Jon Stewart Takes on Mike Huckabee’s Homophobia

Mike Huckabee seems like such a nice guy that it is sometimes easy to forget what a disaster it would be if he were ever elected president. Sometimes he even sounds reasonable, such as when he criticized others on the religious right who are pushing for school prayer as he doesn’t see this as the role of schools. If we are ever tempted to think he might be tolerable as president, we got a wake up call from his interview with Jon Stewart last night.

Stewart asked Huckabee about his views on social conservatism and gay marriage in the second half of the interview (video above). Stewart was rightly critical of Huckabee’s view that the state should be making a decision as to whether gay individuals should be allowed to marry. Here is a portion of the transcript from Think Progress:

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.

There’s also more on this interview at Pam’s House Blend.

The fact that Huckabee supports using government to discriminate against one group of Americans is reason enough not to vote for him, although this would apply to the vast majority of the Republican Party. There are also other concerns about Huckabee, such has his believe in creationism. Last January, when he was a candidate for the Republican nomination, we were warned by scientists that Huckabee’s views on science were “a way of leading our country to ruin.”

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  1. 1
    Jeremiah says:

    Thanks to Jon for standing up for gays once again.

  2. 2
    Christopher Wiseman says:

    I fail to understand why this cannot be treated as seperation of church and state matter.  Marraige is an ecclesiastical construct which should be left solely to the respective churches to define.  The secular rights which are associated with marraige should be left to the respective states to define. 

    This is why civil unions pass ballots and “gay” marriage fail because the word marriage regardless of your intentions does have spiritual and religious meaning.  You will always have a backlash when a few judges or even a ballot measure tries to define what an acceptable religious belief is. 

    In Huckabee’s defense though, Stewart does not accuse him of being homophobic. see 5:22 – 5:31  Stewart in fact defends him, “I was in no way suggesting” in reference to Huckabee being a homophobe.

  3. 3
    Ron Chusid says:

    It might make sense to separate marriage (as a religious act) from civil unions but at present marriage is something done by government. It is often independent of religion. My wife and I had a nonreligious ceremony performed by the mayor of the town where we were married. As long as this is done by government, there is no reason a gay couple should not be able to do the same.

    Even if Stewart wanted to stay way from calling Huckabee homophobic, he certainly sounds like he is to me in this interview (with other statements from him suggesting the same).

  4. 4
    Christopher Wiseman says:

    @ Ron – I’m quite aware that marriage can be performed as a nonreligious ceremony (judges, justices of the peace, mayors, ship captains, etc.) however the word and historical construct of marriage involves a religious/spiritual construct.  Until there is a complete divorce so to speak of the secular and religious connotations, they are inseperable from each other.  If you change the legal aspect you necessarily alter at least some ecclesiastical intent and definitions of marriage.

    Just as churches are barred from dictating legislative policy, legislative policy is equally prohibitted from dictating religious doctrine and beliefs.  Consistency or lack thereof threatens to undermine other aspects of the Seperation of Church and State doctrine.

  5. 5
    Ron Chusid says:


    Separation of church and state does not provide justification for prohibition of gay marriage. In fact the principle supports the opposite view.

    Regardless of its ties to religion, the fact remains that marriage is currently licensed by the state. Strict separation of church and state would therefore mean that religious views against homosexuality should not be a factor in determine who can legally obtain a marriage license.

    Any religion could still continue to consider gay marriage to be invalid under their religion but this religious belief should not be a matter of public policy (in this case the granting of marriage licenses).

  6. 6
    Christopher Wiseman says:

    Ron – I agree that seperation church and state does not provide justification for prohibition of gay marriage in the context of state sanctioned operation of law any.

    I also agree that strict separation of church and state would therefore mean that religious views against homosexuality should not be a factor in determine who can legally obtain a marriage license.

    What I disagree with is that states should be in the business whatsoever of sanctioning marriages (homosexual, hetrosexual or otherwise) as opposed to civil unions.  States under the color of law are endorsing a quasi religious institution by licensing it.  The state should have no more right to legislate baptisms, communions or qualify individuals to be members of the clergy as they should marriage. 

    Take for instance the Catholic Church discriminating against women clergy.  That is the domain of the Church to decide, not the State.  If it were a state “licensed” institution, the practice would violate civil rights. 

    Perhaps ours is a distinction without a difference, but I just feel that it would be easier to extend to gays, the same rights as heterosexual marriages if those rights were conferred by civil union to gays and heterosexuals alike rather than to infringe on the realm of religious doctrine that many Christians, Jews and Muslims will never accept as being compatible with their religious concept of marriage.

  7. 7
    Ron Chusid says:


    Yes, that is a plausible solution. However the fact does remain that marriage is licensed by the states. As long as it is licensed by the states discrimination should not be allowed (still granting that any religious organization can make its own decision as to whether they will recognize marriages within their religion).

    Either separating marriage totally from government or continuing state marriage licenses without discrimination are both ethically justifiable positions. However the status quo is not.

  8. 8
    Dave says:

    Thank you Jon Stewart, for having the necessary quickness of mind, eloquence and sense of humanity, to so effectively counter the convoluted and flawed arguments against fairness for peaceful couples who happen to be homosexual.

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