Blitzer, Wash. Times' Wall ignored Warren's comparison of same-sex marriage to pedophilia, incest, polygamy

››› ››› MORGAN WEILAND

The Washington Times' Tara Wall said regarding the selection of Rev. Rick Warren to deliver the inaugural invocation: "The fact is most Americans, most Californians, oppose gay rights. This is reflective of the nation." Wolf Blitzer interjected: "Not gay rights, but same-sex marriage." Wall responded: "Excuse me, same-sex marriage. This is reflective of the nation as a whole." But simply characterizing Warren's position on same-sex marriage as mirroring that of most Americans, Wall and Blitzer ignored Warren's degrading comments about same-sex marriage and his mischaracterization of Proposition 8.

During the December 18 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, Washington Times deputy editorial page editor Tara Wall criticized opposition from "liberals" to President-elect Barack Obama's selection of Rev. Rick Warren to deliver his inaugural invocation, saying, "The fact is most Americans, most Californians, oppose gay rights. This is reflective of the nation." Host Wolf Blitzer interjected: "Not gay rights, but same-sex marriage." Wall responded: "Excuse me, same-sex marriage. This is reflective of the nation as a whole." But simply characterizing Warren's position on same-sex marriage as mirroring that of most Americans, Wall and Blitzer ignored Warren's degrading comments about same-sex marriage and his mischaracterization of Proposition 8.

In a Beliefnet.com interview, Warren compared same-sex marriage to "having a brother and sister being together and calling that marriage ... an older guy marrying a child and calling that marriage [or] ... one guy having multiple wives and calling that marriage." Warren has also reportedly falsely claimed that the passage of California ballot initiative Proposition 8 was necessary to ensure that members of the clergy were not restricted in what they could say in the pulpit.

From the Beliefnet.com interview:

What about partnership benefits in terms of insurance or hospital visitation?

You know, not a problem with me.

[Clarification from Pastor Warren 12/15: I favor anyone being able to make anyone else the beneficiary of their health or life insurance coverage. If I am willing to pay for it, I should be able to put a friend, partner, relative, or stranger on my coverage. No one should be turned away from seeing a friend in the hospital. But visiting rights are a non-issue in California! Since 1999, California has had a domestic partnership law that grants gay couples visiting rights and all the other rights. Prop 8 had no -- zero -- effect on those rights.]

The issue to me, I'm not opposed to that as much as I'm opposed to redefinition of a 5,000 year definition of marriage. I'm opposed to having a brother and sister being together and calling that marriage. I'm opposed to an older guy marrying a child and calling that marriage. I'm opposed to one guy having multiple wives and calling that marriage.

From the December 18 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:

BLITZER: President-elect Obama confronting the inaugural firestorm ignited by his decision to invite well-known evangelical pastor Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration.

Let's talk about that and more with our CNN senior congressional correspondent, Dana Bash; our CNN political contributor Dana Milbank of The Washington Post; and Tara Wall, the deputy editorial page editor of The Washington Times. They're all part of the best political team on television.

Do you think they really expected sort of an uproar, the way it's developed over the past 24, 48 hours?

BASH: I think it would be hard not to expect it, particularly from the gay-rights community. There's no question about it.

But here's a reality that was -- I was just reminded of in talking to a Democratic source on Capitol Hill right before coming on this show -- that Barack Obama is president, in part, because he won conservative Democrats who subscribe to some of the things that Rick Warren subscribes to -- conservative Democrats in Virginia and in North Carolina.

And it is because he had connections with the people like Rick Warren during the campaign that he was able to reach out to those conservative Democrats. And even those on Capitol Hill say we have to continue to keep our tent wide and try to pull in those people.

BLITZER: And let's not forget that Rick Warren took some grief from his own members when he invited Barack Obama out to his Saddleback Church in California.

MILBANK: He certainly did. And, yes, he's got that position on gay rights. But he's also on Obama's side on global warming, on AIDS, on poverty. I think it's extraordinary that gay-rights groups are picking a fight with Obama on this, which amounts to nothing, and then drawing this antagonism for when they're gonna actually have, you know, legislative battles ahead.

He's sort of taking the place, if you will, of Billy Graham. Well, guess what? Billy Graham is opposed to gay marriage as well. I mean it's -- it's just an extraordinary thing to pick a fight over.

BLITZER: I guess they're upset because he did get involved in trying to support Proposition 8 in California, which banned same-sex marriage.

WALL: Well, he certainly wasn't gonna pick Reverend Wright to do his -- his prayer. We know that. So, I mean, you know, they're -- they're picking apart -- mincing -- it's something, like you said, I mean there's gonna be bigger fights to pick here. The fact is most Americans, most Californians, oppose gay rights. This is reflective of the nation --

BLITZER: Not gay rights, but same-sex marriage.

WALL: Excuse me, same-sex marriage. This is reflective of the nation as a whole. And, quite frankly, it's laughable that liberals would -- are you know, derided -- they derided Bush for reaching across the aisle. It's the same thing Obama is saying -- look, we can all find issues in which we're gonna agree on, disagree on. He's not -- Rick Warren is not gonna be making any policy or on, you know, going to be on his Cabinet.

The man is saying a prayer. The Bible says, you know, pray for our leaders. It didn't say which leaders. It didn't say just pray for Republicans or Democrats, but pray for our leaders. And that's what he's doing.

BASH: And I think it's also important to point out that there already are some sore feelings there with the gay community and the Obama campaign because of Proposition 8 in California. Because there was an onslaught of money against -- or, excuse me -- for the proposition, and the Obama campaign intentionally, basically, stayed out of that, because they had so many other things to worry about. And for the reason we were just talking about, because they didn't want to antagonize some conservative Democrats who agreed with it.

Posted In
Diversity & Discrimination, LGBT
Network/Outlet
CNN, The Washington Times
Person
Wolf Blitzer, Tara Wall
Show/Publication
The Situation Room
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