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Friday, May 16, 2008

Hey, I Was on the Teevee

posted by on May 16 at 10:02 AM

I was on CNN last night, on Anderson Cooper’s show, discussing the Supreme Court of California’s gay marriage decision with Tony Perkins, head douchebag from the Family Research Council. Doing that kind of teevee is hard: you’re in a dark room, staring into a black camera lens, you’re not getting any visual cues from the person you’re being interviewed by, and you only have a brief moment to make your point before you’re interrupted by the host or the other talking/shouting head. So if you think I sucked—and it’s entirely possible that I did—blame the format not the faggot.

Anyway, there was one point I wanted to make and failed to during my segment: the normally right-about-everything Jeffrey Toobin was wrong about something.

Religious bigots in California have already gathered enough signatures to place an anti-gay marriage amendment to California’s state constitution before the voters this November. If the amendment passes, it would undo the California’s supreme courts marriage decision and, essentially, invalidate the legal marriages that thousands of same-sex couples in California will have entered into this summer and fall. Shortly before I came on, Jeffrey Toobin, CNN’s legal affairs analyst, predicted that voters would pass the amendment that—hadn’t voters, after all, approved gay marriage bans and anti-gay-marriage amendments in every state where they had been placed on the ballot?

Uh, no, voters have not.

In 2006 an anti-gay marriage amendment was rejected by voters in John McCain’s home state of Arizona. McCain, who opposes a federal anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment, endorsed Arizona’s state anti-gay amendment—you can see his sweaty, pink head at the end of this commercial.

The failure of the 2006 anti-gay marriage amendment in Arizona should give us hope. It failed in a conservative state in 2006, which was a very bad year for the GOP. California is a much more liberal state and 2008 is shaping up to be an even worse year for the GOP. If we can beat this thing anywhere, we can beat it in California.

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Arnold has also said he would veto an amendment to the constitution banning gay marriage. We'll see if he's still in office when/if that happens and if so if he stands by what he originally said.

Posted by monkey | May 16, 2008 10:07 AM

You can't veto a constitutional amendment. If the voters approve it, that's the end of gay marriage in California.

Arnold has twice vetoed gay marriage legislation. But he has pledged not to support this initiative.

Posted by Dan Savage | May 16, 2008 10:10 AM

I was watching CNN and said lookee there! Dan Savage is on teevee . . .AGAIN! Dang dude man, seems you are on the idiot box a lot these days. . .Bill M the colbert. . .CNN. . .when you gonna be on FOX!?!!?
but you are doin' good work - making sense and giving people reason to ponder things they don't get. Keep on!

Posted by irl | May 16, 2008 10:12 AM

Unless something has changed since yesterday -- which is entirely possible -- the signature count for getting the amendment on the ballot has not been verified. True, it probably will be, but, then again, it might not.

And if the idiot in Sacramento had followed the will of the people as evidenced by their elected representatives, we wouldn't be in this race to the finish now.

Posted by whatevernevermind | May 16, 2008 10:17 AM

There's one more thing that you both have seemingly gotten wrong: the initiative, as of now, is still not actually on the ballot. While the supporters collected 1.1 million signatures, many signatures are thrown out during the verification stage due to inaccuracies or errors on the part of the signature gatherers. Say for example, some of the signatures are from people from Orange County, whereas others are from people from LA County. I don't know exactly how they do it, but I think the county with less signatures on the form gets thrown out. This goes for illegible signatures, out of state signatures, et cetera. We'll be waiting until around June to see if they truly did get enough signatures (which is entirely possible, but hopefully still won't happen).

Posted by Cook | May 16, 2008 10:19 AM

Bah I took too long typing. Oh well, just glad someone pointed that out.

Posted by Cook | May 16, 2008 10:20 AM

Dude, I hope you wiped him off after you came on Jeffrey Toobin.

Posted by skweetis | May 16, 2008 10:20 AM

We should save up our cell phone minutes, because if this thing gets on the ballot, people who believe in equal protection under the law should be mobilizing to make *lots* of phone calls to California voters.

Posted by ivan | May 16, 2008 10:24 AM

A few things -

1. Yep, saw you on TV last night
2. I think there is a good chance, even if it is put on the ballot, that the amendment won't pass.
3.Tony Perkins is a huge head douchebag. His last minute comment about having a mom and a dad verse having same sex parents is BS. You handled yourself well after being cut off.

Posted by stacy | May 16, 2008 10:26 AM

You were cute.

Posted by Mr. Poe | May 16, 2008 10:26 AM

I looked on Anderson Cooper's 360 site - no link to this as yet. Can you post one when it's available?

Posted by bohica | May 16, 2008 10:29 AM

I saw you! You were great, assertive, quick on your feet. I liked that you included single parents in your statements about families. Tony Perkins is a douche.

Posted by emily | May 16, 2008 10:30 AM

son of a bitch. i kept telling myself to watch AC360 last night, and even with it's airing after airing all night I still didn't.


Posted by DW | May 16, 2008 10:31 AM


If the idiot in Sacramento had followed the will of the people, the wingnuts would still be pushing a Constitutional amendment.

Posted by keshmeshi | May 16, 2008 10:33 AM

I heard a legal analyst on KPIX in San Francisco explain that the language used by the justices may make it possible to prevent an initiative from reaching the ballot.

She said that the court made it clear that all citizens have the right to marry and any legislation or initiative on the part of voter to impede that right would be unconstitutional and invalid.

I don't know who she is or if she is right, but it is worth looking into and I'm sure the lawyers are looking into it.

Posted by patrick | May 16, 2008 10:34 AM

This could be the clip:

Even if it is a debatable point, it still could be argued in court long enough to keep off the November ballot.

That will keep the Obamaphiles happy.

Posted by patrick | May 16, 2008 10:38 AM

@15 The current initiative is a constitutional amendment and can't be unconstitutional by definition.

Posted by Mike of Renton | May 16, 2008 10:40 AM

I think it's important to note that the only reason McCain doesn't support a federal ban is because he's strongly against a overly powerful federal government. It doesn't mean that he's supportive of marriage equality at all.

Posted by El Seven | May 16, 2008 10:44 AM

Tony Perkins is such a douche, he is just a right wing religious nut case that never has a valid point about anything as well as no facts to back-up any of his statements. Perkins looked like such an idiot last night.

Hopefully the rest of the country will follow in California's footsteps, in finally ending the ban on gay-marriage in America.

Posted by TJ | May 16, 2008 10:45 AM

The Arizona initiative failed in large part because along with same-sex marriage and civil unions, it also banned domestic partnerships, enjoyed by many among the state's large population of unmarried, cohabiting, hetero seniors, who risk screwing up insurance or pension arrangements if they remarry.

Only a few states, like Virginia, have gotten away with marriage bans that draconian, and California's proposed constitutional amendment doesn't risk similar blowback from self-interested old people.

The best argument in CA may be several months of valid marriages at the time of the election, serving to reverse the status quo to some extent. It'll be close.

Posted by Nat | May 16, 2008 10:46 AM


Are you a judge hired as a legal analyst for a local newstation?

If not, I think you ought to hear what one has to say.

Click on the link.

Posted by patrick | May 16, 2008 10:48 AM

MFing good for nothing linkshitpiss

on the page of that link, at the bottom left corner dated May 15 at 7:19pm is a clip titled: "CBS5 legal analyst on gay marriage ruling"

I hope you can find should be seen.

Posted by patrick | May 16, 2008 10:55 AM

Who's got a link to Dan's appearance on CNN?

Posted by Organ Leroy | May 16, 2008 10:56 AM

Hey, Ma!

That Dan Savage fella's in the moving picture box!

Posted by NapoleonXIV | May 16, 2008 10:57 AM

patrick, you seem very angry based on some of your posts on various threads. maybe you're not, but it comes across that way. you've won. now you should cheer the decision & marry your partner. no need to be confrontational. enjoy these great times.

Posted by Happy Times! | May 16, 2008 10:59 AM

if you are interested, the clip is on Towleroad. its the second one.

Posted by ZWBush | May 16, 2008 11:03 AM

Dan- you Rock!

Posted by Betty X | May 16, 2008 11:04 AM

That commercial made me want to throw up. Actually, it made me want to punch John McCain and then throw up on him.

To think I used to have something approaching respect for that man in '99/'00.

Posted by Julie | May 16, 2008 11:09 AM


Yes, but my point was "we wouldn't be in this race to the finish now", meaning we might not have had a mere handful of months to fight it and it definitely wouldn't have happened during a presidential election year. Timing is everything.

Anyway, it doesn't matter since Ellen is marrying Portia now so we've won this thing no matter what. Who's going to want to break up Ellen's marriage? Not her middle-class white housewife base, that's for sure.

Posted by whatevernevermind | May 16, 2008 11:10 AM

I admit I have a harsh tone. I guess I apologize for the tone. I don't apologize for the anger.

The decision is worthy of celebration and of recognition. Remember: four years ago Dianne Feinstein said it was "too much too fast and too soon" for gay marriage. Apparently - at least in her state - it is not any of those things. In fact, if you read the decision, it seems that we have been denied rights for too long.

I have a friend that has had to move to England to be with her partner becuase the laws of this country prevent her from having a relationship that is granted equal recognition. Coincidentally on Wednesday this week, my partner was informed by his employer that they have been undercharging him for insuring me - his domestic partner. As of this weeks paycheck he will now pay $400 + dollars (pre tax) per month to insure me. That is because the IRS does not recognize my right to equal protections that the supreme court of california says I have the right to expect.

Happy times? Sure! I saw hundreds and hundreds of people dancing in the Castro last night to celebrate. Where were all those idiots over the past 4 years at marriage rallies? There were more attendees last night than Ive seen at any rally.

I'm thrilled. It is not over. People unaffected by this ruling are far too quick to think its this easy.

Posted by patrick | May 16, 2008 11:10 AM

Yes, Patrick, I agree. It's not over. There is the possible ballot initiative, which will be defeated. And there are the other 48 states. It's going to take a while, but we'll get there, especially as the influence of the youth increases. ...Sorry to hear about the mishap with the health insurance deductions. It happened to my partner and me. However, my company paid for it. ...Have a great weekend! Cheers!

Posted by Happy Times! | May 16, 2008 11:22 AM

Dan, your best line:

"They're not coming to pee in the batter of your wedding cake."

Doing live interviews like that can't be easy. I can make rational arguments in writing when I have time to think about what I'm going to say, but I'm terrible at thinking on my feet like that in a live interview. You did well.

Posted by Reverse Polarity | May 16, 2008 11:24 AM

re the video link at @15/@16, the bit of legal analysis patrick is referring to starts at 7:00 minutes in.

and patrick, thanks for posting that video link. i never watch the news on TV, but reading about this decision just wasn't as powerful as seeing couples reacting to the decision. i had to blink back tears.

Posted by Mike O'Neill | May 16, 2008 11:43 AM

@2 - you can't pass a constitutional amendment in Cali without a lot more votes than they had last time. It's not a 50.1 percent deal - the bar requires all three votes to a specific percentage or higher.

Kind of like why Tim Eyman can't pass constitutional amendments in Washington State - he doesn't have ANY of the numbers he needs for the House, Senate, or the People.

Posted by Will in Seattle | May 16, 2008 12:14 PM

I saw it, you didn't suck.

I distinctly remember thinking "damn it seems hard to have any sort of dialogue with that ass; Dan's doing a good job!"

Posted by tamara | May 16, 2008 12:40 PM

Patrick, you hang onto that anger and rage just as long as it takes to get the job done. I love it, and respect you.

Posted by Boomer in NYC | May 16, 2008 2:29 PM

Dan -- You were funny, articulate, and you looked great on the teevee. You get a glint in your eye when you're making a smart point -- a pleasure to watch.

Posted by ChrisinSF | May 16, 2008 2:36 PM

Thanks, Boomer. I needed that.

Posted by patrick | May 16, 2008 2:59 PM

You have a very big Adam's Apple....and long fingers.....what could that mean?

Posted by MrEdCT | May 16, 2008 3:06 PM

I watched CNN last night and you were darling, articulate and even funny!

Posted by mj | May 16, 2008 3:17 PM

@ Will, you're wrong. From the California secretary of state:

Often referred to as "direct democracy," the initiative process is the power of the people to place measures on the ballot. These measures can either create or change statutes (including general obligation bonds) and amend the California Constitution. If the initiative proposes to amend California statute, signatures of registered voters gathered must equal in number to 5% of the votes cast for all candidates for Governor in the previous gubernatorial election. If the initiative proposes to amend the California Constitution, signatures of registered voters gathered must equal in number to 8% of the votes cast for all candidates for Governor in the previous gubernatorial election. An initiative requires a simple majority of the public's vote to be enacted.

Posted by arduous | May 16, 2008 3:55 PM

@17--I'm not sure if that's true. I haven't read Romer v. Evans in a while, but there the Supreme Court invalidated a constitutional amendment in Colorado. I guess the difference is that the Federal Constitution trumps State Constitutions, so although it was constitutional in Colorado it wasn't Federally. So maybe I'm talking out my ass.

The stupid thing is that it's almost easier to get a constitutional amendment passed than a bill. All you need are enough votes for a constitutional amendment. To get a bill through, you've got to survive the legislature and the senate and a veto, avoiding filibusters etc on the way.

It's silly. The whole point of a constitution is that it should be rules that are hard to change. Amending the US Constitution is like that. So too with the Canadian. But the idea that you can just get the masses to vote 50%+1 and bang, the founding document is changed is just nuts.

Posted by DeanP | May 16, 2008 4:29 PM

How best to donate to help the CA cause?

And I missed you and Anderson on the lookity box last night, dang it.

Posted by It's Mark Mitchell | May 16, 2008 5:03 PM

I don't get it: didn't the Supreme Ct rule that a ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional? Seems to me the voters can't override the constitution, right?

Posted by Dianna | May 16, 2008 10:08 PM

I'd like to make a point about the legalization of gay marriage in California:

Until now, Spain has been the largest country (population 40 million) that has legalized same-sex marriage.

Now, with California (37 million) and Massachusetts (6 million) legalizing it, the US can claim the lead!

This is a major step forward, on a global scale.

Posted by Raphael | May 16, 2008 10:37 PM

You've got a good chance of defeating the amendment. The Massachusetts amendment was defeated by 75% of legislators. I expect it would have been defeated by about 60% of voters, had it gone that far.

Massachusetts was in a better position, because it takes a long time to "process" an amendment, there, so the people had a long time to get used to the idea of same-sex marriage. And what a lot of people realized during that time was that it didn't actually make any difference to straight people whether or not gays got married. And the corporations, having already changed all their employee benefits and stuff, didn't want the administrative hassle of doing it all again. It turned out that not all that many gay couples wanted to get married anyway, and very few of them included an unemployed partner with an expensive illness, which was the only thing corporations were really afraid of.

If you could delay that constitutional amendment by even one year you'd be in a better position in CA. But CA is fairly liberal, and you've got a decent shot as it is.

Posted by puzzlegal | May 17, 2008 5:57 AM

DAN! You look so hot on the tube. Anderson had to reign you in a few times. I'm jealous.

Posted by patty in portland | May 17, 2008 6:38 PM

I live in AZ, and thank god for the blue dots in the big red state. My city is a blue one, and people voted in droves to make sure that amendment didn't pass. I heard there is going to be a new one next year. That frightens me.

Posted by Katie | May 18, 2008 8:25 AM

Dan, you did a fantastic job. You deserve to feel proud.

YouTube Link:

Posted by Willski | May 20, 2008 3:18 PM

Thanks for representing all us 'mo's, Dan, I think you did a wonderful job!

One thing struck me in this whole conversation, though; the debate is about marriage; not about parenthood.

If the fundies really want to cling to their made up statistics about mother this and father that, let them. That's the adoption agency's/sperm bank's territory. (Us 'mo's are incapable of bringing a child into our family by ourselves anyway, as these fundies are quick to point out!)

THIS conversation is about things like visitation and inheritance for my partner of 7 years were one of us to fall terminally ill, and all the rest of the gaggle of rights that married couples get.

Posted by KBF | May 20, 2008 6:22 PM

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