September 5th, 2007
10:13 PM ET
12 years ago

'Live Free or Die' - except for same-sex marriage

(CNN) - Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback disagreed with a local New Hampshire resident Wednesday night on the topic of same-sex marriage.

During Wednesday night's debate, Fox's Carl Cameron, on location at a local diner, asked a New Hampshire state employee whether she thought a federal constitutional amendment banning gay marriage should be passed. "Absolutely not," said Heidi Turcotte. "We're the state of 'live free or die', and people should be able to marry the person they love."

Cameron then tossed the same question to Brownback for his response.

"I understand this is a divided audience on this," replied Brownback. "And I understand we as a country are struggling with this question. But these issues aren't done in a vacuum." The presidential hopeful went on to say, "When you do these vast, social experiments - and that's what this is, when you redefine marriage, it's a vast, social experiment - they're not done in isolation. They impact the rest of the culture around you. When you take the sacredness out of marriage, you will drive the marriage rates down."

Brownback said more attention needs to be focused on strengthening families. "And currently in this country - currently - we're at 36 percent of our children born out of wedlock," he said. "You can raise a good child in that setting, but we know the best place is between a mom and a dad, bonded together for life."

–CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford

Filed under: New Hampshire • Sam Brownback • Same-sex marriage
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. RTH, Bellingham WA

    When you deny the right of a loving couple to get married, then you take the sacredness out of marriage.

    September 5, 2007 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  2. Tracy, Richmond, VA

    BAN IT! BAN IT! BAN IT! Since when can two people of the same sex NATURALLY create a child together? Personally, I find the thought of same sex relationships disgusting. I hope that America will choose a candidate that appreciates real family values.

    September 5, 2007 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  3. Christian, Tampa FL

    I think the sacredness of marriage has been removed, but not by homosexuals...

    In a nation where the divorce rate is approximately 50%, one does not still believe that marriage is considered sacred in that nation.

    September 5, 2007 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  4. Dan Book, Sandusky Ohio

    Dear CNN,

    What is the point of your debate night coverage? Do you intend it as a service for people who have internet access but not access to a TV? You don't really add anything with your posts that one wouldn't already get from watching the debate itself. Reading your ticker during a debate is like eating a plain rice cake during thanksgiving dinner: even if you like airy, tasteless rice cakes, why would you eat it when you have a full Thanksgiving dinner as an alternative?

    September 5, 2007 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  5. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Brownback apparently has Two Fathers, his biological one and another according to his religion. But each American has a personal relationship with their own deities, or none at all, and it is arrogance in the extreme to attempt to impose his God on us as a secular President.

    September 5, 2007 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  6. ilsa, kansas city, ks

    I like all the posts about different candidates' responses. We can hash it all out ad nauseum. Some people do not have TV but do have internet access. Some people don't have a working TV. Some people live with family members who do not choose to watch the debates. Some people even have radio headsets (the debate was also on Fox radio) to listen to while watching on line. ANd yes, some people prefer to watch streaming on line while multi-tasking! Thanks to CNN for keeping a running selection of topics on these debates!

    September 5, 2007 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  7. M, Ottawa, On

    What is meant by freedom in this article? If I want to support the responsibility of procreation, then traditional marriage is a well established mechanism that is in line with my point of view. If I feel that people should be free to define their relationships in whatever way they want, then they should – but not by forcing everyone else to recognize this as equal to traditional marriage. If someone wants to recognize both arrangements, then they should be able to do it without imposing a moral view on others.

    I do not agree that they are the same. The responsibilities, while similar in some areas, are not the same.

    The argument that old people can get married is not a good comparison. An old men can still father a child outside his marriage. This undermines his responsibility. To say that a gay man can father a child outside of his relationship is mixing the issue, in a sense contaminating the comparison.

    There are other arguments in favour of changing the law but they can just as easily be challenged. I personally know of couples that did not want children change their mind, or couples that were told they could not have children that ended up having a child. If a couple wants to have 2 children, then how is that different from a couple that wants no children? The planning responsiblities (and consequence of failure) from a procreation perspective are the same whether or not a couple has children.

    Rules based on exception to me are not good policy anyway. We should handle exceptions but not use them as a foundation.

    The recent decisions in favour of gay marriage in the courts could have used at the least the "spirit of the law" to defend traditional marriage. But this is something that certain judges chose not to consider.

    September 5, 2007 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  8. Adam, San Francisco, CA

    Homosexuals haven't been able to get married until Massachusettes – and the sanctity of marriage was already down the tubes. Its a bogus excuse to draw out voters and its just getting weaker and weaker each election. Republicans have nothing else to use...and Democrats should stand up and support it on moral principle and stop being afraid of losing votes.

    September 5, 2007 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  9. George P., Austin, TX

    Hey Dan,

    You're on the Internet reading about a televised debate. Hello.

    CNN covers the debate online because, quite frankly, not everyone watched the debates. Lots of people may have had other obligations during that time block. CNN's coverage of the debate on the website is designed to complement and enhance the televised coverage of the debate.

    Please return to your uninterrupted three-hour block of television.

    September 5, 2007 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  10. Eric, Huntington Beach, CA

    Even if you think that the best situation for a child is with two loving parents that are bonded for life, we don't legislate in this country that all parents must stay together for life, etc. to provide the best possible enviornment for our children. Why should we use that excuse to deny homosexuals their rights to marry the person they love?

    September 5, 2007 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  11. David, Toronto, Canada

    I find that a lot of the objections to gay marriage to be spurious. Yes, the two people involved cannot have children on their own; that also applies to post-menopausal women, senior citizens, and people who have suffered specific injuries, but they are not prevented from marrying.

    I also find the idea that allowing gay marriage will drive the marriage rates down to be nonsensical. You do not get married based on what other people do; you get married based on what's going on in YOUR life.

    September 5, 2007 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  12. Jon, Washington, DC

    CNN left out an important part of Brownback's response. At the beginning of his answer, he affirmed his opposition to same-sex marriage, and you could hear a mix of boos and cheers in from the audience. That is why he continued by saying, "I understand this is a divided audience."

    September 6, 2007 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  13. Thomas, Denver, CO

    Gee, Sen. Brownback..

    Isn't legalized discrimination a social experiment that already has been proven to have failed and tore our country in half?

    That equality is a social experiment in Sen. Brownback's thinking (and rhetoric), it's no wonder that this country is still so divided and the rest of the world is either laughing at us or trying to think of ways to destroy us.

    September 6, 2007 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  14. Tom, Nashville TN

    Re: Dan Book's "Dear CNN"

    I don't have cable television. So I get my news by using a WIFI connection with an outdoor, external antenna that is being bounced off my neighbor's chimney to an access point somewhere far away.

    Not all of us are as privileged as you, and your jokes are about as dry as your Thanksgiving turkey. We're all glad that you've grasped the ability to multi-task. Now get over yourself.

    Thanks CNN.

    September 6, 2007 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  15. Lj Sag, MI

    Raising children is not done better with a Mom and a Dad, just ask some of the children out there with neither, with one or the other or with two mom's/dad's or one of each. Raising a child is done with love and no one should be able to judge that. I agree that the sacredness has been taken out of marriage and not by homosexuals but by the people who do not hold their vows and cheat. So take a look at yourself Congress, House, & Presidential canidates before you decide who should and who should not be able to get married.

    September 6, 2007 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  16. Ryan, New York, NY

    Wait, so gay marriage would be a social "experiment," but Brownback already knows the outcome: "They impact the rest of the culture around you. When you take the sacredness out of marriage, you will drive the marriage rates down."? It may have been a few years since I've taken a science class, but according to the scientific method, aren't you supposed to conduct the experiment before you can know the result, otherwise it's just a hypothesis?

    Oh, sorry, I forgot, Brownback doesn't really believe in science...

    September 6, 2007 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  17. Joe, Yorktown, VA

    Hey, Dan Book, I don't have a television because it is largely a waste of time. I'm glad I can turn to CNN for all the material I missed out on.

    September 6, 2007 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  18. Lance in Monrovia, CA

    What happened to the Republican party that believed government didn't belong in the bedroom or the classroom? Where has the sanity gone?

    Do you members of the RNC actually believe that you can create so much division that it just might actually get Mr. Brownback elected?

    This issue of gay marriage, will eventually play out the same way racism did, the same way the womens' right to vote did, the same way that every oppressive act by small minded people always do.

    Your efforts will fail and you will with it.

    Bottom line, if you don't want gays to get married in your church, that's your church's decision. If you want to get married and you happen to be gay, go to a church that will marry you.

    It should never be the government's right to discriminate and make separate and unequal. What happens in the home or church should stay there. I don't even want to know about it.

    The idea of passing a Constitutional amendment to restrict rights is... well, as obscene as any deviant sex act these neocons can dream up in their deviant minds.

    Somebody please hook these backward thinking dinosaurs off the stage.

    September 6, 2007 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  19. Mark, Minneapolis, MN

    Same sex unions will drive marriage rates down? Ahem. Gay marriage was not legal when Reagan got divorced. Gay marriage has not been the reason for the multiple unions of Thompson, Giuliani, and McCain. If you want to find the experts on marital stability, one needs to look to the gay-friendly Democrats – the Edwardses, Obamas, and Clintons. One and only unions for all of them. Congratulations to all 3 couples.

    September 6, 2007 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  20. Jason, LA, CA

    I wouldn't get married if homosexuals could... wait no, thats absolutely foolish. Allowing same-sex marrages will not change the way people feel about the ones they love. People get married to engage in a life long (hopefully) bond with someone they truly care about, they dont get married because homosexuals can't. Brownback's statements about preserving the sanctity of marrage and same-sex marrages causes a decline in marrage rates is foolish.

    September 6, 2007 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
  21. Jon, Sacramento ~ Ca

    Perhaps the gal that asked this question should consider voting for a leading Democratic candidate which supports same-sex marriage.

    Oh wait... there isnt one!

    September 6, 2007 02:38 am at 2:38 am |
  22. Kim, Los Angeles, CA

    I thoroughly enjoy these postings. I don't have television, much less time in my day to watch it. This way I am abreast of debate highlights and aware of candidates' platforms. Enough 'rice crackers' will plant the seeds for decision making on Election Day.

    September 6, 2007 03:23 am at 3:23 am |
  23. Nick, Pittsburgh, PA

    There are many of us who don't watch TV and only follow Internet, so CNNs coverage is very useful for us. CNN, thanks.

    September 6, 2007 04:43 am at 4:43 am |
  24. draganmb

    Well i think that the marriage between persons of the same sex is a small issue,because everyday more and more people divorce,i don't care if they marry ,but i do carry that more and more straight families are teared apart,this are serious matters.

    September 6, 2007 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  25. Caspar Mulders, Goes, Netherlands

    Just goes to show that it's the right wing of the Republicans, and not the US left, that are un-American in thoughts and actions. It seems to me that the ultra-conservatives desire nothing more than to limit other peoples' freedom to fit their own dysfunctional dreams.

    September 6, 2007 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
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