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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Debate Over Gay Marriage

Aired January 17, 2006 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the Golden Globe goes to "Brokeback Mountain."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "Brokeback Mountain."

CLINT EASTWOOD, ACTOR: "Brokeback Mountain."

DENZEL WASHINGTON, ACTOR: "Brokeback Mountain."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, the debate over gay love and gay marriage heats up after "Brokeback Mountain's" big night at the Golden Globes. We'll get into it with conservative radio host Janet Parshall; also joining us the openly gay actor Chad Allen; R. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; and Guy Padgett, openly gay former mayor of Casper, Wyoming, the city where Matthew Shepard was murdered for being gay and the state where "Brokeback Mountain" is set. It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

An extraordinary movie opened. It dealt with gay cowboys who also got married and had children. It might be called bisexual cowboys, an intense love story based on a story originally in "The New Yorker." It is favored to win the Oscar on that heralded night.

Janet Parshall, did you see the film? If so, what did you think of it?

JANET PARSHALL, RADIO HOST "JANET PARSHALL'S AMERICA": No, I didn't see the film and I'm not at all surprised that out of seven nominations Brokeback walked away with four and some might say that's an indication of what the Oscar ceremonies might look like later on this year.

KING: Why would you comment on it if you haven't seen it?

PARSHALL: Well, I'm interested in all of the buzz around the film. I'm not the least bit surprised that we're hearing so much chatter. After all, I think what we're witnessing, Larry, is the homosexualizing of America.

We've got the Book of Daniel with a gay theme and we've got Will and Grace with a gay theme and we're trying to get people, like me, people of faith who happen to believe that any sex outside of marriage, heterosexual or homosexual marriage, is wrong to try to somehow tolerate and even more importantly accept that lifestyle.

KING: Don't you think you might learn more by looking at it rather than looking away from it?

PARSHALL: No, I don't think so. In fact, let me tell you something about Ang Lee. He's a brilliant film director. I'll bet if he found a really good property dealing with, oh let's say polygamy, I bet he could tap into the human heart. I bet he could make people cry. I bet he could pull away the kinds of emotions that people allegedly get after they walk out of this film.

And would it really be about getting us to look at polygamy and accepting it or would it really be about an effective director who knows how to use a particular art form?

KING: Chad Allen, did you see it?

CHAD ALLEN, OPENLY GAY ACTOR: I did absolutely and it's an incredible film and I think it's being criticized across the board by conservative critics and by liberal critics alike as a great film. That's exactly what it is. It's a love story.

KING: Many conservative critics love it.

ALLEN: Love it. Sometimes begrudgingly they love it because they'll say "You know what, I may not even agree that it's good for America but I think it's a great film." You know Ang Lee is not a gay director. He took this film and I read a great article where he said he took this film because he wanted to find a new angle from which to tell the love story.

It's been told so many times he wanted to find a new way to tell it. This is one way that it hadn't been told yet and he dove into it. I think it's an incredible feature.

KING: There's no explicit sex in it.

ALLEN: No.

KING: In fact, the only come on scene is between a man and a woman at the rodeo.

ALLEN: Well, I mean there is -- there is a fantastic shocking sex scene that happens right off the bat but at least you know where he takes it.

KING: Yes, but it's not explicit.

ALLEN: And in fact it took me and what happened with me was I saw it and I went, oh no, I hope they're not going to make a movie about that. And then you watch these two guys fall in love and that's where the story is.

KING: Yes. Reverend Mohler, have you seen it?

R. ALBERT MOHLER, JR., PRESIDENT, SOUTHERN BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY: I've not seen the movie, Larry, and that's a matter of decision, not just a matter of chance. Like others, I don't feel any need to see the movie. I have read the screenplay. I know the short story and, of course, I know what the movie is about because it's out there so much in the media.

That's the main issue. I am not a movie critic. I really can't speak to the cinematography. I can just speak to what the cultural meaning of this film is and why I see it as a great challenge.

KING: Didn't the short story move you at all?

MOHLER: Well, no, actually...

KING: For example, you're a reverend, didn't you have some compassion for what happened to the younger one of the two?

MOHLER: Well, absolutely. You have to feel compassion when anyone feels pain and when anyone goes through that kind of struggle. But, you know, I really am horrified to think about where that story ended.

You know my main concern, Larry, is not with the gospel of heterosexuality, even though I think that's very important. It's with the gospel of Jesus Christ and what I find lacking in the movie, the screenplay and in the short story is any resolution that really brings these persons to know why they were created and how God really intends them to live and how they would find their greatest satisfaction in living just as God had intended them for his glory.

KING: Does it disturb you that apparently there's no record of Christ having had a heterosexual relationship?

MOHLER: No, as a matter of fact, Christ was single, celibate and yet he had a lot to say about sex. He normalized marriage and said that marriage is absolutely normative and, you know, even with a woman caught in adultery he said "Go and sin no more."

And there's no doubt that the Christian gospel, the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and the entirety of the New Testament present a comprehensive celebration of marital sex as one of God's greatest gifts but also as a gift that has to be kept within the boundaries that God has given us and that is heterosexual marriage.
 

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