Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich declared on Wednesday that eight million people of California who voted for the Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage “have a pretty good reason to be a little more alienated from Washington than they were yesterday.”
Appearing on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight” along with fellow co-hosts of the all-new “Crossfire” program, Gingrich came out swinging from host Piers Morgan’s opening salvo.
“Newt Gingrich you must be absolutely thrilled at the Supreme Court’s decisions today?” asked the liberal Morgan, who put up no pretense of where he stood on the issue of gay marriage and the two rulings handed down by the high court earlier in the day.
“I was thrilled that you are missing the core point that eight million Californians voted a particular way,” snapped Gingrich, who sought the 2012 Republican presidential nomination in a fierce primary battle in which he honed his reputation as a masterful debater.
“Their governor and their attorney general refused to defend them — and as a result the court didn’t actually decide the substance of the case,” said Gingrich, referring to the court’s decision on technical grounds to leave in place a trial court's declaration that California's Proposition 8 ban was unconstitutional.
In a second 5-4 vote, the court wiped away part of the Defense of Marriage Act — a federal anti-gay marriage law — that has kept legally married same-sex couples from receiving tax, health, and pension benefits that are available to married couples.
Gingrich insisted that he is not opposed to “gay people having the right to have a relationship,” but said that he believes as a Christian that marriage should be between a man and a woman.
“But Cardinal (Timothy) Dolan described it as a tragedy for America. A tragedy that two loving people of the same sex can get married just like you and me? That’s a tragedy for America,” pressed Morgan.
“If you want to reject the right of the Catholic bishops collectively — not just Dolan, to actually stand up for their values — and you want to trivialize them, that’s your right. But in fact I do believe states are making arrangements,” said Gingrich.
“What I object to in this case is very clear-cut. You had a 5 to 4 decision to reject eight million Californians on the grounds that eight million people have no standing before the Supreme Court,” he added. “That’s a huge mistake.”
Liberal co-hosts Van Jones and Stephanie Cutter were respectful, but nevertheless disagreed with Gingrich.
“First of all, I just want to say as a Christian if you are concerned about traditional marriage, Kim Kardashian has done more harm to traditional marriage than any gay person,” quipped Jones, the founding president of Rebuild the Dream, an organization that searches for ways to improve the U.S. economy.
“The people who brought the dignity and the honor back to the institution are the lesbian/gay community,” he said. “And the problem that we have now is just because you put something on the ballot — if you had put on the ballot civil rights in 1950 — we wouldn’t have had them. The courts have a job to do to protect people. I’m glad they did the job.”
Cutter, who served as the deputy campaign manager for President Obama's re-election campaign, agreed that the court’s ruling was contrary to the wishes of eight million Californians, but said that people “have voted before and they’ve been wrong.”
She called the Supreme Court action a “check” to ensure that people have equality in California and noted the celebrations in the state over the rulings.
Conservative co-host S.E. Cupp acknowledged that she supports gay marriage, but agreed that the court’s ruling on the California ban was a “rejection of the voices of the people.”
Cupp, a syndicated columnist, pointed to the high court’s deferential language concerning the rights of states as a “huge victory for federalism and if you believe in small government and conservatism with a “C” then you have to see that as at least a silver lining,” she said.
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