The Show

Same-Sex Marriage: The Prop 8 Debate

It’s a hot-button topic in California and around the country: The passage of Proposition 8, which reinstated a ban on same-sex marriage. Supporters of this initiative voted to preserve the sanctity of marriage solely between a man and a woman. Opponents of Prop 8 say it violates the constitutional rights of the gay community and that America’s laws should treat everyone equally. The debates are getting heated regarding this highly personal and controversial topic.

The Panel



Margaret Gallagher

"Here's a question that I personally haven't had a satisfactory answer to: Isn't it possible to be equal but different?" Dr. Phil asks.

"Of course not, Dr. Phil, come on," Gavin says. "Brown vs. Board of Education, 1954, the notion that separate is now somehow equal? That's anathema to what America has always stood for. If anyone here, and I don't know if any of the proponents of Prop 8 believe that separate is now equal or decry the principles of Brown vs. Board of Education. I mean, the idea that separate institution is somehow equal is not something this country has necessarily seen fit since that landmark Supreme Court decision, so to now acknowledge it for the gay community, I think, is wrong."


Margaret speaks up. "It's not discrimination to treat different things differently. Listen, bans on interracial marriage were about keeping two races separate so that one race could oppress the other and that was wrong. Marriage is about bringing together the two great halves of humanity, male and female, in part so that children can know and be known by, and love and be loved by their own mother and father, and that's good," she says. "The majority of courts and the majority of Americans do not think marriage is a civil rights issue. We do not think that you have an individual right to redefine marriage and make it mean what you like it to mean, and we think there's an important reason why, in almost every known human society, marriage has been seen as intrinsically a union of husband and wife because these are the only kind of unions that can both make new life and connect those children in love to their mother and father."

"Did this proposition take away civil rights from California residents?" Dr. Phil asks Margaret.

"I absolutely disagree with that," Margaret says. "First of all, all the practical rights and benefits to help people live their lives are still available through civil unions. Secondly, the people of California, in their constitution, have a core constitutional right, a civil right, to do what we did, which is to speak, to organize, to vote and to donate. And no American should have to be subjected to a campaign calling them haters and bigots, threatening their property, threatening their persons, threatening their livelihood, because they peacefully and lawfully participated in the democratic process, especially not religious minorities."

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