February 24th, 2014
08:06 PM ET

Web Exclusive: Unedited interview with Arizona State Senator Al Melvin

Arizona Republican State Senator Al Melvin voted for SB-1062 and wants Governor Brewer to sign it. His interview tonight with Anderson ran too long for air. The full unedited conversation which included NYU Law Professor Kenji Yoshino is available here in two parts.

Part 2:

Post by:
Filed under: Arizona • SB-1062
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. joealvares

    If they were to swap places, maybe we could see the US moving forward again..a clear evidence that the GOP unfortunately also has its "rotten tomatoes" (at least the changes of him becoming Governor just got smashed).
    Undoubtedly they were both prepared for this interview and not even the Senator's rehearsed lines were able to prevent reality to set in.
    Congrats AC, what a brilliant interview.

    February 28, 2014 at 12:40 am |
    • zoey3364


      March 1, 2014 at 5:56 am |
  2. therabbitlayla

    What kind of senator can't even speak publicly without stammering as if they had a gun to their head? Oi! Seriously, Anderson Cooper wiped the floor with this guy and he didn't even have to raise his voice. It's clear this senator didn't even have a clue what he signed and was nowhere near prepared to defend his decision. What a clod.

    February 27, 2014 at 6:47 am |
  3. kaliarii

    Aah, the pretty little toll that sounds the death of a bigot's political career. He'll never get past the AZ senate position now.

    February 26, 2014 at 10:03 am |
  4. disabledmarine0331

    It's painfully obvious from Arizona's State Senator, Steve Pierce, that these controversial Bills aren't even read before approving them. Senator Pierce said twice during his comments to Anderson Cooper that "no one said anything negative about it or told him anything before he signed it". You would think if a Senator was doing his or her "JOB" they would read things before signing them. It's seems that Bills come across Senator's desks and they may be only concerned about who wrote the bill or who signed it before them before "READING" it and going with their "OWN OPINION!". This Controversial Bill, Bills before and those soon to come in my opinion, begin the slow process of systematically changing the democratic position myself and those in other countries believe the United States is based on. Soon, ultimately becoming a Dictatorship. Don't take my opinion at face value, look at the facts and what's being allowed now and soon to become allowed.

    February 26, 2014 at 1:52 am |
  5. ngsarbo

    By the way, thank you for representing my home, in the absolute worst way possible.

    February 25, 2014 at 10:06 pm |
  6. ngsarbo

    I imagine Al will be losing some support due to this idiot interview, the fact that he's in office and can barely hold conversation appalls me. There isn't any discrimination in Arizona? Where do you live here Al? I'd love to move to that side of town!

    February 25, 2014 at 9:57 pm |
  7. GramenVox

    Reblogged this on jltfkb and commented:
    I know it's not very difficult to make a tool look like a tool, but kudos to you anyway, AC!

    February 25, 2014 at 7:40 pm |
  8. Bekka Jai

    I've never been much of a CNN watcher, but this interview has instantly made me an AC360 fan. Thank you, thank you, thank you Anderson, for showing that you're the only host in cable news (I know of) who understands that what this bill purports to "legalize" is actually already legal in most of the US and always has been. Please continue making this crucial point to your viewers as these bigoted bills make their way through state legislatures. I believe that if more people understood what life is actually like for working class LGBT Americans in most of the US they'd be appalled and we'd see more effort to pressure the President and Congress to make it right.

    February 25, 2014 at 11:41 am |
  9. perealb

    Anderson Cooper had a good good but failed to get it across clearly because the Senator played dumb. At one point, AC should have said that since divorce and sex before marriage are considered sins according to the bible, why are gays so targeted by religion. What about so many other sins like adulterers, disobedient to parents, disrespect the Sabbath, murderers, etc that, according to the bible, should be punishable by death are not as targeted as homosexuals that in its essence is defined by love – they don't harm anyone.

    February 25, 2014 at 11:02 am |
  10. ezmorningrebel

    I agree with Anderson's overall point, but he's barking up the wrong tree with his first argument. He makes no mention that the City of Phoenix and the City of Tucson, representing a combined approximately 1/3rd of Arizona's population (2+ million people in a state of 6.5 million people), have anti-discrimination ordinances enacted in their cities' codes.

    That being said, SB 1062/HB 2153 is a terrible, bigoted piece of legislation.

    February 25, 2014 at 10:00 am |
  11. ehduncan

    It occurs to me that you could also use this to deny service to members of other religions, jewish people could refuse muslims; etc etc... and as my husband mentioned, how exactly does one know if you're gay? so you as a straight person goes to lunch with your gay sister...do they take a poll at the door?

    February 25, 2014 at 9:47 am |
  12. cpmondello

    I love when someone uses the word "sir" as if they are holding to to the edge of their seat reading to pull ok a AK-47 and scream; "I hate you". It's actually quiet condenscending to keep repeating "sir" instead if just saying the persons name you are speaking too. On even a more shallow not, when that man started to say "I've been in...." Or whatever, I thought he was going to day decades, but only 6 yrs and he already looks like an old white drunk, which means he got elected looking like that. These people don't represent America!!!!

    February 25, 2014 at 9:30 am |
  13. voyagerseven1

    It is 2014, I find it hard to believe educated people could conceive of such an idea to be put into law. The resources that are wasted on this dark ages bigotry is unprecedented.

    "Without freedom of choice, there is no creativity. Without creativity, there is no life." humanity will reach maturity and wisdom on the day that it begins not just to tolerate, but take a special delight in differences in ideas and differences in life forms. If we cannot learn to actually enjoy those small differences, to take a positive delight in those small differences between our own kind, here on this planet, then we do not deserve to go out into space and meet the diversity that is almost certainly out there.” ― Gene Roddenberry

    In this galaxy there’s a mathematical probability of three million Earth-type planets. And in the universe, three million million galaxies like this. And in all that, and perhaps more...only one of each of us.

    February 25, 2014 at 9:11 am |
  14. ckpatter

    Unbelievable that America is still arguing over basic human rights. Religious rights do not extend to the discrimination of others. I will be having a conversation with my three children tonight over this bill. I am raising my children to believe in an America where all are created equal. I will also make sure that they understand the importance of being able to debate well, a skill Senator Melvin is seriously lacking.

    February 25, 2014 at 2:44 am |
  15. shinnphoto

    If anyone is wondering, Mr. Melvin's campaign runs a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Melvin-for-Governor/152578244914916.

    February 25, 2014 at 12:16 am |
  16. Wings

    Rethuglican logic:

    The good Senator doesn't "know anyone" who would discriminate against a divorced woman or a single mother, so it's a silly hypothetical since it hasn't happened before in Arizona. But he and his cronies wrote, and passed a law based entirely on ANOTHER hypothetical that hasn't happened before in Arizona. A law to protect religious people from having to offer services for gay weddings... even though gay marriage isn't legal in that state... and even though it is already perfectly fine AND legal to blatantly discriminate against gay people in that state. "But we don't know what could happen tomorrow..."

    I see – "we don't know what could happen tomorrow" is only of concern when it comes to hypothetical lawsuits from gay people... no need to concern yourself with the possibility that someone could use your discriminatory legislation against divorced people or single moms. That just can't possibly happen!

    The stupidity... it burns.

    February 24, 2014 at 11:46 pm |
  17. rydertheonereasonblechriistian

    I would like to find out what verses of thee Bible Anderson was referring to in regards to lending money to a single woman or a widow. Little help?
    I sense he was instructed to take the verse out of context and use it as an attack weapon.
    I might be wrong,, but it is important to understand the social values of the time. One of the laws protected the widow by ordering a men to marry his brothers wife in case of death.

    February 24, 2014 at 11:34 pm |
    • richzip

      A much better question is where are you getting "widows" and "single women"? Anderson was talking about DIVORCED women and UNWED MOTHERS. Many people have sincere religious beliefs that divorce and premarital sex are sins. If SB 1062 passes, those people could use that law to deny services to divorced women or unwed mothers. Get it now???

      February 25, 2014 at 12:49 am |
  18. andrewtek

    For maybe the first time in recent years, the USA is facing a deep conflict in our constitutionally guaranteed freedoms. Take the following 4 positions:

    1. Religious organizations that believe contraception and abortion are sins against God and will impact their immortal souls are potentially being required to provide such services to their employees.
    2. Employees who work for religious organizations, but do share those organizations' beliefs that contraception and abortion are sins, are potentially being denied medical coverage that they need.
    3. Pious priests, bakers and wedding photographers who believe that homosexuality is a sin against God are potentially being sued if they refuse to perform a wedding ceremony, bake a wedding cake or take wedding photos for a gay couple's wedding.
    4. Gay couples are potentially being told by ignorant priests, bakers and wedding photographers that their lifestyle is a sin and they won't participate in their wedding celebration.

    Who is correct in the above examples? Both sides have valid, deeply held, feelings. To dismiss the religious groups as being "ignorant" may seem the easiest; but that does not make the feeling of injustice go away on either side. To dismiss the employees who need medical coverage or the gay couple wanting to commemorate their love does not work either.

    Considering the implications of this divide in conflicting values, I would have preferred Anderson look at this multifaceted issue more constructively with the Senator. Instead, it felt like he was trying to corner the Senator into saying something he would have to apologize for. Although – to be fair – I think the Senator was so concerned about being cornered that he could not participate in such a constructive dialog anyway.

    Personally, I don't think that anyone should be forced (by whip or by law) to do something they don't want to do. To coerce someone into doing something against their will is slavery. To demand that they share your world view (whether it be 1, 2, 3 or 4) is the ultimate form of control.

    All that said, I think that someone will always step up to do what others refuse to do. We are, after all, a capitalist nation. Most of us who have perfected our crafts would be happy to bake a nice wedding cake or take some awesome photos in exchange for money.

    February 24, 2014 at 11:11 pm |
    • jesusislove2014

      Thanks for sharing.

      February 24, 2014 at 11:17 pm |
    • dxloat

      Andrew you said and I quote "Personally, I don't think that anyone should be forced (by whip or by law) to do something they don't want to do." but this is precisely what laws are meant to do, what you suggest would be called anarchy.

      February 24, 2014 at 11:37 pm |
      • andrewtek

        Yes. I just watched 1984 last night; so I am still looking at things through that lens. A good book and okay movie. As I wrote my comment, I was thinking of Winston Smith's observation of the party; specifically as it relates to thought crime and doublespeak. In that book/movie, he observes how the party seeks control over more than your actions, but your very thoughts and beliefs. I was not specifically thinking in terms of tyranny or anarchy; but the affect of the former on one's sense of self.

        I should probably avoid commenting after watching/reading Orwell :D.

        February 25, 2014 at 12:37 am |
    • jimhinco

      How is getting paid to do a service you provide to the public slavery? Are you saying that when my boss asks me to do something that I don't want it, it's slavery? Even though I'm getting paid to do it and even though I'm completely free to quit or close my business down? Finally, Christianity is full of commandments and scriptures indicating that we are no longer free to not love our neighbor. Christianity is therefore complete slavery to God – our lives are not our own...there is no way we can hate our neighbor and claim to be Christian.

      February 25, 2014 at 1:44 am |
    • shortstone

      You pose a question, but my answer is also a question(s) – sort of anyways. A couple walks into a diner to eat lunch. They sit down, pick up the menus from the holder and begin to discuss options, their day, whatever and their hands briefly touch affectionately. The owner sees this, walk over and asks the couple to leave as their relationship is against his beliefs. I'm sure that most of us (who are not morons) would agree that the diner owner is discriminating against the couple. Or how about the bed&breakfast that takes a reservation for a nice couple staying in one room. When the couple shows up the owner refuses to give them a room saying their relationship is against her beliefs. Most of us would also think that this is discrimination. Finally, a person walks into a cake shop to order a wedding cake. This person says she already knows what she wants for taste, has a sketch that the owner says is doable, they pencil in the date the cake is to be done on and the time that someone will be there to pick it up at, and how much it will cost. In walks the bride's future spouse as the bride is finishing writing the deposit check. The owner balks and says that she can't make the cake after all because their relationship is against her beliefs. Now why is this considered not discrimination to people? Well, what if I said the couples depicted here were of mixed race? Or somehow their religion was revealed to be different or they were atheist? Or some other dumb reason that caused the business to shun them? Would that be different?

      Now, I wouldn't want to do business with someone that didn't want to do business with me. Simply because I wouldn't get the level of care that I wanted. But if we as a society are going to allow public businesses to discriminate on the basis of beliefs, then I want those businesses to have to prominently post that in their windows, on their websites, and all the other places that businesses advertise to the public. This isn't to shame the businesses but to prevent the shaming of possible customers and also allow potential customers who might object to that businesses practices to elect to not to do business with them. Of course, this doesn't pertain to churches who are not considered businesses (unless that church is operating that public business). I think it's complete BS that employers operating publicly are trying to exempt themselves from insurance mandates due to religion. They are operating in the public sphere, therefore they are not exempt like churches. In fact, if a church-owned business/school operates in the public sphere, they shouldn't be exempt either. Just churches themselves. Churches already slide on taxes. But when they move outside those church doors into the general public realm, they are just another business!

      February 26, 2014 at 2:41 am |
    • theelusiverobertdenby

      I don't think anyone is being forced per se. When someone opens a business and decides to serve the public, they must abide by the laws of the state. If the state says they can't refuse service to people based on sexual orientation, then they must serve those people regardless of their religious beliefs. If they don't, they chose that and therefore opened themselves up to litigation.

      But I get what you're saying. If I chose not to serve African Americans, for example, then I should be able to do that, but the consequence (I would hope) would be that I get such a bad reputation that I lose my business.

      While I don't agree with everything you said, your comment was thoughtful and well-written. Thanks for that and for your point of view.

      February 27, 2014 at 12:20 pm |
  19. lynn36867

    Objection, your honor! Badgering the witness! ... Anderson Cooper has no business interviewing people on this issue. He's obviously, as a gay man himself, far too emotionally entangled to remain journalistically detached. Has CNN no editors?

    February 24, 2014 at 10:55 pm |
    • jesusislove2014

      I think you are violating the terms of service of this blog. 🙂 I only wish I could express my views.

      February 24, 2014 at 11:02 pm |
    • speakeasy25

      If you have an interview subject who does not answer any questions and sticks only to a pre-written script, to keep asking them to participate in the interview is not badgering–it is journalism. The interview subject was obviously ill-informed and disingenuous.

      February 25, 2014 at 4:39 am |
    • nymantl

      Absolutely, lynn36867, because as a woman, I'm also far to emotionally entangled to discuss women's rights with any amount of credibility.

      February 26, 2014 at 7:07 pm |
      • theelusiverobertdenby

        Yep, exactly. These are the same people who wanted Judge Walker to recuse himself from the Prop 8 case for being gay. It was decided that "the presumption that Judge Walker, by virtue of being in a same-sex relationship, had a desire to be married that rendered him incapable of making an impartial decision, is as warrantless as the presumption that a female judge is incapable of being impartial in a case in which women seek legal relief."

        February 27, 2014 at 12:10 pm |
  20. jesusislove2014

    I really enjoy Anderson Cooper. Terms of service should be on the Ridiculist.

    February 24, 2014 at 10:41 pm |
  21. toonktoon

    Sorry I trailed off while editing the above post and didn't erase the last few lines. . . guess they are okay even if hanging unattached. I do think it's good to clarify the race issue and separate it from other discrimination issues.

    February 24, 2014 at 9:20 pm |
  22. toonktoon

    I watched the interview and wanted to say that while Anderson maintained a very warm and open posture towards Al Melvin who could not answer the direct question fully about discrimination, I had to feel sorry for Al. What needed to be said is this: of course firing someone solely for being a homosexual is a form of discrimination, but for an employer who believes they are employing someone who could possibly influence their workplace towards a moral position that is against their belief system, this could be considered justifiable discrimination. If a lesbian employer was forced to hire a polygamist and was religiously or morally opposed to that lifestyle, would that constitute a violation of her religious freedom? So the way I see it is that there are opposing yet equally important freedoms on the line.

    I think since this bill seems to have come from the homosexual wedding photographer incident, that we need to look at this issue in more layers. If someone was offended by my sexual orientation, why would I force them to take photos of my wedding or threaten them with discrimination charges? It is a free market and they could easily find a photographer that would be comfortable doing the wedding instead of forcing someone who is religiously or morally offended to do it. And that is the "agenda" that many Christian/Jew/Islamic people feel coming from gays. It clearly states in their holy books that the gay lifestyle is not allowable. Neither is polygamy, adultery, fornication, or incest. Sexual orientation is not addressed in scripture. Only sexual behavior. So it is not difficult to understand why Christians would feel threatened by gays who feel the need to force Christians to provide services to them or employ them. To be fair, there are good reasons for concern on both sides of this fence and only a lot of understanding and concession and moderation and consideration can possibly yield better tolerance on both sides. Force won't work well. Gays cannot demand moral acceptance from those whose faith prohibits that. Do we demand that Jews eat pork because we like bacon? Do we demand that Muslims drink alcohol simply because we are free to? That would be anathema to them and unfair of us.

    While the gay cause might be important for human freedom, the obvious defensive posture of the Christians or traditionals or whatever one wants to label them, clearly shows they feel their freedoms are threatened just as much or more than the gays freedoms are. If gays are not sensitive to this, they will set up defenses that will only make their cause much harder to be presented.

    So while Anderson seemed to be tolerant in his own thinking, he was overlooking something important. Christians don't want to be forced into aligning themselves with practices they feel offend their God. Whether that be abortion, homosexual lifestyles, pornography, etc. If they are required to participate in things they believe are wrong and we force them to violate their conscience, whose rights are being violated? Gays can work, they can marry, they can find wedding photographers in this country. The laws do protect them in most states. I hope they realize they need to leave room for those who cannot embrace them entirely or they too will become guilty of intolerance.

    Thanks for the opportunity to share my thoughts.
    So would I be guilty of discrimination? Well, yes, but parents do have to discriminate when protecting their children. And people who have religious beliefs have to discriminate to some degree to protect those standards they value. Race is an exception in that it is not a behavior or a value and I do not believe in any form of discrimination due to race.

    I digress.

    February 24, 2014 at 9:15 pm |
    • dxloat

      I am glad you have such a good explanation for your selective discrimination. The old "protecting the children" argument is always a good one.

      February 24, 2014 at 9:46 pm |
    • adamneff

      Toon, you hit the nail right on the head when you wrote "Sexual orientation is not addressed in scripture. Only sexual behavior." The thing is that your nail blew a hole right into your argument. In this paradigm, it is behavior itself that these religious people find contrary to their beliefs. What is the behavior? Sex between people of the same gender. Unless the gay couple decides to have sex in front of their religious employer, or the folks making the cake, or the photographer behind the camera, it is a non-issue. They will NEVER see the behavior to which they so strenuously object so there is no justification for discrimination on religious grounds. Anything objection of gay folks beyond this behavior that they will never see is simply bigotry.

      All SB-1062 will do is cause endless litigation and will ultimately serve no one other than lawyers.

      February 24, 2014 at 11:48 pm |
    • Wings

      You said:

      >> Do we demand that Jews eat pork because we like bacon? Do we demand that Muslims drink alcohol simply because we are free to? That would be anathema to them and unfair of us.

      Let's take your two questions and turn them around a bit...

      What if Jews insisted you could not eat bacon because they don't approve? How about if Muslims insisted you not drink alcohol simply because they don't approve? Would you be accepting of those restrictions based on their tenets of faith? Of course not. You'd never stand for that.

      But it's apparently perfectly ok to keep gays & lesbians from marrying because you don't approve... right? It's perfectly ok to fire them because you don't approve... right? So it's alright for these conservative Christians to insist that other people conform to their faith, via legislation. So long as no one tries to force conformity on them.

      Hypocrisy – one of those things Jesus spoke out against A LOT. Unlike, you know, homosexuality.

      February 25, 2014 at 1:42 am |
      • shortstone

        You need to take it one step further. If I walk into a Muslim restaurant, I am not expecting to find alcohol. And even if I was ignorant of that fact, once looking at the menu it would become obvious what they offered for sale. It is then my choice, as the customer, whether or not I want to remain or leave. I never go into a new restaurant and order without looking at the menu/walking by the buffet first to see if I even want to eat there! Yes, I'm sure that there are morons that would, but too bad. I have a favorite Chinese restaurant that I absolutely love. If there is something that I don't see, I ask if they do it off-menu. Or if I want more of something in a dish or to add something to a dish, I ask if they can add more/it. If not, then not. They only have to provide what is on offer, not what is requested. Good business says they will try to accommodate, but they don't have to. This is way different than a gay couple walking into a bakery that as part of the services/goods... offered custom or generic wedding cakes. Or just cakes in general! Some do just have fancy cakes not specified as 'wedding.' Or the photographer that advertises wedding photos. Or the B&B that advertised for 'couples.' The list goes on. It is discrimination and they shouldn't be able to hide behind religion if they are a business that does business in the public realm.

        February 26, 2014 at 3:06 am |

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.