Barney Frank | Chris Matthews | Democratic National Convention | Democratic Party | Gay Marriage | News

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


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.


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  1. Oopsie, Gary/Josh, better keep your names straight or people *might* suspect you're a troll. But, kudos, you've just confirmed that the Mitt trolls are as incompetent as Mitt himself. Ha! And thanks for the laugh, now go mop up your multiple personalities.

    Posted by: Ernie | Jul 31, 2012 11:37:08 PM

  2. So to those of you saying democrats shouldnt proclaim marriage equality as a platform because "a majority is against gay marriage"

    Well then, with that logic... Why should President Obama say he's for gay marriage? Or ANY politician? Or why should any elected official even TOUCH gay marriage??? I mean "a majority is against it" so why even bother. Let's not have anyone in office even touch gay marriage until the country comes around. Would that please the minority of you who'd rather marriage equality not be brought up?

    Posted by: MusicFlava | Jul 31, 2012 11:39:49 PM

  3. @ MusicFlava
    Amen! If it's too risky for the democratic platform, then the argument could be made that it's too riskey for any potential politician to be for gay marriage, so don't act frustrated when they are against it. After all, some of you are arguing it's not time yet to pass it because it's not time for some people.

    Posted by: Ryan | Jul 31, 2012 11:41:53 PM

  4. And a majority of the country may be against the right of some minorities to VOTE. I didn't know our politics and politicians should ALL be based on majority and only what the majority demands, and not taking a firm stance on some issues here & there

    Posted by: CrownLa La | Jul 31, 2012 11:43:57 PM

  5. "Josh" "Gary" (and all your other screenames)

    You just got busted. You've been peaking your UGLY hetero head on every story trying to belittle the pro gay angle while antagonizing our side. May that Chik Fil A cost a heart attack for every single member in your family, including your children boo boo

    Posted by: CrownLa La | Jul 31, 2012 11:50:52 PM

  6. Josh/Gary keep track of your handles you NOM_Chik Fil A troll.

    Posted by: JP | Jul 31, 2012 11:51:59 PM

  7. Of course marriage equality should be on the platform. It is 2013. The lives of gay people in this country have been stripped of us in this nation that drains LGBT of our taxes yet takes THOUSANDS of rights away from us. It is infuriating that a group of people can lawfully be so discriminated, but the democratic party is in the right direction to acknowledge of who we are as a people and THAT IS important!

    Posted by: JP | Jul 31, 2012 11:56:10 PM

  8. A leader should lead on values and principles that are RIGHT. Gay marriage is the RIGHT thing to do. Whether most in the south or midwest recognize why, is not the responsibility of our electe officials. It is their responsibility to promote a society where our freedoms are EQUAL.

    Posted by: Art Smith | Jul 31, 2012 11:58:23 PM

  9. There will always be a considerable portion of the population against us, but they shouldnt be the ones that carve our destiny in stone. We don't put the rights of minority groups in the hands of bigots. We aspire to protect all and not overlook a portion of our population when the arguments against their livelihood are baseless.

    Posted by: Lielan | Aug 1, 2012 12:01:04 AM

  10. Good for the democratic party. It wasn't convenient nor easy for millions of LGBT to support the democratic party. To petition, to dig in our pockets, but we stuck our neck out and have been instrumental in helping many a democratic campaigns. It's appropriate and even necessary that at this point, they'd return the favor

    Posted by: Steve-ATL | Aug 1, 2012 12:03:39 AM

  11. See for farrr too long, we were ghosts for both parties. Republicans new they weren't getting us, so they ignore us. Democrats KNOW they got our votes locked down, and for the longest while, they didn't do anything for us. FINALLY, there was a motivating shift in the gay community where we told democrats "no, we won't contribute to your party or pay or even vote unless you listen to our concerns"
    I appreciate that tenacity and I certainly hope we dont cowardly go back to being an ignored group. We deserve to have our issues, concerns and desires to be discussed at the dinner table too

    Posted by: Pollie | Aug 1, 2012 12:10:02 AM

  12. You know, for everytime I have to turn on the news and hear about the latino vote, the black vote or the women vote... Guess what, this party owes it's GAY voters the dignity and respect we deserve. Gay marriage is part of that equation. We don't qualify not promoting a cause for any other demographic based on what the majority thinks, but when it comes to gays, we can legally be fired in many states and thats still legal, proving the problem isnt that too much risk is being taken for us, but that not enough is.

    Posted by: AthleticSupporter | Aug 1, 2012 12:35:29 AM

  13. Gary/Josh also signs with a handle known as Andrew where ALLhe contributes to the thread is "homophobes have every right to be homophobic" completely missing the point of our argument and trying to silence us. The trolls are just sooo transparent that's not even fun anymore.

    Posted by: AthleticSupporter | Aug 1, 2012 12:37:52 AM

  14. 3:10 "no federal law".

    The US Constitution is federal law.
    US Supreme Court decisions are federal law.

    What he means is no federal legislation.

    Posted by: Randy | Aug 1, 2012 1:24:29 AM

  15. Gary/Josh...we got your message the first time. Saying the same thing over and over doesn't give it more weight.

    I agree with Barney Frank. Marriage has been typically regulated by the states, not by the federal government. But the federal government tried to change all that when they passed DOMA and are doing what they do not do for any other legally recognized marriage - refusing to recognize the marriages that are legal in certain states and denying federal benefits to those marriages that are legal. That is why the courts are declaring DOMA invalid. The federal government is discriminating against certain marriages just because the partners are the same gender.

    It is up to the Supreme Court to legalize same sex marriage if the states keep dragging their feet, just as the Supreme Court legalized interracial marriages in all states. The court declared that marriage is a basic human right.

    As far as the plank in the Democratic platform is concerned - when is the last time anyone really knew what the planks in either party's platform were, unless they had been working to get them enacted or were political geeks? I doubt very much that anyone who was seriously considering voting for Obama or other Democratic candidates will be turned off by a marriage equality plank if they oppose marriage equality. But those who are looking for the party to stand for something might be more inclined to come out and vote.

    After all, Obama came out for marriage equality weeks ago, and support for marriage equality in the country has risen. Also, he still leads in the polls in a number of swing states. Furthermore, lots of LGBT people, and others supporting marriage equality, voted for McCain and Bush though they ran against marriage equality.

    The two factors that might throw the election are the unlimited ads that Citizens United allows billionaires to run lying about candidates and issues, and the attempts at voter suppression in states controlled by the Republican party.

    Posted by: john patrick | Aug 1, 2012 1:57:12 AM

  16. Does anyone give a rat's ass what is in either party's platform? The only people who care about such things are party junkies who have already made up their minds as to how they're voting. They're not binding, they're not even really important.

    No one refers to party platforms on the campaign trail. It's a nice symbolic gesture, but it's fairly meaningless in the larger scheme of things.

    Posted by: SoLeftImRight | Aug 1, 2012 3:50:39 AM

  17. Good post! Thanks a lot for it.

    Posted by: | Aug 1, 2012 6:12:33 AM

  18. Frank is correct.

    That said, who the F would want to watch these two pompous pr*cks? I feel like b*tch slapping both of them.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Aug 1, 2012 9:53:07 AM

  19. Frank was the chief of staff for one of Boston's most corrupt mayoral administrations. Just one of the scandals involved the vice-mayor [like Frank at the time,a closeted gay man] gave a young bartender/hustler a well paying no-show patronage city job which went on for years. I mention this because this is a gay blog, but this was a minor scandal compared to the other forms of corruption that went on.

    Frank's congressional district should be used for 'Gerrymandering for Dummies'.

    People, ALL people, gay, str8, whatever, need to stop hero worshipping and putting other humans on pedestals. The emperor has no clothes.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Aug 1, 2012 10:01:19 AM

  20. Frank was trying to get Matthews to avoid making more of the issue than is necessary. Chris SHOUTS, and Barney was trying to get him to speak.

    Posted by: Gene Touchet | Aug 1, 2012 10:50:58 AM

  21. @Gene Touchet,

    In Matthew's defense, he needs to be lively and animated as the host. Much of the subject matter is in fact dry and boring. Watch a lot of PBS? There's a reason why those Saturday Night Live skits with Alec Baldwin were so funny.

    Frank no doubt understands how Congress works inside and out, he should leave running a 'news' talk show to Matthews, but of course Frank is a pompous over-bearing know-it-all and can't help himself.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Aug 1, 2012 12:04:44 PM

  22. What I see is Frank pleading with the press to not make this an issue. CM is goading him by hanging this over his head like a sword.

    Posted by: anon | Aug 1, 2012 1:06:26 PM

  23. @ josh: everything else you said aside, are you really going to use the man's stuttering as some kind of argument against him? take 5 minutes to learn a) what stuttering(/related fluency disorders) is, and b) the politicians, entertainers, and other great minds who stutter. dysfluency has absolutely zero correlation with someone's intellect, competence, political affiliation, or anything else you may have been trying to suggest. try starting here:

    Posted by: jenn | Aug 1, 2012 2:23:35 PM

  24. It is very upsetting to see comments by people upset with Barney. Clearly they do NOT understand what he was saying. I'm not a lawyer, but I do have a fundamental understanding of the Constitution and the history of Civil Rights legislation. Here goes: In the 1960's the Federal Government - namely the legislative branch - that's Congress - voted for legislation banning discrimination in places of public accommodation based on the power of Congress to regulate interstate activity. At the time many states in the South had laws outlawing interacial marriage about which the Federal legislature (Congress again) had no jurisdiction, as this was something the States regulate. In the 1967 Supreme Court case Loving v Virginia, the Federal Supreme Court ruled that Virginia's anti-miscegenation statute violated both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Despite that it took until 2000 until all the States had removed those statutes from their books. The Federal Congress does not have the power to regulate marriage (the basis of the lawsuits against DOMA) but the Court has the power to tell the States when their laws violate sections of the Constitution - Loving v Virginia being the precedent. It's a little tricky to understand the law and the Constitution, but not so tricky that you should blunder into an attack on Barney Frank. He's not saying other States shouldn't join Massachusetts, he's explaining what the gay rights movement and every legal expert understand - namely the legal mechanisms from which marriage equality will legally become a reality in all 50 States - by an eventual Supreme Court decision. Shame on Chris Matthews for not shutting up long enough for Barney to explain it.

    Posted by: Dan | Aug 1, 2012 10:01:31 PM

  25. @He Jockstrap: No Gary/Josh posts things in my name. You are right when you say that as an American I believe that homophobes have the right to be homophobic. And nobody is trying to silence you. You seem to be a bit paranoid. I happen to believe that the most important thing progressives of ever stripe have to do is re-elect Pres Obama in november. Anything that interferes with that goal should be avoided.

    Posted by: andrew | Aug 2, 2012 8:12:27 AM

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