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Barney Frank and Chris Matthews Argue Over the Democratic Party's Proposed Marriage Equality Plank: VIDEO

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Chris Matthews and Barney Frank had a sharp exchange tonight on Hardball over what the Democratic Party's reported marriage equality plank would mean in terms of federal laws, with rank yelling "you're wrong!" at Matthews after he suggested that the Civil Rights Act contained precedent for federal law.

Matthews also argued that the marriage equality plank would hurt Obama in swing states in the upcoming election and warned that news of the addition would dominate headlines during the first days of the Democratic Convention. Frank believes everyone has already made their position known and it's a non-issue.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Is Frank REALLY arguing what I think he is?

    Posted by: Art Smith | Jul 31, 2012 9:24:06 PM


  2. Is Frank REALLY arguing what I think he is?

    Posted by: Art Smith | Jul 31, 2012 9:24:16 PM


  3. Why do so many gays who have the privilige of getting married give a big middle finger to other gays who don't have that freedom? It's the most self serving thing I've ever seen, and it seems to be increasingly happening with our leaders. This is a crying shame!

    Posted by: lazerlightbeams | Jul 31, 2012 9:26:05 PM


  4. Barney Frank: I got mine, F---K the rest of you mos! Who gives a blank about your advancements. I gotta democratic paycheck to earn.

    Posted by: Michelle | Jul 31, 2012 9:26:59 PM


  5. Barny Frank, Elton John, The Cheney daughter= disturbing commonality amongst our people. As soon as they lead a comfortable life, they overlook every other LGBT struggling -getting fired, not being able to get married- below them.

    The problem is just that. We don't HAVE any loyal leaders.

    Posted by: 2EastCoastDudes | Jul 31, 2012 9:28:36 PM


  6. Maybe I have a different perspective because I live in a "red state," but yeah, I think the Marriage Equality plank is going to hurt us- bad. There ARE Dems who aren't there yet and we could lose them in this election, when we need EVERY vote we can get.

    Between having the DNC adopt Marriage Equality, a largely symbolic move anyway, and Barack Obama being reelected instead of Romney winning, I'll take Obama's reelection. Maybe I'm wrong. I hope I am. But it seems like an overreach at this time.

    Posted by: Caliban | Jul 31, 2012 9:41:15 PM


  7. He's not arguing against others to have marriage. He's arguing that the government doesn't get involved in defining marriage, but that equal protection is guaranteed by the constitution. That's why it was a court decision.

    Posted by: PTBoat | Jul 31, 2012 9:45:47 PM


  8. i cannot stand people talking over each other. for christs sake, make the show 1-2 minutes longer and let people conclude their sentences, long winded or not.

    Posted by: mld | Jul 31, 2012 9:50:19 PM


  9. A new concept for Democratic party. Have the balls to stand for something.

    Posted by: Charley | Jul 31, 2012 9:51:22 PM


  10. There's a new video released by the Obama campaign tonight with our current President sitting at a laptop showing the idiots how to donate money to him. It's pretty damn funny. "Click here and click here and look what happens. See this is "Address" that's where you enter your address......"

    LOL. A man in control! A confident man!

    Posted by: MarkUs | Jul 31, 2012 9:52:57 PM


  11. I'm with Charley. Republicans have pushed things for years the public opposes, but they got respect as leaders with convictions. If you want people to follow, you need to lead. And Caliban, I live in a red state too, and I can say the president will never get them. If marriage is that important to them, they are a lost cause. Better to fire up the base and get them out than to worry about offending people who won't vote for you anyway.

    Posted by: ChristopherM | Jul 31, 2012 10:03:27 PM


  12. Frank's frustration was that he thinks Chris Matthews and many in the press are making more of this possible Democratic platform change than what it is. His argument seems to be is that a majority of Democrats ALREADY support SSM and the abolishment of DOMA. The problem is that his understanding of how the process of getting federal marriage equality works is far more subtle (and wonkish) than many people's understanding. His argument is that it will take the Supreme Court ALONE, and not some law passed by Congress, to have national marriage equality, as with interracial marriage. He's not saying that marriage equality should happen on a state by state basis, but that by the Supreme Court striking down DOMA, it will effectively abolish any state law forbidding same sex marriage, thus allowing same sex marriage in all states.

    Posted by: Isaac | Jul 31, 2012 10:03:48 PM


  13. What's really going on here is that Chris Matthews, who seemed like a total ass, was trying to make an issue of something by basically ignoring what Frank was saying.

    Frank claimed that the Democrats had voted overwhelmingly to repeal DOMA and repealing DOMA is the main thing the federal government needs to do. He also pointed out the criteria for marriage has traditionally been left to the states - for example, the minimum age for marriage with or without parental consent, and how closely people can be related and still get married (there are differences between states, mostly in the "off by one" category). He also noted that the courts play a critical role (the previous bans on interracial marriages are an example). If you take the Loving versus Virginia Supreme Court ruling and more or less mechanically substitute gender for race, what you get is equally sensible.

    Now, you may not agree with what Frank said, but the disagreements seem more over tactics than goals. He seems to feel (publicly) that a specific "plank" in the platform regarding same-sex marriage is not necessary given how overwhelmingly Democrats have voted. He may also believe (privately) that downplaying that for a few months is a smart move given the importance of court decisions and that the president gets to nominate Supreme Court justices - what will really set things back is a Romney presidency as Supreme Court appointees have the position for as long as they want.

    Posted by: Bill | Jul 31, 2012 10:08:24 PM


  14. Legally, Frank is right - various civil laws did not directly discuss granting of marriage, it was the Court's doing. And the other two admitted Frank was right. I don't understand why people here are angry at Frank.

    Posted by: olterigo | Jul 31, 2012 10:21:59 PM


  15. I believe that it is a mistake to put the marriae equality plank in the democratic party's platform. It will hurt Obama in the swing states.

    Posted by: andrew | Jul 31, 2012 10:32:38 PM


  16. Andrew, if marriage matters so much to someone that it will change their vote, there's no way that person is voting for Obama anyway.

    Posted by: ChristopherM | Jul 31, 2012 10:54:38 PM


  17. Know what's going to matter in the election? The economy. It's all that ever matters. As others have noted, most Democrats have made their position on marriage abundantly clear. They wouldn't have made this decision without plenty of polling data showing that it would be at worst a neutral decision.

    My parents are solid Republicans who have voted in every election for the past 50 years and have always voted GOP (don't blame me!), and they're sitting this one out because they won't vote for a Mormon who's an idiot. Much of the Republican base (especially evangelicals), aside from well-heeled donors seeking more tax breaks from a puppet president, feels the same.

    Posted by: Paul R | Jul 31, 2012 11:05:07 PM


  18. Barney Frank is completely correct in his legal analysis. There is no precedent for a federal definition of marriage. It just won't happen. But to say that it is a non-issue is too much. It could hurt the Dems as part of the platform. It also could divide the Dems. Isaac is right. To understand this issue requires a certain legal sophistication, which many people do not have.

    Posted by: datlaw | Jul 31, 2012 11:19:31 PM


  19. @Christopherm: I disagree. There are people in the middle and emotional single issues cause them to tip one way or another. We will know on Nov 7th.

    Posted by: andrew | Jul 31, 2012 11:24:47 PM


  20. You couldn't ask for a worse "poster boy" for gay rights than Barney Frank. He's already hated for his involvement in the Banking fiasco. He stutters and stammers and "has to be right." Well, weather the Democrats have "balls" or not Chris Matthews is correct. Most are not accepting in many parts of the country and it will hurt the vote for the Democrats. Barney Frankly, I'd love to see gay marriage implode. Be good tomorrow. And good luck with your ridiculous chicken attack.

    Posted by: Gary | Jul 31, 2012 11:28:36 PM


  21. You couldn't ask for a worse "poster boy" for gay rights than Barney Frank. He's already hated for his involvement in the Banking fiasco. He stutters and stammers and "has to be right." Well, weather the Democrats have "balls" or not Chris Matthews is correct. Most are not accepting in many parts of the country and it will hurt the vote for the Democrats. Barney Frankly, I'd love to see gay marriage implode. Be good tomorrow. And good luck with your ridiculous chicken attack.

    Posted by: Gary | Jul 31, 2012 11:28:38 PM


  22. You couldn't ask for a worse "poster boy" for gay rights than Barney Frank. He's already hated for his involvement in the Banking fiasco. He stutters and stammers and "has to be right." Well, weather the Democrats have "balls" or not Chris Matthews is correct. Most are not accepting in many parts of the country and it will hurt the vote for the Democrats. Barney Frankly, I'd love to see gay marriage implode. Be good tomorrow. And good luck with your ridiculous chicken attack.

    Posted by: Gary | Jul 31, 2012 11:28:53 PM


  23. You couldn't ask for a worse "poster boy" for gay rights than Barney Frank. He's already hated for his involvement in the Banking fiasco. He stutters and stammers and "has to be right." Well, weather the Democrats have "balls" or not Chris Matthews is correct. Most are not accepting in many parts of the country and it will hurt the vote for the Democrats. Barney Frankly, I'd love to see gay marriage implode. Be good tomorrow. And good luck with your ridiculous chicken attack.

    Posted by: Josh | Jul 31, 2012 11:28:59 PM


  24. You couldn't ask for a worse "poster boy" for gay rights than Barney Frank. He's already hated for his involvement in the Banking fiasco. He stutters and stammers and "has to be right." Well, weather the Democrats have "balls" or not Chris Matthews is correct. Most are not accepting in many parts of the country and it will hurt the vote for the Democrats. Barney Frankly, I'd love to see gay marriage implode. Be good tomorrow. And good luck with your ridiculous chicken attack.

    Posted by: Josh | Jul 31, 2012 11:29:13 PM


  25. Most voters don't pay attention to what is in the party platform, and most voters who would consider voting for Obama aren't going to not vote for him because of what is in the platform. (His announcement of personal support for equality received a lot of press but little outcry from anyone who wasn't already in the Repub camp.) And any who did would be offset by people grateful that the Dem's have balls and are actually standing up for what they believe in. And that is the significant thing: in 2012 the mainstream Democratic position is marriage equality. That doesn't mean every single Democrat will be on board, but most are or will be soon, while their Republican colleagues slip further out of the mainstream.

    For marriage to happen federally, DOMA needs to fall, and that will happen in the courts. That and few more plausible states (we'll reach a dead end there soon) and we can hope that the tipping point happens sooner rather than later.

    Posted by: Ernie | Jul 31, 2012 11:30:24 PM


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