.


MATTHEWS: You`re up again what`s his name, Anthony Weiner. I think you`re pretty mainstream. But let`s talk about this. It`s so fascinating. This is pretty nonpartisan. I`m looking at this, Judge Kennedy, a Reagan guy...

QUINN: Right. Right.

MATTHEWS: ... very much a Reagan personal friend and appointed by him, Ted Olson, of course...

QUINN: Right.

MATTHEWS: ... who fought for Bush down in the Bush versus Gore fight down in Florida, former solicitor general under W, and only one Democrat. So in two out of three guys -- men, all straight, I believe, all straight -- pushed through this thing. So it isn`t just a gay rights movement in a narrow sense.

QUINN: No, not at all. Look, these decisions today are huge steps forward. And they`re steps forward in what they ruled, but also, you`re totally right, in who ruled, who was involved in the case. And this idea that LGBT civil rights are just some special interests...


QUINN: ... that only a few Americans care about who live in California or New York -- that reality does not exist anymore. This is much more becoming a mainstream movement, and I think that`s what`s going to help propel us forward.

But I do want to take some home town pride. Edie is a New York gal, and I want to thank her for all her bravery.

MATTHEWS: Well, New York is a liberal state in this regard, not on everything. Not taxes sometimes.

Let me go to Gavin Newsom. Governor, thanks for joining us. You were out front on this. You`re a pioneer. In fact, you were sort of like John Brown or something back in the Civil War -- pre-Civil War days. You`re so far out, you got in trouble for it.

If Prop 22 came up today -- not 22, Prop 8 -- if it came up today, the one that basically banned same-sex marriage -- it looked to me like it was getting so close, 52-48, that it would go the other way now.

LT. GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D), CALIFORNIA: Yes. No. No question be it. And again...


MATTHEWS: ... the people of California, if they got the vote -- forget the court for a minute. If they got to vote in your state, the largest state, they would vote for same-sex.

NEWSOM: There`s no question in my mind. Now, that said, that was the backdrop of today`s decision. If, in the worst case, Prop 8 was upheld, we were certainly ready to go forward with a ballot initiative next year with that confidence in mind.

But Chris, you know this, and Christine knows this, and I think everyone watching, even people that are opposed to marriage equality, understand the generational shift. If you`re 29 and younger, you overwhelmingly support marriage equality, regardless of your political stripes.

So every single day into the future, it`s more and more likely that we`re going to right these wrongs not just here in celebration of what happened in California and across the country with DOMA, but now in those 37 other states where we still have a lot of work to do.

MATTHEWS: Well, Let me ask you about this, Chris Quinn in New York here, and this whole question of the country. What are we going to do if we have a country that ends up being divided this way? Like -- almost like half slave and half free. You`re going to have parts of the country where the federal government supports you, you get Social Security, you get retirement, you get all kinds of advantages. In the military, I guess, they`re going to recognize that fully now. Every right that comes to you as a straight person, you get as a gay person.

QUINN: Right.

MATTHEWS: But the minute you step out of your state to go retire where it`s warmer -- it`s just -- I was kind of struck by what Pete -- our experts said.

QUINN: Look, this is not the full victory, but it`s great step forward and we should be really happy today and really gratified, but we shouldn`t be satisfied because we can`t really be satisfied until marriage equality is a right for everybody in every state. And if -- well, I`m not leaving New York, but if one theoretically was crazy enough to leave New York, wherever you went, you would still be recognized as married. That is the ultimate goal.

We`re not there today, but we now can leap off of a really firm foundation. We`re not fighting against a federal law that said my family was less than your family. That`s now gone, and that creates a different construct for forward motion.

MATTHEWS: Gavin, I want you to -- Governor, I want you to talk about San Francisco. You know, we had Jeane Kirkpatrick years ago, back when it was all right to do gay baiting, and she`d refer to, like, the San Francisco Democrats, hee, hee, hee, little joke there.

I get the feeling that that`s -- I think it is my favorite city, although I`m a Philadelphia guy. There`s nothing like your city. I was just out there. It is a spectacular city. It`s also a gay mecca. And what is the feeling in that community tonight, if you can speak for it, about this celebratory moment?

NEWSOM: Well, I think, you know, at our best, Chris, you know this, and for that matter, the best of our state and our country, we don`t tolerate diversity, we celebrate it each and every day. We celebrate, sure, all those interesting differences but unite around those things that Dr. King so eloquently talked about, those things that bind us together. And really, that`s what we celebrated, that spirit and pride that comes in shape and form when we celebrate those differences, as we did with this decision today.

So look, that spirit is permeating the city and that sense of possibility and hope that we can take this message across the country, as Christine said, to all of these other states. So eventually, we go back in front of that Supreme Court and have the Loving versus Virginia adjudication...


NEWSOM: ... and get this addressed on the issue of merit and deal with those remaining states that still deny full equality for all of their citizens.

MATTHEWS: Well, I`d like to see -- as I said in the opening of the show, I`d like to see it go all the way with the Lawrence decision follow-up (ph), where David Boies said we ought to be going and recognize liberty and recognize due process and basically come down on the states that don`t want to go along with this. Would you like to see that happen?

QUINN: Oh, yes. I mean, you`d like to see this be an option for everyone because the fight state by state -- we`ll do it, but it`s going to be hard. But I want to mention one -- follow up on one thing that Pete Williams mentioned. In the ruling around Prop 8, it was really said that for this case to move forward, there would have had to have been harm against someone else. And the court said there was no harm against the folks who brought the case.

That`s important, in my opinion, because it underscores what we`ve always said. My marriage doesn`t harm anybody else. And those who put that argument out are -- today made very clear it`s an absurd and baseless argument.

MATTHEWS: Christine, you`ll be...

NEWSOM: Hey, Chris...


MATTHEWS: ... for New York some day.

QUINN: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: I`d love to see you mayor of New York. I think you are -- I`m just kidding about this because we`re pretty friendly. It is the new normal. I think you`re fabulous and think you`d be great...

QUINN: Thank you very...


MATTHEWS: Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, who has been on his way to greatness for so many years...

QUINN: Hopefully.

MATTHEWS: ... and once again has achieved his goal, equality.

NEWSOM: God bless.

QUINN: Thank you, Chris.


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