For over seven minutes last night, Jon Stewart grilled former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee on his opposition to gay marriage. Huckabee is touring the country to promote his new book, “Do The Right Thing.” When Stewart compared gay marriage bans to interracial marriage bans, Huckabee restated his view that homosexuality is simply a behavior choice:
STEWART: Segregation used to be the law until the courts intervened.
HUCK: There’s a big difference between a person being black and a person practicing a lifestyle and engaging in a marital relationship.
STEWART: Okay, actually this is helpful because it gets to the crux of it. … And I’ll tell you this: Religion is far more of a choice than homosexuality. And the protections that we have for religion — we protect religion. And talk about a lifestyle choice — that is absolutely a choice. Gay people don’t choose to be gay. At what age did you choose to not be gay?
Huckabee tried to insist that “60 percent of the American population” opposes gay marriage. Stewart interrupted him, calling it a “travesty” that gay Americans have to plead for their civil rights:
HUCKABEE: If the American people are not convinced that we should overturn the definition of marriage, then I would say that those who support the idea of same-sex marriage have a lot of work to do to convince the rest of us. And as I said, 60 percent of the American population has made the decision–
STEWART: You know, you talk about the pro-life movement [abortion] being one of the great shames of our nation. I think if you want number two, I think it’s that: It’s a travesty that people have forced someone who is gay to have to make their case that they deserve the same basic rights as someone else.
Watch the whole interview:
It is true that 30 states have banned gay marriage. However, Huckabee — like other conservatives who make similar claims — is wrong to suggest that American public opinion is on his side. A recent poll found that a full 75 percent of Americans favor either gay marriage or civil unions, with nearly 50 percent favoring gay marriage itself. More importantly, the next generation is much more open to gay rights: According to CNN exit polls, an overwhelming majority — 67 percent — of 18-29 year-olds voted against stripping gay couples of their right to marry in California.