Face the Nation transcripts March 24, 2013: Same sex marriage, foreign policy

CBS News

(CBS News) Below is a transcript of "Face the Nation" on March 24, 2013, hosted by CBS News' Bob Schieffer. Guests include NFL Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, who participates in a panel on same sex marriage including Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry, Austin Nimocks of the Alliance Defending Freedom, conservative David Frum of the Daily Beast and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. Then, House Intelligence Committee Mike Rogers in a foreign policy panel including New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, Time Magazine's Bobby Ghosh, and CBS News Foreign Correspondent Clarissa Ward. Finally, political analysis from CBS News Chief Legal Correspondent Jan Crawford and CBS News Political Director John Dickerson.

Bob Schieffer: Today on FACE THE NATION, is America ready for same sex marriage?

President Barack Obama: Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law.

Schieffer: The president made same sex marriage a cornerstone of his inaugural address, but is the rest of America ready to redefine marriage? As the Supreme Court prepares to hear the arguments, we'll hear form all sides, including Baltimore Ravens Linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo.

Brendon Ayanbadejo: I believe we should be doing everything that we can to make families stronger.

Bob Schieffer: Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry, Austin Nimocks of the Alliance Defending Freedom, conservative David Frum of the Daily Beast and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council.

Tony Perkins: Americans just don't see same sex marriage being natural.

Bob Schieffer: Then we'll turn to the president's trip to the Middle East and the controversy on drones here at home, with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, plus a panel that includes Tom Friedman, columnist at the New York Times, Bobby Ghosh of Time Magazine, and CBS News foreign correspondent Clarissa Ward. CBS Chief Legal Correspondent Jan Crawford and Political Director John Dickerson will join us for Analysis because this is FACE THE NATION.

Bob Schieffer: Good morning, again, this week the Supreme Court takes up two big cases on same-sex marriage, whether the voters can say no to same-sex marriage as they did in California with proposition 8, and whether the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between a man and woman, is constitutional. At the Supreme Court, people are already lining up to get in to see the arguments. Here with us to talk about those cases, Evan Wolfson, head of the group Freedom to Marry. Tony Perkins, the President of the Family Research council. Also joining us Austin Nimocks, who is part of the legal team defending California's proposition 8 and David Frum, conservative columnist for the "Daily Beast" who once opens but now supports same-sex marriage and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, who filed a brief in the court supporting same-sex marriage, he joins us today from Ft. Lauderdale, and Brendon, I want to start with you. We haven't seen too many people from the NFL on the frontlines supporting same-sex marriage. What brought you into this? You filed this brief to be a friend of the court on this. how did you become involved, and why?

Brendon Ayanbadejo: Well, this is something I've been speaking about since 2009, and in my opinion, it's just the evolution of civil rights and equal rights and athletes do a lot to change society, and this is something we can make a big difference on. It starts with bullying kids in elementary school and it goes all the way to legislative and treating everybody equally. This is a fight myself and a bunch of my colleagues we want to take to and we feel that everyone should be treated equally and we're not going to stop until everyone is treated fairly and that's especially including the LGBT community.

Bob Schieffer: was there one single thing that caused you to say, hey, this is just wrong, and I think we ought to change it?

Brendon Ayanbadejo: Well, I think it's something we see every day. I mean, we all have coworkers, friends, family members that are part of the LGBT community, and I was always raised in a Santa Cruz, California, that everybody was equal, and everybody was fair and that's why proposition 8 needs to be repealed in California. It's just a way of life that I have been, you know, being a biracial kid and knowing what it's like to be a part of the minority, I know what it feels like to be treated differently and discriminated. So this is no different. The way the LGBT community is treated -- the same as minorities, whether it's African Americans or Latinos or Asians or even women comparing this to suffrage and the civil rights movement -- it's just the evolution of the same issue.

Bob Schieffer: Tony Perkins, of course you are on the very other side of this issue. You have been a defender of conventional marriage, that is, marriage should be between a man and a woman but even you recognize that attitudes are really changing on this, in this country. The Washington Post had a poll out here where now I think it is 58 percent of the people now support same-sex. That's versus 36% who don't and among young people it's an even more overwhelming favorability, about 80 percent say they now support it. You said in the statement this week that abandoning marriage would place republicans; these are your words, on the path to a permanent minority. In light of these polls, why do you think that?

Tony Perkins: Well, Bob, first off, the polls that really matter are the polls that are taken when the people actually vote on this and when people have voted, as late as 10 months ago, 30 states have put the natural definition of marriage into their state constitution, on average by a vote of 67 percent. Talk about polls. Polls, you get really what you ask for. and there are later polls out by Reuters this week, the Pew research that show still not only is it evenly split in this nation, but when you look at Republicans, 63 percent of Republicans say it would be harmful to marriage to redefine, to redefine marriage, it would be harmful to the family.

Bob Schieffer: You certainly don't question the trend seems to be toward it's okay.

Tony Perkins: If it's inevitable, as the media would like us to believe, there's no reason for the court to interject itself in this. The reality, is it's not inevitable and the American people, when they've had the opportunity to speak on this, have spoken overwhelmingly. 30 states, eight additional states, have the definition of natural marriage into their statutes. So we're far from being at a point where America has embraced same-sex marriage. I mean, if you look at it-- Brendon, they won the super bowl by three points. We're at 30 to 2 states where the people have voted on marriage. That's a pretty wide spread.

Bob Schieffer: Austin, what is your best argument your legal team can make. You are not personally arguing this case but you're part of the legal team. What does this hang on? What will you hang it on?

Austin Nimocks: Well, the big question going before the Supreme Court is whether or not the Supreme Court should impose a 50-state solution upon this entire country regarding the debate surrounding marriage, a debate that is really very young in this country and we are just starting to have and that's exactly what we don't need when we see Americans of all walks of life, all different faiths and backgrounds, and creeds, engaging in the marriage debate. President Obama said there are people of good will on both sides of the debate and the last thing we need is to shut down the debate, have the Supreme Court redefine marriage for everybody, instead of letting us work through this question through our democratic institutions. That's why we have them. The Supreme Court is not a legislature. We have ballot boxes for a reason and we're asking the Supreme Court not to interject itself in this question.

Bob Schieffer: Evan, the last thing we need, that would be, I would say -- you would say it's the first thing we need.