Bill Maher | Gay Marriage | Marijuana | News

Bill Maher: 'Marijuana is the New Gay Marriage' - VIDEO


Bill Maher called marijuana legalization a civil rights issue and compared it to gay marriage in his show on Friday night, in a segment that called out Obama for hypocrisy on pot policies.

Said Maher:

And finally, New Rule: pot is the new gay marriage. And by that, I mean it's the next obvious civil rights issue that needs to fall.

Now, if I asked you, what has been the biggest change in American society over the past 20 years, what would you say? Instagram? Coconut water? Crocs? All important, but no. It's that a generation ago, the closest thing to gay marriage was Liza Minnelli and David Gest.

In 1988, only 10% of Americans approved of gay marriage. Today, that figure's almost 60%. So what happened? What made gay marriage so normal, so quickly? Now, sure, part of it was Dancing With the Stars. But mostly, it was because gays simply demanded it. They didn't care that gay marriage wasn't popular, they put it on the agenda, and they made it popular. The same way they made every woman in America want to wear giant bug-eyed sunglasses...

...Gay barriers fell when Americans realized gays were their neighbors, their friends, their family members, their co-workers. Certainly, that must also be true of potheads. We all know at least one.

In fact, I bet there is one pothead that you all know. Oh, not any more, but here he is back in high school with his stoner posse, the Choom Gang posing with a cake that I’m guessing didn’t last long. And it makes me curious why he “evolved” so much on gay marriage, but has actually escalated the war on pot. At the Correspondents’ dinner he joked, “I remember when Buzzfeed was something that I did in college around 2 AM,” which killed in the room, but perhaps not so funny to all the young lives ruined for doing the same thing he did back in Honolulu.


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  1. clueless

    Posted by: t | Jun 3, 2013 10:13:02 AM

  2. It's provocative in the context of humor, but still rubs me the wrong way.

    He does have a point though, lives have been adversely affected by denying rights to Americans needlessly... and as he states, many young people have had their lives & careers ruined by marijuana laws that are outdated & should have long ago changed.

    Posted by: Pete N SFO | Jun 3, 2013 10:29:01 AM

  3. Red states will fight this tooth and nail because it will cut into their meth trade. They hate gay marriage because they are jealous. Why should gays be happy? After all they were forced to marry their obese cousins rather than their hot sibling.

    Posted by: terry | Jun 3, 2013 10:37:34 AM

  4. in reality what *is* comparable is that cannabis remains illegal due to misinformation, willfully espoused by the DEA and Big Pharma, societal ignorance and a distinct evasion of facts and logic.

    there's more to cannabis than "getting stoned", and most "arguments" against legalizing cannabis are actually stronger arguments to make alcohol and cigarettes illegal.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jun 3, 2013 10:41:56 AM

  5. Regardless of my opinion on the legalization of marijuana, it is not a civil rights issue. Being a pothead is not an immutable characteristic. One chooses to use marijuana. It is indisputably a behavior.

    Posted by: jpeckjr | Jun 3, 2013 11:28:30 AM

  6. Funny that abortion, "it's my body, my choice" type of thing but not for Marijuana!

    Posted by: MassCentral | Jun 3, 2013 11:34:48 AM

  7. Pot is illegal because of $, plain and simple.

    Gay marriage isn't legal in all 50 because of hate, plain and simple.

    Posted by: kpo5 | Jun 3, 2013 11:44:40 AM

  8. If you want to legalize pot, using it as a civil rights issue comparable to gay rights is not the way to do it.
    No one chooses to be gay or straight. But you choose to use pot. Or not.
    Sorry, Bill. This is not the way to go.

    Posted by: Robert | Jun 3, 2013 11:53:16 AM

  9. Dial it back Maher. LGBT equality is far from won.

    Posted by: JONES | Jun 3, 2013 12:06:54 PM

  10. This is not going where the right-wing thought it was: incest and polygamy.

    Posted by: anon | Jun 3, 2013 12:10:18 PM

  11. Why can a country like Holland, legalize, sell, smoke (a bit more harsh now allowing only residents, Dutch Citz and German Citz in cafes) and life is very good there.
    I fear alcohol and cigarettes more than marijuana.

    Posted by: blonder | Jun 3, 2013 12:10:28 PM

  12. There is no good reason for alcohol to be legal while marijuana is illegal. I rarely drink and don't use marijuana at all, but of the two, marijuana has far fewer cultural and health dangers. it's time to separate weed from the truly dangerous drugs like meth and heroin. I support decriminalization or legalization. Whatever is on the ballot I will support it. I don't believe at this point there is anyone who would use it if it were legal that isn't already partaking. (Drug testing for work is another matter. But illegal? Based on the smells in the hall at various apartment buildings where I've lived, it seems to be pretty common.)

    Posted by: Houndentenor | Jun 3, 2013 12:11:37 PM

  13. @Little Kiwi. You are spot on!(as usual)
    Love me some Bill Maher! Amazingly Brillant.

    Posted by: SFshawn | Jun 3, 2013 12:14:53 PM

  14. in BOTH cases, however, they remain illegal because public perception is uneducated about realities, and the rhetoric that is spouted (that keeps both illegal) is simply not challenged by enough people.

    feeble-minded folks who insist that all cannabis users are "potheads" are just as stupid as anti-gay folks who insist that all LGBT people are "sinful sodomites who want to destroy the family"

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jun 3, 2013 12:15:46 PM

  15. he's right, as per usual

    Posted by: gomez | Jun 3, 2013 12:19:34 PM

  16. he's right, as per usual

    Posted by: gomez | Jun 3, 2013 12:19:35 PM

  17. Maybe one can say Bill went too far comparing pot legalization to marriage equality, but his general premise is right and I also agree that if marijuana is illegal, so should cigarettes and alcohol.

    Posted by: Francis #1 | Jun 3, 2013 12:32:38 PM

  18. You people crying out about how marijuana use is a "choice" are using the same idiotic argument that the anti-gay crowd loves to use.

    Whether or not something is a choice has absolutely no bearing on whether it is a right. Things like marital status and religion are most certainly choices, but they are still protected by the law.

    Personally, though I don't consume weed, I see no reason why it shouldn't be legalized. It is perhaps the least harmful mind altering substance known to man, so the fact that people are currently sitting in jail for possessing it is ridiculous.

    Posted by: OddBet | Jun 3, 2013 1:25:07 PM

  19. The reason gay rights have been taking so long is because the straight liberal community has always found something else to preoccupy them.
    Gay rights? Yeah sure, but what about the evil bankers, and marijuana laws, and arab spring, and neo-nazis? Oh look, a bird. Excuses, excuses, excuses.

    Posted by: Kev C | Jun 3, 2013 1:57:28 PM

  20. Ugh, Bill Maher. Can we retire his talking head already?

    Posted by: Lucas H | Jun 3, 2013 2:23:37 PM

  21. Maher's right, if you listen to the whole thing and not just the selected quotes above. The main point of his argument is the civil rights issue of how many minorities are being jailed and having their voting rights stripped from them for pot possession (and how the laws are being selectively enforced toward just that purpose). The reason it's like the GLBT rights movement, he's arguing, is that it is ultimately a civil rights cause-- not just over whether or not anyone gets to smoke dope, but because a lot of minorities-- particularly young black men-- are seriously losing their rights over it-- even their right to vote at all.

    Posted by: bobbyjoe | Jun 3, 2013 3:41:45 PM

  22. Maher and Bourdain must get together, bump uglies and make up new ways to bore me to suicide. Their infatuation with mota reeks of the high school dork. I missed Maher's peak of relevance, a long time ago. If Bourdain continues on his Tour de Bloat he needs to reexamine Fierri's climb to greatness.

    Posted by: parkrunner | Jun 3, 2013 7:25:50 PM

  23. "This is not going where the right-wing thought it was: incest and polygamy."

    Who said it isn't? I've read that serious academic and scholarly journals have already published pro-polygamy articles. Give it time. At any rate, the country is capable of handing more than one social issue at a time.

    I am uncertain whether Maher was serious with his comments. But linking marijuana legalization to gay marriage in any sense is a foolish thing for him to do. The two issues have no connection. Gay people don't need to be burdened by an unnecessary association with a social cause that has nothing to do with gay rights.

    And not everything has to be called "a civil rights" issue - that just cheapens the meaning of civil rights. I'm guessing that Maher is hoping to create an air of inevitability for the marijuan legalization cause by doing this. Or maybe he has the typical liberal fantasy that he can achieve anything he wants by having a court somewhere declare it his "right" and overrule the general public's will. Either way his script sounds like it was written by Maggie Gallagher in order to scare Middle America.

    Posted by: Mary | Jun 3, 2013 9:33:47 PM

  24. Currently marijuana is legal in 18 states, whereas gay marriage is only legal in 12 states. I think Bill has it backwards.

    Posted by: fasterapricot | Jun 4, 2013 1:04:03 AM

  25. Gay marriage doesn't make you stupid, lazy and forgetful like pot does. Oh wait a minute, what did I just say?

    Posted by: Virgil | Jun 13, 2013 7:55:20 PM

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