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Ellen DeGeneres and Sen. John McCain Debate Same Sex Marriage

Jim Burroway

May 22nd, 2008
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Here’s the transcript:

DEGENERES: SO let’s talk about it. Let’s talk about the big elephant in the room. [Applause] So by the way I was planning on having a ceremony anyway this summer even though it wasn’t legal, but I feel that at least I get to celebrate my love. And then it just so happened that I legally now can get married like everyone should. [Screams and applause]

MCCAIN: And I saw where someone even registered you.

DEGENERES: Someone… yeah, yeah … illegally registered me, but yeah, I… [Laughter] So I’m obviously excited and to me this is only fair and only natural, and what are your thoughts?

McCAIN: Well, my thoughts are that I think that people should be able to enter into legal agreements, and I think that is something that we should encourage, particularly in the case of insurance and other areas, decisions that have to be made. I just believe in the unique status of marriage between man and woman. And I know that we have a respectful disagreement on that issue.

DEGENERES: Yeah, I mean, I think that it is looked at, and some people are saying the same that blacks and women did not have the right to vote. I mean, Women just got the right to vote in 1920, blacks didn’t have the right to vote until 1870, and it just feels like there’s this old way of thinking that we’re not all the same. We are all the same people. All of us. You’re no different than I am. Our love is the same. [Cheers and applause]

To me, what it feels like, just —- I will speak for myself —- it feels like when someone says you can have a contract, and you’ll still have insurance and you’ll get all that, it sounds to me like saying, “You can sit there, you just can’t sit there.” That’s what it sounds like to me. It doesn’t feel inclusive; it feels isolated. It feels like we aren’t owed the same things and the same wording.

McCAIN: Well, I’ve heard you articulate that position in a very eloquent fashion. We just have a disagreement and I, along with many many others, wish you every happiness.

DEGENERES: So you’ll walk me down the aisle? Is that what you’re saying? [Laughter and applause]

McCAIN: Touche.

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