May 22nd, 2008
10:00 AM ET
10 years ago

Ellen asks McCain to walk her down the aisle


Watch part of John McCain's interview with Ellen.

(CNN)— Openly gay talk show host Ellen DeGeneres pressed John McCain Thursday on his opposition to gay marriage.

The presumptive Republican nominee said he believes same-sex couples have the right to legal agreements for insurance and other purposes, but opposes gay marriage. “I just believe in the unique status of marriage between man and a woman,” McCain told DeGeneres.

McCain, who also opposes a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, said he supports and encourages legal benefits for same-sex partners particularly for insurance purposes. The Arizona senator has said individual states should decide the issue.

The talk show host pushed further, drawing parallels between the right to gay marriage and the suffrage movements for women and African-Americans.

“We are all the same people,” DeGeneres told McCain. “You’re no different than I am. Our love is the same.”

The Arizona senator said that she had given an “eloquent” defense of her position, but "we just have a disagreement. And I, along with many, many others, wish you every happiness."

Degeneres joked: "So, you'll walk me down the aisle? Is that what you're saying?"

McCain’s one word response: "Touché."

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (103 Responses)
  1. Chris, Willowbrook, IL

    Good for Ellen. I think she was very brave to put it to McCain in that way. She put a human face on it for McCain. I also have to say, that McCain holds a moderate stance on this issue which is refreshing for a Republican. While I mostly disagree with McCain on many things, it's nice to see the willingness to compromise.

    May 22, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  2. Thomas

    ".at least you can hid being cannot hide the fact that you are black"

    Has to be the most disgusting comment I've seen on cnn today. Are you suggesting that gays should hide who they're, and that it's a comfortable position doing so?

    May 22, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  3. Il voter

    why should I care someone marry in same sex or for that matter marry Dog or Cat. give people freedom of choice.

    May 22, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  4. Peter

    McCain is right on this one 100%. Ellen makes some fundamentally flawed arguments about "all the same" and "same love" that are basically not true in a pluralistic society. Religious folks are called to love God 1st, before their neighbor and therefore their views in this regard may differ substantially from hers in this regard. Civil unions are fine and are indeed a right, but for those like myself, marriage is a purely religious institution involving a unique perception of God in that process.

    May 22, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  5. Jeanne, San Diego

    Actually there are a couple of points on which McCain and I agree. There should not be a constitutional amendment and states should be allowed to decide on their own. However, I do hope that eventually all 50 states will recognize gay marriages, civil unions, or something to that affect, eventually.

    May 22, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  6. Gay Struggle not a Black Issue

    Everytime a gay person says that their struggle is the same as the black person is funny. A black person didn' have to be asked if they were black or not to be discriminitated against. A gay person was never a slave. A gay person never was paid a lower wage or had to sit in the back of the bus cause they were gay. A gay person never had beg to vote cause they were gay. A gay person didn't have to make a choice over what bathroom to use ( if they were white). A gay person never was denied food at a restaurant if they were gay. A gay person never had to boycott the education system to get an education.

    SO please stop comparing it to the black experience. I hate that comparison...but I love the fact that I am gay!!!!!!

    May 22, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  7. Joe

    Jeanne in San Diego, where do you see an "equal protection" argument? Applying that 14th Amendment principal, gay people have just as much right as non-gay people to marry a person of the opposite sex. Gays may not wish to do so, and that's their choice. "Marrying" a person of the same sex in not a right currently enjoyed by non-gays, so there's no merit to any equal protection argument. What gays want is more than the law allows anyone !

    May 22, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  8. Proud Woman/Nothing like the HRC Whiners!

    NO OBAMA,NEVER May 22nd, 2008 1:50 pm ET


    ROFLMAO!! You are clearly in a rural area with no access to books, newspapers or reality checks. I'm sure you are voting for Hillary – can't have an uppity one in the White House, huh?

    Obama O-8!! Deal with Baby!!!

    May 22, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  9. gay and black =Different !

    The battle of gay people and the black people is FONDAMENTALY DIFFERENT.

    based on one single thing:

    Gay people have the oportunity to hide and live a "normal" life

    Black people cant hide their color, they dont even have that choice !

    Now i know that this is not suposed to be an option. Nobody should have to hide what they are in order to have the right to have a normal life !

    BUT EVEN THAT black people dont have.

    all you have is a world, were at best, you have to consider yourself satisfied to be given the chance to attend college, even if you must give twice the efforts of a white person to get there !

    that is why most people are trippin about Michelle OBama's comments. At if she should consider herself happy to go to college and have a profession when " she belongs to a cotton plantation "

    God help america !

    May 22, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |

    Hey, I'm gay and will vote McCain.

    For all of us Democrats that have voted before and follow politics, we have a lot of respect for John McCain. He has gone against the Bush machine and we can all respect that. Anyway, John McCain is a moderate Republican and he believes that gays should have rights and opposes a constitutional amendment against gay marriage. Good Enough.

    Pretty much sounds like John will leave gay marriage as a "states rights" decision. That is cool with me. I am from AR, and they have already banned gay marriage, and I respect that. However, California is more liberal and they have made it legal. The older I get, it seems the more tolerant people are becoming.

    I'll break my thoughts down for you. Obama has no experience. If I volunteer for Habit for Humanity, would that make me qualified for President? I think not.

    Obama is a former "Community Organizer" in Chicago, and the last I heard is that school kids can't even ride the school bus or walk to school without being shot. If Obama is the great uniter, he should unite inner city Chicago first.

    Hillary 08 or McCain if necessary (no more on the job training for President)

    May 22, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  11. Chris, Middletown, CT

    I think CNN needs to turn on the dope filter – and all the "if not Hillary then McCain" blogs....hey dopes...they don't even have similar positions...(not that any of you seemed to Hillarys "positions" changed state to between sniper fire)

    ANYONE who says this ....complete excuses...Hillary has lost this....thats it....stop on positions...not hurt feelings...

    May 22, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  12. trellskig

    The Obama Republicans are speaking up!

    May 22, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  13. Adam, Los Angeles

    yardstylze May 22nd, 2008 1:56 pm ET

    Gays are not in the same situation on Black…they were not lynched, rape, enslaved, treated as less than human, could not be with a white man or woman that they loved…had churches burned to the ground, had dogs set on them…got bomb threats….I could go on and on. You cannot compare Gays to Blacks….at least you can hid being cannot hide the fact that you are black

    As both a gay and black man, i find stuff like this particularly offensive and extremely ignorant and naive. Gay people are still being treating that way all across the world including here in the US. The plight of the black community is no more noble, honorable, or noteworthy than the plight of gays.

    And as far as the comment, "you can hide the fact that you're gay"...try hiding the fact that your heterosexual for 80 years of your life and let me know you feel about that then.

    All we're asking for is equal rights and protection under the law, the same as the black community.


    May 22, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  14. raf

    Michael A:

    As a gay guy, I hate it when people dismiss the right to marry as something insignificant.

    African-Americans weren't denied that right, were they? Or the right to foster children and raise a family? Or, until FIVE YEARS ago, the right to even have sex?

    And let's also not forget that there's no federal protection against hiring/firing discrimination against gays, nor anything guaranteeing inheritance or hospital rights.

    Until you personally are okay not having any of those rights, please don't pretend they're insignificant.

    But to more directly respond to your post: Read more closely. No one is saying gays have it harder now than blacks did in the 60s. That's not the comparison being made. The analogy is the simple fact that one minority is being denied equal protection by the majority - period. The comparison is that after we learned those lessons with blacks, and then with women, and then with blacks again, this nation is still doing it.

    I have a hard time understanding how any minority, having lived through it, is okay with it being done to another minority - even if it's on a smaller scale.

    May 22, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  15. Brian

    Gays should be allowed to marry people, come on. Call it whatever you want, they should have the same rights if they want to, how can we not allow them to it seems so wrong to do so. Regardless of a persons belief systems we should not go around telling those who wish to be together that they can not marry.

    As for Mccain, if he wins, I'm moving to Holland. I can't take another 2000 election Republican evil slick deal again.
    If Hillary win the Nomination by some back room deal I will no longer vote again.

    Obama 08

    May 22, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  16. martin

    ellen would probably have to walk him down the aisle.he could use a walker,i guess.

    May 22, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  17. kristianjl

    Well now, you CAN compare the experience of gays to African Americans... Matthew Shepherd anyone? Gays have been beaten to death and discriminated against because of their sexual orientation the world over (and they hang them in Iran). Its easier to hide your sexuality than your skin color, I'll grant you that. Anyways, I have African Americans, gays and women in my family so I firmly support equal rights and a level playing field for all.

    -A white married middle-aged male hunter / fisherman from Minnesota for Obama

    May 22, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  18. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    Ellen says: we're the same.
    I have to disagree...marriage is a sacrement of religious faith. Partnerships, Gay Unions...etc....are terms effectively used by the states/governements if defining the legal relationships, etc....

    This is really sick...I applaud him for having the coconuts to go on there knowing she was going after him with both liberal barrels.
    Next liberal special interest group–please stand up.

    May 22, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  19. CW in DC

    I cannot believe I'm not sitting here reading people trying to compare the African American struggle of the 60s to the gay struggle of today. Have you all lost your minds?!?!

    -Show me a restaurant WITH A SIGN that says we don't serve gays.
    -Show me public areas with signs depicting "White Only" and "Colored Only"
    -Show me the last time a gay person was hanged
    -Show me gays being denied the right to vote
    -Show me gays being told that they only count as 1/3 of a human being....
    -Show me gays that have had dogs attacking them
    -Show me gays that have been hosed by fire hoses

    I could go on all day!

    Yes, I am an educated black man and I do not live in the past. I respect every person regardless of their race and I harbor no ill will toward any person because I know people of today had nothing to do with what happened then, but I refuse to sit here and read this garbage and watch these idiotic comparisons take place.

    May 22, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  20. john williams san diego, ca.

    gays have the right to marry, but they don't have the right to marry the same sex that is not marriage, that is perversion. the poor 8 year old kid that is a product of a gay marriage that ends in divorce who later remarry and that child has to say 'i have 4 mommies or 4 daddys..indoctrination starts by activist judges and then nurtured by liberal school teachers.

    May 22, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  21. Adam, Los Angeles

    One more note,

    Throughout history and still in present day, gay people have been burned alive, staked, crucified, hung upside, tortured, castrated, raped, beaten to death, deleted from history, endured electroshock "therapy", exiled, denied the right to inherit property, serve their country, or wed their loved ones. i can go on and on - so don't tell me that Gays and Blacks are nothing alike.

    May 22, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  22. Les-Wa

    Terrific answer Senator McCain "touche'". I would have voted for you in 2004 if you were the nominee instead of Bush. I'm a Clinton Democrat, I'm very grateful for your service to our country from Vietnam all the way to the senate. Hillary will be the nominee for my party, my apologize Senator I can't give you my vote this November.

    May 22, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  23. Tyrone Brown, Seattle, WA

    Sometimes I think the issue of gay marriage comes down to semantics. Maybe we need to stop fighting over the word "marriage." In other words let straight couples have the word "marriage" and let us focus our arguments, energy and efforts on the underlining issues of equal protection of our rights and privileges under the law.

    May 22, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  24. Ed Foy

    I will give john McCain credit for sitting down with Ellen. I dont think Curious George or the V.P. ( Ventriliquist President ) would have the guts or the ability to handle the issue so diplomatically. I disaree with John McCain completely and believe he is wrong. ALL men (and women) are created equal. We ALL deserve the same rights and benefits he has. But at least he is willing to talk in a reasonable and courteous manner.

    May 22, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  25. Greg Pottstown, Pa.

    I find it disturbing how easy it is for some people to make generalizations about a group of people.

    Soma people from WV are racist so the hole state is racist. It is all over the place , and not just on one side of the fence.

    May 22, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
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