MSNBC's Joy Reid Celebrates Utah Gay Marriage Ruling

On Sunday's Melissa Harris-Perry on MSNBC, substitute host Joy Reid celebrated a federal court ruling that strikes down Utah's ban on same-sex marriage as she hosted the first gay couple to get married in the state for an interview.

Reid set up the segment:

2013 was an extraordinary year for the marriage equality movement. The Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and let stand a ruling striking down Proposition 8, clearing the way for same-sex marriage in California. Same-sex marriage became legal in seven additional states: Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Rhode Island. And now it's legal, at least for now, in one of the most surprising places: Utah, a conservative stronghold and home to the Mormon Church.

She continued:

On Friday a federal judge declared the state's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Judge Robert J. Shelby, a recent appointee by President Obama, said Utah failed to show that allowing same-sex marriages would affect opposite-sex marriages in any way.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Sunday, December 22, Melissa Harris-Perry show on MSNBC:

JOY REID: Up next, same-sex marriage has been making tremendous strides here, but Utah? We did not see this one coming.

[COMMERCIAL BREAK]

REID: 2013 was an extraordinary year for the marriage equality movement. The Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and let stand a ruling striking down Proposition 8, clearing the way for same-sex marriage in California.

Same-sex marriage became legal in seven additional states: Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Rhode Island. And now it's legal, at least for now, in one of the most surprising places: Utah, a conservative stronghold and home to the Mormon Church.

On Friday a federal judge declared the state's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Judge Robert J. Shelby, a recent appointee by President Obama, said Utah failed to show that allowing same-sex marriages would affect opposite-sex marriages in any way.

Utah's Republican governor, Gary Herbert, criticized the ruling, saying it went against the will of the people. And the state has filed both a notice of appeal and a request for an emergency stay. But in the meantime, same-sex couples are making a rush for the altar. Within minutes of the judge's ruling, Michael Ferguson and Seth Anderson became the first same-sex couple in Utah to get married at the Salt Lake County Court's office. And the happy couple, Seth and Michael, join me right now from Salt Lake City. So, first of all, congratulations, guys.

REID: So, first of all, how shocked were you to learn that you were going to be able to marry in, of all places, Utah?

[MICHAEL FERGUSON]

REID: And what was the planning like? I mean, was this an instant wedding. Did you guys have sort of a wedding in a box, like ready if you guys wanted to, if it ever happened? Or did you have to do, like, a rush plan?

[SETH ANDERSON]

REID: Are you guys Utah natives? Are you, did you guys grow up in Utah?

[ANDERSON]

REID: So what has been the reception that you guys have received, now that your wedding is so public and people were talking about it? What has really been the reception for, from your fellow Utahans? Is that the right word for it?

[FERGUSON]

REID: And what do you, I mean, if you could just sort of speak to what implications do you think that this might have? I mean, a state that is so very conservative, such a red state, for marriage equality to come to Utah. Do you guys think that that's going to have bigger implications outside of your state?

[FERGUSON]

REID: So I want to definitely bring the panel into this because this really probably, you know, of all the states in the world, (LAUGHS) I think this would have been the last state people would have expected. But, Richard, I mean, this, is that really what it takes? And in a state like Utah, the world doesn't end because these two lovely gentlemen can get married. Is that what it takes to sort of break the dam on marriage equality nationwide?

[RICHARD KIM, THE NATION]

REID: Well, the conservative argument is essentially the slippery slope argument. Right? And so you did see in Utah also this week, one of the things that conservatives argue will happen if you legalize same-sex marriage. You had a ruling by a different judge also in Utah about co-habitation, and this is partly about, obviously, Mormonism. We are in Utah where it was previously banned that you could have multiple marriage. But that is what people fear. Is there a concern that, because that ruling happened, too, that you will see a strengthening of the slippery slope argument from the right?

AISHA MOODIE-MILLS, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: So one of the big problems was that we're conflating two different arguments. There's marriage equality, and then there`s right to privacy, which is essentially what that case was all about.

And so I think that what conservatives are going to try to do is make them one and the same, but they're not. What we just saw, though, is this constant eroding of the same ridiculous arguments that conservatives have made against marriage, and this is what  the judge found there in Utah. He said, "Look, families are families. Children are going to be great and fine and healthy. In fact, the state is doing families harm when they don't allow the parents to be able to be married." They also said that marriage is not about procreation, as you know, kind of the Christian argument has been.

In fact, we're not going to stop, you know, women or men who are infertile from getting married. We're not going to stop post-menopausal women from getting married. We're not going to stop inmates who can't even, you know, consummate their marriages from getting married, either. Right? It's not about procreation.

So, at the end of the day, I think that what's exciting about Utah is that it's eroding those same arguments that have been made time and time again and just flipping them on their head. And, you know, it's not at all about the other case, which is really about the right to privacy. Can you do what you want to do in your own home?

REID: Okay. Well, I think I missed the most important question, so I have to go back to Seth and Michael. You have to tell us your honeymoon plans.

[FERGUSON]

REID: All right. We appreciate you making us a part of your honeymoon, a little part of it. So thank you so much. Congratulations to you, Seth Anderson and Michael Ferguson. All right. And for more on the story of this great and wonderful couple, you can log onto our Web site: mhpshow.com.