Jansing and Co | May 10, 2012
>> wan to bring in congressman barney frank , the first openly gay member of congress. congressman, thank you for being here.
>> you're welcome.
>> you're celebrating almost 25 years now since you came out. you're planning to get married soon, i think in a couple months. what was your first reaction when you heard the president was coming out in support of gay marriage yesterday?
>> i was pleased. but to be honest, i thought my major great degree of enthusiasm and positive reaction came earlier this year when he repudiated the defense of marriage act and said he would not defend its constitutionality. from a policy standpoint that's where the federal government gets involved. they have no part in who gets married and not. when i get married, jim and i will have the same rights as other couples under federal law . so that was the big breakthrough. i frankly expected at some point he was going to take the logical next step so i was pleased. but for me the really strong feelings of enthusiasm and of gratitude came when he took the major step and came out against the defense of marriage act and saying it's very important, not fully noted at the time, saying that in the future, nim that treated people differently based on sexual orientation or gender identity would have to meet a pry tough standard to be constitutional. that was a major breakthrough for us.
>> so on policy you're saying he's been very consistent, very supportive of same-sex marriage. then it came to him agreeing openly in terms of his personal view. do you think this will hurt the president politically as we get closer to november?
>> no. no, for this reason. it's one thing to look at a referendum. what politicians understand is we all have a lot of opinions. many of them are not all that relevant politically. it's one thing when you're asked are you for this or against it to say i'm for it. it's another to say and if someone else isn't for it, i won't vote for him on that basis. there are some people for whom opposition of same-sex marriage is a major factor in determining their vote. then there are people for whom it's important for same sex major is a factor. i cannot believe there are people in either category who hasn't already decided. in other words once he repudiated the defense of marriage act , the major federal statement against same-sex marriage, i can't imagine there are people who think same-sex marriage must be stopped at all cost who aren't going to vote for him. so in terms of the political relevance, i think there wasn't much. i'll tell you where it has more relevance and i'm very enthused about it, in the referendum. in california same-sex marriage lost narrowly, did not get a majority in the african-american community for a variety of reasons. we have a referendum in three states including maryland which has a significant african-american population. no longer will people who are opposed to same-sex marriage be able to say to people in the african-american community stick with obama. i think that's of major political significance. again, i cannot think anybody for whom same-sex marriage is a determining issue hasn't already decided.
>> made up their mind. congressman, ed gillespie , romney's senior adviser said they will campaign on this issue. take a listen to what he said a little bit earlier.
>> this will be another brightline difference in this campaign. if you look at the balance, chuck, for example in the swing state of north carolina , decisive, where the voters of north carolina are. if you look at other states where there have been referendums held, i don't believe gay marriage has been sanctioned in a state passed by a referendum.
>> votes haven't gone well for supporters of gay marriage .
>> that's true. i would make this point. once there has been a state where same-sex marriage is allowed it doesn't get repudiated. there's a great deal of fear. there's a great deal of fear mond mongering. when you're talking about it as a possibility hasn't got a majority. once we have seen it, and those states which has had same-sex marriage it's never been repudiated. in new hampshire when the legislative majority voted for it and a large republican majority came in office in 2010 and make of them said we'rete and repeal same-sex marriage, by the time it become a vote, two-thirds in favor of keeping it. the answer is, yes, in anticipation of the problem. as for mitt romney it doesn't surprise me at all he's going to campaign against it. has he a record of doing that. 2004 in massachusetts when our supreme court said we would have same-sex marriage, he spent a great deal of time and energy trying to defeat legislators who had voted not to put it on the ballot, particularly some women, there was a very ugly kind of campaign. again, i think that it's not a case of are you for it or against it. the number of people for whom opposition of same-sex marriage determines their vote i think is very small. those people were already against president obama .
>> congressman barney frank , thank you. you'll be married in just a couple of months.
>> two weeks.
>> two weeks. the first member of congress to be in a same-sex marriage. thank you for your time today.