Jansing and Co | March 01, 2013
>>> believe it or not.
>> president obama and clint eastwood have something in common. they are both asking the supreme court to strike down california 's ban on same-sex marriage. in a brief submitted yesterday, the obama administration took its boldest step yet in favor of gay marriage . while it doesn't call for marriage equality across the country, it does point the country in that direction. eastwood in that bizarre convention last year joined about 130 other high-profile republicans in signing a brief also arguing against california 's proposition 8. i'm joined now by former new york congressman rick lazio and former governor of pennsylvania ed rendell . how significant is it that the administration submitted this brief?
>> i think it's a significant change and a step by the administration but i think it's a fairly easy case, chris, because the equal protection clause of our constitution says you can differentiate between classes but there has to be a harm that's committed. i would ask anybody opposed to this, what's the harm? a couple with a heterosexual marriage, how are they harmed by extending marriage to a gay couple?
>> rick, there's a number of former governors part of this. jon huntsman , christine whitman -- there you see the pictures. seven of them. is this a shift in republican thinking?
>> it's a shift in thinking. they took the position that states ought to decide, not just last year.
>> arguably it's a tougher shift on the republican side and you're seeing a pretty big shift.
>> it is. i think the whole country is shifting. if you look at the states that have had votes on same-sex marriage, according to the wolg polling right now, there's a significant shift towards accepting this. the fact that there is same-sex marriage. i remember when i was in the house we had a vote to bar washington, d.c., from allowing civil unions , which at that time was the issue.
>> and i was one of only four republicans who oppose the ban and i think if that came up from the house, you would see a significant shift among republicans and overall in the vote. and i think again that reflects the public opinion.
>> we've had this shift, governor, and supporters of same-sex marriage were asking the court to ban all marriage of same-sex.
>> i think if the california law gets struck down, i think that's the end of all of the bans. i think it's just a practical matter. look, the change has been -- i think the change has been remarkable. i remember when i was mayor of philadelphia in the middle of the decade of the '90s, i issued an order extending domestic partnership benefits to our gay employees in a committed relationship and had been in one for longer than a year and i got 44,000 presigned postcards from catholic parishioners that the catholic church distributed on a sunday, 44,000 asking me to repeal the executive order and that was probably -- that was probably less than 15 years ago. if you think of where we are today, it's remarkable.
>> the obama administration argued that states violate the constitution if they offer gay unions but don't allow them to marry. seven other states offer civil unions but not same-sex marriage. so you're a lawyer. that makes you an expert on the supreme court . where do you think they are going to come down?
>> it's hard to say. they could rest the case, as governor rendell said, on the equal protection clause which would have sweeping implications for the states that have bans on same-sex marriage and they are arguing in their brief, the obama brief, the administration's brief that heightened scrutiny applies to this because you have sort of a discriminatory impact on a class. but the supreme court could also rule much more narrowly. they could look at it in california and there's two cases, by the way. the defense of marriage act which there is an even narrower issue which is whether or not the federal government , once someone gets married in a state that allows same-sex marriage can disallow federal benefits and about a thousand rules are implicated by that. they could say that california allowed for a while same-sex marriage and there were some 18,000 people that got married during that time before the ban was in place and that was the grounds for which they are going to strike down the california ban. if that's the case, it's a much more narrow interpretation.
>> always good to see you. thank you.
>> thanks, chris.