Compared to other MSNBC personalities, Luke Russert is usually rather restrained when it comes to his biases. But on Wednesday’s Andrea Mitchell Reports, the son of the late Tim Russert could not hold back the condescension in his interview with Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council.
Perkins gave an eloquent defense of traditional marriage, but Russert wasn’t having any of it. In his mind, as in many liberal minds, opposition to same-sex marriage must surely stem from fear. So Russert prodded Perkins:
"What do you fear the most about a couple being together -- a same-sex couple being together for over 60 years, like we saw in the Windsor case. What do you fear so much about them getting the same federal benefits for their marriage as a opposite-sex [sic] couple would?"
Perkins replied that he didn’t fear anything. Russert, showing his narrow-mindedness, retorted, “Then why are you opposed?”
Perkins explained his opposition. The common argument in favor of same-sex marriage, he noted, says that people should be able to marry whomever they love. But if love is the sole criterion for marriage, where do we as a society draw the line? Some people around the world have multiple spouses whom they love. What if such a person wants to immigrate to the United States with his or her spouses? If love is all that is required for marriage, would we not be forced to recognize a polygamous marriage?
Of course, there was only one part of that argument that jumped out at Russert. “So you equate homosexuality with polygamy?” the fill-in host asked. Perkins tried again to make Russert understand his point:
"The argument is being made by those wanting to redefine marriage as saying that it's all based on love. It’s whoever – you ought to be able to marry who you love. Isn't that the argument that they're using? If that's the case, where you do you draw the boundaries? That's all I'm asking."
At this point, Russert ended the interview, undoubtedly believing he had just bested another bigot. But all he did was smear another conservative by accusing him of fear while refusing to listen to his argument. The media’s constant advocacy in favor of same-sex marriage is getting obnoxious. They need to realize that there are two legitimate sides to this argument, and gay marriage opponents cannot simply be explained away as bigoted or scared.
Below is a transcript of the exchange:
LUKE RUSSERT: I would like to ask you specifically though Mr. Perkins, what do you fear the most about a couple being together -- a same-sex couple being together for over 60 years, like we saw in the Windsor case. What do you fear so much about them getting the same federal benefits for their marriage as a opposite-sex couple would?
TONY PERKINS: I don't fear anything. The question is, as you heard – as you set this interview–
RUSSERT: Then why are you opposed?
PERKINS: -- this discussion up with this package interview, it talked about people ought to be able to marry whoever they love. I mean, if love becomes a definition of what the boundaries of marriage are, how do we define that going forward? What if someone wants to immigrate to this country that lives in a country that allows multiple spouses? They come here, right now they can't immigrate with those spouses, but if the criteria or the parameters are simply love, how do we prohibit them from coming into this country? So if it's all about just love, as it's being used, how do we -- where do we set the lines?
RUSSERT: So you equate homosexuality with polygamy?
PERKINS: No, that's not the argument.
RUSSERT: But you just said that, sir.
PERKINS: The argument is being made by those wanting to redefine marriage as saying that it's all based on love. It’s whoever – you ought to be able to marry who you love. Isn't that the argument that they're using? If that's the case, where you do you draw the boundaries? That's all I'm asking.
RUSSERT: Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, we appreciate you sharing your views. Thank you.