Marriage Defined and Redefined

Published February 24, 2004

| FoxNews.com

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes", February 19, 2003, that has been edited for clarity.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: It has only been a week since the city of San Francisco (search) started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but groups on both sides of the issue are already engaged in a fierce legal battle.

Earlier today the city of San Francisco announced that it would sue the state of California, and the suit will challenge the state's ban on same-sex marriage (search) on constitutional grounds.

Is it time for the country to embrace gay marriage, or should marriage be reserved for a man and a woman?

Well, joining us now, California Democratic Assemblyman Mark Leno, and Randy Thomasson, the executive director of the Campaign for California Families.

Thank you both for being with us.

RANDY THOMASSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CAMPAIGN FOR CALIFORNIA FAMILIES: Thank you, Alan.

HANNITY: Good to see you.

The dictionary definition of marriage, assemblyman, is the legal union of a man and a woman as husband and wife. Do you want to change the dictionary definition, how our country presently defines marriage, do you want to change that?

MARK LENO (D) CALIFORNIA ASSEMBLYMAN: I am presently, as a legislator in California, putting forward a bill that would amend the Section Code 300 of the Family Code of California to state that, rather than just a legal contract between a man and a woman, a legal contract between two persons.

And I just want, and let your viewers know, what occurred in San Francisco these past four or five days has been amazing. You would have been so impressed by the -- the expression of joy and excitement, love, devotion, commitment, domesticity that was expressed in city hall.

HANNITY: But -- I appreciate that.

So what you want to do is you want to take a word, you want to take an institution, and you want to alter it and shift it and change it.

Because it is what it is right now. The definition of marriage is a man and a woman.

And you want to just obliterate that, change that, and now make it what it never was meant to be. Should we do that with a lot of words in the dictionary?

What do you say to when three people want to marry and four people want to marry and other situations? Are you accepting of that? Is that acceptable to you?

LENO: Those are very good questions. You know, the definition of marriage has changed so radically over the years, up until 1850...

HANNITY: So anything goes?

LENO: Until 1850, of course, a husband literally owned, as property, his wife. But that changed marriage completely. And of course...

HANNITY: Answer the question.

LENO: ... only until 1967 that there was a ban on interracial marriage there. That was a very heated debate in this country until that time.

And so we continue to evolve so that we can recognize...

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Let me bring Randy in here.

LENO: ... full and equal protection for all Americans.

COLMES: It's Alan in New York. Good to have you both with us.

Randy, your group has asked the court to issue a restraining order to San Francisco officials.

THOMASSON: That's right.

COLMES: Who is being harmed by gays having the opportunity to marry?

THOMASSON: Well, first of all, the voters are being harmed. The voters of California said overwhelmingly four years ago, let's keep marriage only for a man and a woman.

Second of all, the law of California, which says in several places in the family and penal code that marriage is only for a man and a woman, and there is punishment for those like Mr. Leno and the mayor with counterfeit marriages.

COLMES: I understand what the law says. My question to you is on a broader level.

THOMASSON: That is illegal.

COLMES: In principle, what I'm asking you, though, is if gays have the right to marry, that doesn't -- how does it affect heterosexuals? I mean, who's being hurt by giving other people an opportunity to do what heterosexuals can do? Who's being harmed by it?

THOMASSON: Alan, do you think children do best with a mother and father?

COLMES: I don't think that has anything to do with the issue, because whether or not...

Let me respond.

THOMASSON: When we talk about marriage -- What we talk about marriage it's a man and a woman. Children do best with a mother and a father. You need an egg and a sperm to make a baby.

COLMES: Not having gay marriage...

THOMASSON: You need a man and a woman to be married.

COLMES: Not having gay marriage isn't going to cause more heterosexual marriages. That's not going to create...

THOMASSON: You see, what's going on here, Alan...

COLMES: ... more mommies and daddies.

THOMASSON: ... Mr. Leno and Mayor Newsom, who don't like the law and are violating the law on this, they want the state government to promote homosexual marriage to children across the state.

Now, all people have worth in God's eyes, but marriage is made for a man and a woman, and that is the best role model for children.

COLMES: Let me ask you, Mark, you know, it's interesting that Phyllis Lyon, 79 years old and Del Martin, 83 years old, were the first gay couple to wed in San Francisco when this happened. They've been together 51 years.

But a heterosexual person can meet somebody of the opposite sex, go to Las Vegas, get married in one night and have it annulled in two days, and that seems to be OK with society.

LENO: That is true. In fact, the excitement around city hall was such the lines were longer than Britney Spears' marriage.

What I think is important for everyone to recognize is there is nothing that more clearly manifests our common humanity than our ability to love and to love another human being in a committed and intimate fashion, just like Phyllis and Del.

And arguments that these 80-year-old women who have spent 51 years together should be denied the human right of having a marriage license...

COLMES: Randy, should they be denied that?

LENO: ... and have their relationship protected is hard to argue.

COLMES: Why would you deny these 80-year-olds this right after 51 years together?

THOMASSON: Well, those 80-year-olds were propped up, and this was orchestrated to violate the law to create a test case. Legally it is wrong, the state law is being violated, and Mark leno and Mayor Newsom know it.

As far as what should happen, nature says that a man and woman were designed to fit naturally together. I don't think we need to have people take their clothes off to show that a man and a woman were made for each other. And this is the proper role model for children.

If you don't have marriage between a man and a woman, you don't have marriage.

HANNITY: Mark, one of the issues that Randy brought up a little earlier tonight, once gay marriage is sanctioned and made legal, I think most Americans are fairly libertarian inasmuch as they don't really care what adults do in the privacy of their bedroom.

But in the case of foster parenting, adopting of children, they -- society then has to make a moral decision, what is in the best interests of a child?

And once gay marriage is legal, then they'd have the same rights in adoption and foster parenting. And the overwhelming majority of people in society would rather these kids go to homes with mommies and daddies.

LENO: Sure. Many states have allowed for the adoption by same-sex couples for many years. And there is no proof whatsoever that any damage is being caused to these children. In fact, in many cases...

THOMASSON: Children raised in a homosexual lifestyle catch on to that lifestyle and they're not experimenting like you want them to.

HANNITY: We'll be -- now, listen. Thank you, guys. Appreciate it. And thanks so much for being with us.

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