Former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who twice vetoed marriage equality legislation, revealed that he performed marriage ceremonies for two gay staff members despite believing the institution should be restricted to unions between men and women.
Schwarzenegger gave what he called “the scoop” to Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes on CBS News in an interview before the release of his new book, Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story, in which he admits multiple affairs that damaged his relationship with his wife, Maria Shriver. One of the two same-sex couples he married included Susan Kennedy, his chief of staff, whom he once described as “a cigar-smoking lesbian,” Stahl said.
“I always said that I have nothing against people doing what they want to do,” said Schwarzenegger. “If they -- if the -- a couple wants to get married, they should get married. I personally always said that marriage is between a man and a woman, but I would never enforce my will on people. I always want people to make that decision. If they want to get married, let them get married.”
The Republican governor twice vetoed legislation that would have allowed same-sex couples in his state to marry. He said at the time that he supported domestic partnerships, and believed that the state Supreme Court should decide the issue. The high court ruled for marriage equality in 2008, but voters quickly repealed the right with Proposition 8. Supporters of the ban have appealed their case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which is considering whether to hear the challenge.
Read the transcript from 60 Minutes below, followed by the video.
Stahl: Gay marriage. You for gay marriage?
Schwarzenegger: I always said that I have nothing against people doing what they want to do. If they-- if the-- a couple wants to get married, they should get married. I personally always said that marriage is between a man and a woman, but I would never enforce my will on people. I always want people to make that decision. If they want to get married, let them get married.
Stahl: You had a chief of staff-- Susan Kennedy.
Schwarzenegger: Uh-huh (AFFIRM).
Stahl: You-- even called her I think-- this is a quote, "A cigar smoking lesbian," you once said. And she got married. Did you go to the wedding?
Schwarzenegger: I performed the wedding in the office.
Stahl: You married--
Schwarzenegger: I married her in the office-- in the governor's office.
Stahl: Then you must be for gay marriage.
Schwarzenegger: I don't have to be for gay marriage. I'm for that she gets the kind of wedding and the kind of ceremony that I had when I got married with Maria. That she happens to love a woman, and I am-- a guy that loves a woman, that is two different things. It doesn't make any difference. She should still have her ceremony.
Stahl: Did you marry any other gay couples?
Schwarzenegger: Yes, one other assistant that worked for me. I married them right here in this office.
Stahl: Okay. I didn't know that. Did you know-- did--
Schwarzenegger: That's why I give you the scoop.