Hasselbeck, Shepherd still advance skewed View on California's Prop 8

››› ››› MORGAN WEILAND

On ABC's The View, co-hosts Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Sherri Shepherd again promoted the falsehood that without the passage of Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative to amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage, members of the clergy could be jailed for refusing to perform same-sex marriages. In fact, neither Proposition 8 nor the California Supreme Court ruling that affirmed the constitutional right of same-sex couples to marry had anything to do with members of the clergy.

During the November 10 edition of ABC's The View, co-hosts Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Sherri Shepherd again promoted the falsehood that without the passage of Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative to amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage, members of the clergy could be jailed for refusing to perform same-sex marriages. Hasselbeck again referred to a Swedish priest who she falsely claimed was jailed "for not wanting to perform a marriage ceremony." And after being confronted with language from the California Supreme Court majority decision stating that clergy members will not be required to perform same-sex marriages, Shepherd suggested that that there is an "other side" to the issue. In fact, neither Proposition 8 -- which sought to overturn the California Supreme Court's May 15 ruling that affirmed the constitutional right of same-sex couples to marry -- nor the Supreme Court decision itself had anything to do with members of the clergy.

As Media Matters for America documented, on November 6, Shepherd said: "I don't want to know that my pastor -- because, you know, the church is preaching against homosexuality, and I don't want to know that my pastor could be jailed."

In fact, as co-host Whoopi Goldberg noted on November 10 while citing information from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the California Supreme Court majority opinion made clear that its decision did not have any impact on clergy, stating that "no religion will be required to change its policies or practices with regard to same-sex couples, and no religious officiant will be required to solemnize a marriage in contravention of his or her religious beliefs." Nevertheless, referencing advertisements suggesting that ministers could be jailed, Shepherd said, "[Y]ou know, GLAAD said. ... I would like to hear the other side." But no "other side" exists on the question of whether members of the clergy could be jailed for failing to perform same-sex marriages. The claim that absent passage of Proposition 8, members of the clergy could have been jailed in such circumstances is simply false. From the November 10 edition of The View:

SHEPHERD: Right. Well, I feel at a disadvantage here because, you know, we're getting from GLAAD what they say. I think the other side has -- would probably disagree. I don't know. So, if somebody else has --

GOLDBERG: Well, as I am saying to you, I checked the laws on two out of three of these.

SHEPHERD: Well, you know, I saw, you know, the ads going, you know, "The minister will be jailed"; "No, they won't." You know, so, it's like, again --

HASSELBECK: I think, too --

SHEPHERD: I hear you. I just said, you know, GLAAD said --

HASSELBECK: You want the other side.

SHEPHERD: I would like to hear the other side.

Further, during the program, Hasselbeck repeatedly falsely claimed that Prop 8 won 62 percent of the vote; in fact, Prop 8 garnered 52.3 percent of the vote, according to the California Secretary of State's office.

From the November 10 edition of ABC's The View:

GOLDBERG: As you said, we did have a really, really spirited discussion about Prop 8. And Barbara and I both got phone calls from Ellen [DeGeneres].

BARBARA WALTERS (co-host): We should tell them what Proposition 8 is.

GOLDBERG: Yes, I was gonna to let you.

WALTERS: Oh, thanks.

OFF-CAMERA: Go ahead.

WALTERS: Well, Proposition 8 was put on the agenda in California, which banned same-sex marriage, which had been allowed. And Ellen called Whoopi and then called me because she was listening to our discussion, and there were some things about it that she liked or didn't like. And we were talking about the fact that there were some people who felt that churches could lose their tax exempt if they didn't perform same-sex marriages, and we were raising other que-- and would that mean that same-sex marriage would have to be taught in school and so on?

And what Ellen's fear was, was that her marriage to Portia [de Rossi] and other marriages would be declared invalid. So we called Jerry Brown -- remember Jerry Brown? -- who is the attorney general of California, who said, "The language of Proposition 8 is silent on retroactivity, and California law generally provides the laws apply only prospectively." And he said, as the attorney general, "I will defend in court the marriages contracted before that Proposition 8 was signed." So Ellen and other people who were married before this -- right, Whoopi? -- is protected.

HASSELBECK: So it's not retroactive.

WALTERS: Well, you know, somebody could protest that, but that's the way it is for now.

GOLDBERG: But GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, were also watching our Hot Topics that day, and they have sent us what they call fact and fiction. And a coup-- we were able to check out two things before we got on, but the third thing, which is this one, I was not able to get another source on.

But GLAAD says that the fiction is, "Teaching kids about same-sex marriage will happen here in California unless we pass Prop 8." GLAAD is saying the fact is, "Not one word in Prop 8 mentions education, and no child can be forced against a parent's will to be taught anything health and family issues at school." That is the law in California.

The second thing: The fiction that we were all believing was that churches could lose tax-exemption status. The fact is, the court decision that said same-sex marriage is legal says, "No religion will be required to change its religious policies with regard to same-sex couples, and no religious officiant will be required to solemnize a marriage in contravention of his or her religious beliefs."

HASSELBECK: As is stated in the --

GOLDBERG: As is stated in the law. It is law. Fact -- fiction: "If Prop 8 isn't passed, people can be sued over personal beliefs." The fact of the matter is in California -- California's law already prohibits discrimination against anyone based on race, sex, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. So those are the --

HASSELBECK: What is classified as discrim-- like, when we talk -- 'cause we talked about the case -- was it in Sweden? -- when the priest was originally put in prison for not wanting to perform a marriage ceremony.

GOLDBERG: I can't speak to Swedish law. I can only speak to the law that exists right now in California. And that --

HASSELBECK: Are they exempt from that? The churches are exempt?

GOLDBERG: They are. They -- California law prohibits discrimination against anyone based on race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. So you cannot be sued over your personal beliefs.

WALTERS: But you know, what we were talking about was that you had said that you had mixed feelings about this. And, in truth, a great many people do. I mean, it's against whatever their ethical beliefs are, whatever their feeling is that matrimony is between a man or a woman. This was something you were expressing.

SHEPHERD: Right. Well, I feel at a disadvantage here because, you know, we're getting from GLAAD what they say. I think the other side has -- would probably disagree. I don't know. So, if somebody else has --

GOLDBERG: Well, as I am saying to you, I checked the laws on two out of three of these.

SHEPHERD: Well, you know, I saw, you know, the ads going, you know, "The minister will be jailed"; "No, they won't." You know, so, it's like, again --

HASSELBECK: I think, too --

SHEPHERD: I hear you. I just said, you know, GLAAD said --

HASSELBECK: You want the other side.

SHEPHERD: I would like to hear the other side.

HASSELBECK: It's important that the 62 percent of the popular vote was -- came out and said they didn't want the word "marriage" redefined, they wanted to protect the institution of marriage as it has been defined. And I think what happened -- this is a reaction to the Supreme Court legislating from the bench. They said, "No, you know what? This is about what the people want, and you tried to overreach."

And so I thought the people came out and said in terms of how our system should work, how it should work for them is best when it represents what they want. And I'm happy about that because it think that's --

GOLDBERG: It's -- it is unfortunate that people used not-honest things to go about it, because if the fear -- if people put fear into people and made them believe things that weren't true, that's not how you want somebody to vote. You want them to vote the truth, and you want them to vote their heart.

Now, maybe they would have voted the same way. But I'm saying to you that the law facts are, as they exist -- the only thing that I cannot say factually, 'cause I haven't read it myself, and we were not able to get it up quick enough -- that doesn't sound right -- get it to our attention fast enough, was that teaching kids about same-sex marriage. That's the one I have not been able to verify beyond that.

[...]

HASSELBECK: And it does change -- it does trickle down to what your kids are taught. I think that's what people vote on. Sixty-two percent of those people wanted to preserve it so that when their kids are taught something, they know what it is.

Posted In
Diversity & Discrimination, LGBTQ, Religion
Network/Outlet
ABC
Person
Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Sherri Shepherd
Show/Publication
The View
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