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Dr. Phil Weighs
in on Prop. 8 

Dr. Phil Weighs
in on Prop. 8 

Dr_philthumb%281%29 gets an early peek at a very heated episode of Dr. Phil. Gavin Newsom, HRC's Joe Solmonese, and L.A. attorney Gloria Allred face off against Prop. 8 supporters to talk same-sex marriage. In what may well be a first, Dr. Phil told the audience he would be keeping his opinions to himself.

Forget about abusive husbands and alcoholic wives. This Friday, November 21, the syndicated talk show Dr. Phil is airing an episode exploring the pros and cons of California's same-sex marriage ban, Proposition 8. Host Dr. Phil McGraw began the show, which was taped earlier this week, by telling the audience he was not going to be offering his opinions on the subject of same-sex marriage because the issue is "a very personal thing." He said his goal was to "make you think."

The audience was evenly divided between supporters and opponents of marriage equality, mimicking the panel of guests. On the No on Prop 8 side, the show brought in San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom, Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese, and Los Angeles attorney Gloria Allred, who represented the first plaintiff couple in a lawsuit that paved the way for legal civil marriage for same-sex couples in California.

Proposition 8 supporters were represented by San Diego pastor Jim Garlow, conservative activist Maggie Gallagher, and Jeff Flint of the Yes on 8 campaign.

Garlow said he wished California voters did not have to decide on Proposition 8, because "they already voted on this to the tune of 61%," apparently referring to Proposition 22, the 2000 ballot initiative that enacted a statutory ban on same-sex marriage in the state. Garlow then blamed the California supreme court, which struck down that law earlier this year. He said the definition of marriage "was taken from us by four judges," referring to the court's 4-3 decision in the case.

When McGraw asked Newsom if it was possible for same-sex couples to be considered "equal but different," the San Francisco mayor rejected the idea out of hand, saying, "It isn't possible to be equal but different" and noting that argument was the foundation for a host of racial discrimination laws

Prop. 8 supporter Gallagher countered, "It is not discrimination to treat different things differently" before arguing that laws against interracial marriage "were to oppress." Gallagher went on to say marriage is designed to "bring together two great halves of humanity."

After McGraw showed a series of clips taken from the Yes on 8 campaign that raised the specter of mandatory instruction on same-sex marriage in the state's public school system and No on 8 ads countering the claim, Solmonese said the Yes on 8 strategy was "orchestrated on a bunch of lies."

"They could not find an education official in the state to back up the claim they were making," he added.

Gallagher shot back that "constitutional rights are generally taught in schools," but Allred noted that a superior court judge had language regarding public schools removed from Proposition 8 language because it was a "false argument."

McGraw did ask Flint, a top Yes on 8 organizer, about a letter sent from the group, which apparently threatened to publicize names and companies that did not make a donation to the yes campaign.

"Is that right to do?" McGraw asked.

Flint said his side merely "wanted to give people an opportunity" to let the public know where they stood on the issue.

Gallagher admitted she "really didn't like" the letter, but said she was critical of how the No on 8 side was "going after people's businesses."

"There's a difference between boycotting a business and attacking an individual," she said.

When McGraw asked Newsom about similar moves by the No on 8 side, Newsom said it was important to remember that Proposition 8 "changed the constitution to take people's rights away. That was a devastating, devastating day for people."

A marriage equality supporter who was in the audience Tuesday told she was contacted by the program's staff to take part in a second gay marriage-themed episode shooting December 10. She also said a Dr. Phil staffer told her additional footage of McGraw interacting with the Prop. 8 supporters and opponents shot this week would be aired December 15.

-Dr. Phil airs in syndication. Check your local listings or

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