Chris Matthews found yet another opportunity to cheerlead in the push for same-sex marriage by promoting HBO’s The Case Against 8 and recommending a book by lawyers David Boies and Ted Olson titled Redeeming the Dream. The Hardball host took every opportunity to compliment the two men on their successful effort to overturn Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in the state of California.
Rejecting any hint of impartiality, Matthews declared Boies and Olson to be “my heroes and I think heroes to the country.” Later on in the conversation, Matthews could not conceive why a conservative–or anyone–might ever oppose gay marriage aside from it being a “cultural thing,” explaining in a mocking voice [MP3 audio here; video below]:
And it’s also the individual conservative guy, probably, not a woman, going to bed at night saying, God, there's gays getting married. It’s really bothering me–I can't sleep tonight.
Matthews wrapped up the conversation by taking a subtle shot at conservatives for their opposition to gay marriage, asserting that “people who are gay or straight, who care about this country, I’ve always said we expand our democracy every couple years and this is one of the expansions. We're making this country better.”
The implicit assertion from the Hardball host is that conservatives who have resisted same-sex must not care about this country, at least not compared to the liberals who are determined to “expand our democracy.” The unapologetic support for same-sex marriage has been all too common a theme for MSNBC and the liberal media.
The relevant portion of the transcript is below:
June 23, 2014
7:48 p.m. Eastern
MATTHEWS: Joining right now are attorneys David Boies and Ted Olson. Congratulations, gentlemen. You're my heroes and I think heroes to the country. Why did you take on an issue which most think is a liberal issue?
OLSON: I grew up in California, I was stunned by what Californians did to their own citizens. It seemed inconsistent with the frontier state. All the diversity that exists in California and the tolerance that Californians have for persons of different views or persons of different races seemed to me wrong. When I was asked to do it, I thought there was something I could do about it.
MATTHEWS: The old line from Mr. Dooley was the Supreme Court follows the election returns. Was the changing public opinion, which has gone from 27% for same-sex marriage back in '96 to 55% today. An actual doubling of support for same-sex marriage had something to do with how the courts have reacted?
BOIES: I think it's part of the atmosphere the courts operate in. I don't think the courts follow the election polls. I think what the courts do is they do consider is the whole context when an issue comes in front of it, both in terms of how they decide but even more important, when they decide.
MATTHEWS: I think the idea of marriage is such an interesting idea because marriage is part of our culture. Marriage is probably– it could primordial for all we know. We mate and we may mate for life. Who knows what the anthropology is. Gay marriage is something that was new to a lot of people. The very idea of it. What do you think broke through?
OLSON: What broke through–
MATTHEWS: People saying–because for a while the portrait of the gay community was bars, bathhouses, parades–gay pride parades that didn't make the case. Then it began to be couples. We began to see men and men, two men, or two women, and saw them happy together in a very familiar coupling together that seemed like straight marriage and people said, you know, what's wrong with that?
OLSON: It's very much like straight marriage. It is like straight marriage. It's the same thing. We say there's a conservative case for gay marriage. People coming together to form an enduring relationship, to be a part of a community, to be a part of our economy. The plaintiffs in our case had been together for 10, 15, 16 years.
MATTHEWS: Two women and two men.
OLSON: Two women and two men. They'd been together for a long time. And when people see those relationships and when people see the joy of the two people finally being able to get together and being respected and being a part of the community like the rest of us, the rest of us look at that and say, gee, that's right. That's the way it ought to be. We should be for happiness and for love. And for marriage.
MATTHEWS: It seems like the gay community, if you can generalize, has been so supportive of this legal effort that they have really–I don't know how to describe it, but the way–maybe it's the natural way that people look. Every time I see them coming out of church steps or coming out of city hall, it's a happy positive thing. How can you have a problem with it? What was the argument against gay marriage? I remember in California in your case, they tried to find somebody who had standing that could say this is hurting straight marriage.
MATTHEWS: What was that argument?
BOIES: Well, what they tried to do is they tried to say somehow this may have damage to straight marriage. Because they had to find something wrong.
MATTHEWS: What was their molecule of thought there?
BOIES: They didn't have any. In fact, their lawyer asked, you say there's harm to straight marriage, what is that harm? He danced around it, danced around it, didn’t answer. Finally, the judge got cross, and said, come on, answer the question. He paused and said I don't know, and that was the answer–
MATTHEWS: But the argument they'd make on the right is it's cultural problem, it’s cosmic. And it’s also the individual conservative guy, probably, not a woman, going to bed at night saying, God, there's gays getting married. It’s really bothering me–I can't sleep tonight.
BOIES: They're not going to get divorced over that. How many people do you know who have a happy marriage who are going to get divorced because their gay neighbor can get married? It’s not gonna happen.
MATTHEWS: So nobody got divorced over this issue?
BOIES: Not over this issue.
OLSON: Everywhere it's happened has been good for marriage. You know, marriage improves because we have a relationship like that where we respect people and we respect–
MATTHEWS: I'm a big believer in books. "Redeeming the Dream” is the name of your book. And people who are gay or straight, who care about this country, I’ve always said we expand our democracy every couple years and this is one of the expansions. We're making this country better. Thank you. Congratulations. You, especially, it was unexpected of you. Thank you, David Boies and Ted Olson. Actually Ted Olson is a very good guy. We'll be right back after this.