MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts forecasted the future on Wednesday, declaring that the U.S. Supreme Court "is expected to affirm that [California] decision" overturning Prop 8.
Roberts, who is openly gay, didn't explain how he had such inside knowledge, but made sure to use liberal language about the ruling, saying that the judge decided "the denial of marriage equality to gays and lesbians violates the U.S. Constitution."
It's possible Roberts was basing his prediction on the Lawrence V. Texas Supreme Court decision, a 6-3 ruling that struck down Texas' sodomy law. However, one of those judges in the majority (Sandra Day O'Connor) has retired and been replaced by a more conservative justice.
The other, Anthony Kennedy, has ruled on different sides of multiple issues, such as abortion. So, theorizing where he might fall on the issue could be tough.
Roberts interviewed two plaintiffs of the California case. Talking to Jeff Zarrillo and Paul Katami, he offered this softball: "Jeff, I want to start with the argument of liberty. Even some conservatives saying at the heart of this very debate is personal freedom."
Roberts continued, "Have you spoken to anyone who has changed their opinion about this or have people in your own circles knowing what you've gone through stood firm in how they feel about the issue?"
The anchor of News Live offered no tough questions. At one point, he mused, "...On a personal level, yesterday's appeals court decision, do you see that as a vindication, really a win for your original lawsuit or just another hurdle accomplished in the battle of this ongoing fight against Prop 8?"
Roberts has a history of pushing his own personal agenda. On September 20, 2010 hyped the pro-gay rights Lady Gaga as the "Joan Baez of her time."
A transcript of the February 8 segment, which aired at 11:45am EST, follows:
ELLEN DEGENERES: If you haven't been following it, I'll catch you up on it. For a long time, same sex marriage was not legal and then here in California it was legal for about 25 minutes and then it was not legal again because of something called Prop 8 which banned same sex marriage and I'm happy to say that yesterday an appeals court ruled that Prop 8 was unconstitutional!
THOMAS ROBERTS: That was Ellen DeGeneres celebrating yesterday's appeals court decision on California's controversial Prop 8. The Supreme Court is expected to affirm that decision finding the denial of marriage equality to gays and lesbians violates the U.S. Constitution. One of the attorneys, Ted Olson, who represented George W. Bush in Bush vs. Gore, spoke about that decision with Rachel Maddow last night.
TED OLSON: People have the right to get married, which is a fundamental right in this country. You cannot take it away from those individuals without violating the Constitution.
ROBERTS: Joining he this morning are Jeff Zarrillo and Paul Katami, two of the plaintiffs in the original case that kicked off the debate. Gentlemen, it's nice to see you this morning.
JEFF ZARRILLO: (Prop 8 plaintiff): Hi, Thomas. How are you?
PAUL KATAMI (Prop 8 lawsuit plaintiff) Thanks for having us.
ROBERTS: Absolutely. Jeff, I want to start with the argument of liberty. Even some conservatives saying at the heart of this very debate is personal freedom. Have you spoken to anyone who has changed their opinion about this or have people in your own circles knowing what you've gone through stood firm in how they feel about the issue?
JEFF ZARRILLO: Oh, sure, Thomas, and it's not even just in the recent weeks. It's really been since we filed this case almost two and a half years ago. We have spent time telling our stories and changing the hearts and minds of people across the gay and lesbian community and also in America overall.
ROBERTS: So, Paul, on a personal level, yesterday's appeals court decision, do you see that as a vindication, really a win for your original lawsuit or just another hurdle accomplished in the battle of this ongoing fight against Prop 8?
KATAMI: You know, it's a part of the process. Yesterday was a great day. It is absolutely a step in the right direction. The 9th Circuit's ruling yesterday says you can't recognize a right for a minority group and then lobby against that group because you have a bias and strip away that right for them. So, it is a vindication in many ways because for a long time we never thought we would actually have these rights and now we're on the road, the quick road, we hope, to being married and having equality.
ROBERTS: When we talk about what's taking place in the country right now, Jeff, Washington state specifically has legislature scheduled to take up today a bill supporting marriage equality that is supported by the state's governor, Gegoire. Do you think that your battle had anything to do with this nationwide movement towards marriage equality, movements that we're seeing take place on the east coast and Maryland as well?
ZARRILLO: I would certainly hope so. I think when you look at the record that we've put together, first at the district court and then the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and we have Ted Olson and David Boise on our side, we have spent the last two and a half years not only educating people but making sure that people are informed when they go to the ballot box and they understand that we do not put the minority rights up to a vote.
ROBERTS: Paul, again, this has moved on, ultimately, do you feel this has to reach the Supreme Court?
KATAMI: You know, as much as we want equality for California, I think we need equality as a nation. You know, there's people in other states that are like Jeff and I, like Chris and sandy, that have the same desire to marry, to be part of that institution that has universal recognition and we would hope that if this does become a Supreme Court case and the Supreme Court does accept it that it could eventually affect our entire nation. To us, it seems strange that you could have rights in one state and not in another so eventually we hope that all gay and lesbian people across the country and the world have equality.
ROBERTS: You guys are leading the charge on this, Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo. Thanks so much for being here this morning.