CNN Portray Their 'Gary and Tony' as Homosexual 'Role Models'
Anchor Don Lemon interviewed the two just before the bottom of the 7 pm Eastern hour on Sunday's Newsroom program. Before turning to his guests, Lemon played a three-minute clip from the documentary about "how one couple tries to redefine what it means to be a family" and what CNN billed as a "new American family" (see video at right), focusing on the young woman who donated 14 of her eggs so the couple could have one child via in-vitro fertilization and a surrogate mother. Near the end of clip, the "Tony" of the documentary, Tony Brown, spoke emotionally of how the egg donor, named Holly, "gets that she's giving us this incredible gift, and it's pretty amazing." The CNN anchor replied in agreement: "pretty amazing and very emotional."
Lemon then tossed his first softball question to Brown's "husband," Gary Spino, and included his "role models" label to describe the two: "Gary, I'll start with you. Your name is first on the documentary we're doing. How much pressure are you feeling with so much attention for your experience? Do you feel like the gay community, in many ways, view you guys as role models?"
The anchor spent the rest of the segment asking the homosexual couple very sympathetic questions:
LEMON: So, Tony, you realize that many people are going to watch this. It's going to make some folks uncomfortable. I mean, let's just be honest here. What do you say to that? You know, and it hasn't even aired yet- just watching the premiere and listening to you, some people are going to be made uncomfortable by it.Nineteen hours later, substitute anchor Richard Lui interviewed Brown by himself 39 minutes into the 2 pm Eastern hour. Lui also resorted to asking very sympathetic/softball questions to the subject of his network's own documentary, though he did mention that social conservatives objected to President Obama's Father's Day proclamation for this year, which included the line, "Nurturing families come in many forms, and children may be raised by...two fathers..."
BROWN: Well, you know, honestly, I think if people do watch it, they're going to see more of what's more in common with us than what's different with us. We went through the exact same anxieties that- you know, prospective parents go through, worrying about the pregnancy- you know, trying to prepare and get everything ready and save money. And, you know, I have a feeling that there is far more in common with us than what's different- you know, from other parents that have kids. So I'm hoping that we're going to able to- you know, I hope that we're going to able to show that. I hope the people will watch the documentary and see that.
LEMON: Gary, do you agree?
SPINO: Oh, absolutely. I think when kids are involved, people's prejudices tend to fall by the wayside. I mean, it happened in the '70s when interracial couples were getting together and having kids and the in-laws were not speaking to their in-laws until the couple got pregnant and had a kid, and then, all of a sudden, everybody wanted to be the grandparent- no matter what that child look like or the color of their skin was, they loved that child. So- I mean, it's been happening already at home.
LEMON: Yeah. Well, hey, it's a pleasure to see both of you. I got to meet you, via satellite, at a premiere- one of the premiere parties the other night here in Atlanta. So, thank you both, and I won't give away much.
SPINO: Thank you.
BROWN: Thank you very much, Don.
LEMON: You have to watch the documentary to find out what happens with the baby, but we'll see you. Thank you so much.
The transcript of Lui's questions to Brown, including one of the guest's answers for context:
LUI: In today's 'Mission Possible' segment, we're going to talk about a controversial subject: gay parenting. President Obama is drawing fire from social conservatives for this year's Father's Day proclamation. In it, it includes this had line- take a look at this: 'Nurturing families come in many forms, and children may be raised by a father and mother, a single father, two fathers, a stepfather, a grandfather, or caring guardian.'Earlier in June, Soledad O'Brien herself helped promote her upcoming documentary by presenting a one-sided report about a lesbian teenager in Mississippi whose senior portrait was left out of her school's yearbook because she defied her school's rules by having it taken in a tux. CNN also aired a glowing two-part report from senior political analyst Gloria Borger on June 16 about Ted Olson and David Boies, the former rivals in Bush v. Gore who are now fighting to overturn California's Proposition 8, which outlawed same-sex "marriage."
Now, millions of U.S. children are being raised by gay or lesbian parents, in fact. This coming Thursday, CNN will be presenting a special called 'Gary and Tony Have a Baby.' It's about Tony Brown and Gary Spino, a gay couple who became parents through surrogacy.
Now, Tony Brown joins us from that special. He's live in New York right now, and thank you so much for being with us today. I appreciate you stopping by, Tony, and I want to start by asking you this: a lot of people will see your story and be very supportive of it. They'll be those who'll be very intrigued by it. But now, they'll also be those who question it. How do you respond to that?
LUI: And you allow us into your lives. This is very interesting, based- I was reading on some of your previous interviews, and you said- you know, part of your- the difficulty, shall I say, over time, was you accepting who you are as a person. Yet, you invite in cameras to watch you from day to night. What was that like?
LUI: And we thank you for doing that. You know, Tony, when you and Gary are out, you talk about this love that you have found with your husband. Has that helped you as you've had to deal with some very difficult instances, no doubt, when you're in public with your family?
BROWN: You know, that is a really interesting question because what Gary and I have discovered is that we have to get over our own- either fear, or often, prejudices of other people, and give them permission to accept us, because the truth of the matter is, everywhere that we have gone with our son, we have been welcomed. We have been accepted. We've been treated with kindness and respect, and- but Gary and I had to get- kind of get over our fear of that at first. So, we've been really- feeling very blessed right now.
LUI: Why did the two of you have that fear?
LUI: So Tony, you know, I started by saying there will be those who support you, those who would be very intrigued, and those who may be against what- the way you're living your life. What do you think that your 'In America' special will help? How will they help these different groups?
LUI: Yeah. And a part of the parenting and you being a father here, Tony- we're going to meet your son on Thursday, right? And when we do do that- how is your son doing, by the way?
LUI: You know, and my married friends who do have kids, or my friends that have kids, they'll say, if you can get up through two or three A.M. in the morning without being woken up, you're okay, and it sounds like you're doing okay right now, Tony. So that's good to hear.
BROWN: We're doing great. Thank you so much, Richard.
LUI: All right. Congratulations, my friend. Tony Brown Gary Spino, in that 'In America' special. Hey, thanks for stopping by and giving us a preview of what to expect.