tv CNN Newsroom CNN June 26, 2013 8:00am-9:01am PDT
redefine marriage. >> i don't think anyone thinks the whole issue of same-sex marriage throughout the united states is over. but, tony, as far as california is concerned, the largest state in the united states, gay couples will now be allowed to get married in california, based on what the justices of the supreme court decided today, right? >> well, it's unclear what has to happen from this point. but i would note that in 2000 and 2008, voters in california voted twice. so i think this certainly is a rejection of the voters of california who have twice gone to the polls to uphold the natural definition of marriage. so they've completely ignored them as we can tell from the decision at present. but again, in this case, the court could have gone much further and struck down the -- these marriage amendments, which are in 30 states. they did not do that. this only applies to california and how it's going to be implemented we don't yet know as we are still combing through the opinion. >> tony perkins and reverend muller, thanks to both of you for your weighing in on these
historic decisions today by the justices of the supreme court. let's go back to the supreme court. jake tapper is covering this historic day for us there. >> it is historic indeed, wolf. while same-sex marriage supporters have been given big victories, we should take a moment, i think, to talk with our legal experts about what they did do and what they did not do today. because today was not a ruling saying same-sex marriage is the law of the land. >> correct. the doma decision is an immense victory for the same-sex rights -- same-sex marriage supporters. no doubt about that. that will change the lives of thousands of married people in the 12 states where it's legal. on the proposition 8 case, the court could have said all 50 states have to have same-sex marriage tomorrow. the justices did not say that. they certainly appeared to open the door to same-sex marriages resuming in california, but the other 38 states are not yet
affected by this decision, although it certainly does look like the court is moving in the direction of saying that courts -- that everybody has the right to get married. >> jonathan turley, final thoughts on tho decision on dom sweeping, and you get the sense that the justices felt history. with regard to proposition 8, it's more of a victory by default. the only thing living after this opinion is the original order of the district court, which presumably could still be enforced. what is really good news is they make it very difficult for the proponents of proposition 8 to get standing for the next round of litigation. and as we look down the road -- >> you would have to be a governor or an attorney general. >> that's exactly right. >> you say good news, you mean good news if you support same-sex marriage. >> yeah, right, if you support same-sex marriage, that's right. >> and so, you would have to be a governor or attorney general. right now the attorney general and governor in california are democrats, and they are supportive of same-sex marriage.
they do not want to bring an end to the law being struck down, the ban being struck down. >> right. the only other option would be to pass a state law that gives an individual, a third party, the right to represent the state in this type of litigation. >> we'll have much more on this decision, and, of course, a lot of other breaking news going on this morning. i'm going to go back to ashleigh banfield. ashleigh, throwing to you. hello, everyone. i'm ashleigh banfield. we have a very busy show ahead. a lot of news breaking today in the george zimmerman case, aaron hn hernandez, and, of course, everything happening at the u.s. supreme court. we have all of those stories coming your way live. in the meantime, history making in the -- look at that. that is jubilation, folks. supporters and opponents and the media and the masses, all gathered here today at the
supreme court. the justices just gave their blessing to same-sex marriage, and millions of lives have changed from this day forward. also, aaron hernandez just released by the new england patriots football team after being taken into custody like this. by plainclothes police. and graphic testimony. so graphic, in fact, crime scene photos so gruesome, that trayvon martin's mother had to turn away. his father had to leave the courtroom. so much to talk about. only three days into george zimmerman's murder trial. all of that coming up in just a moment. first off, though, today a historic moment when it comes to the rights of millions of americans. the supreme court said "yes," yes to same-sex marriage this morning, repealing both doma, the defense of marriage act, and proposition 8 in the state of california. president obama, who is right now on air force one, on his way to his african tour, was quick to put out this tweet.
have a look at this. today's doma ruling is a historic step forward for marriage equality, love is love. there you have it. melissa etheridge joins me live now on the telephone from new york. melissa, it's no secret that you have been not only married yourself, but you have four children. this has been a very big case for you. this has been almost life's work for you. i want to get your initial reactions to hearing these decisions today. >> oh, love is love and america is beautiful. it's a wonderful day. it's a wonderful day for america, for all its citizens, and for our amazing constitution. and just, you know, god bless america and the forefathers that put this sort of document in place that could withstand this sort of questioning and this sort of putting to test of our diversity in america, and our civil rights. it's just an amazing, amazing day.
i'm proud to be an american. >> so at the same time, melissa, yes, this means federal recognition for anyone who's in a same-sex marriage in the states where that's recognized. but there are dozens of states that do not recognize. so while it's a great day, there's still a very big battle ahead, isn't there? >> oh, of course. and this is -- this has been ongoing -- i've been waving this banner for 20 years. so it's ongoing, and as we grow as a civilization, as a culture, as the fear of the other gets less, as people understand what same-sex marriage and love is, and as we have families, and we're your neighbors, and you work with us, and you understand that we are family, and we're a part of this america, those old fears grow old and they will die
away. and maybe it will take another 20 years. but i can feel the momentum. i can feel the movement in the direction towards liberty and freedom. and that's what we're about in america. and it's, again, over 200-year-old american experiment is still working. it's a beautiful thing. >> so, melissa, to your point about this being a 20-year battle for you, and what you consider the civil rights and the equal protection under the law for gay and straight people, i just want to read for you one of the most recent polls about what americans feel when it comes to this issue. should marriages between gays or lesbian couples be recognized as valid? 55% say yes. 44% say no. i want to beam us all back to 1978 when 53% of those who were asked if homosexual relationships between consenting adults was morally wrong, they thought, yes, at that time. that's 1978. do you think we've made the
kinds of strides that we should have in that amount of time, or are we on sort of an exponential curve when it comes to recognition of this as a right? >> oh, i think we're moving along quite well. i think it has taken us as homosexuals to accept ourselves. it takes a lot for an individual to say, okay, i'm growing up, i'm a teenager, i'm a young adult, and i am indifferent to what the social norms say. in the '80s, it was very, very difficult for us to stand up and go, wait a minute, no, i'm not -- i'm not a criminal, i'm not insane. i'm not mentally ill. i love someone else, and they happen to be the same sex. and it takes each gay person to come to that inside themselves, and it's still a problem. it's still a problem within each, you know, individual. and as that comes easy -- as that becomes easier and easier for an individual to understand
their own homosexuality, then they can stand in their community, they can stand in their family and say, i'm a good person, i am a contributing citizen to this family, to this community, to the state, to this country. and i'm a strong part of the social fabric. and once that person becomes that, that's -- that's contagious. and it goes all around. and so, that's what we've seen, is our community get stronger. and so, then, our brothers and sisters who might not think they know a gay person, and, wait a minute, you know, that's joe down the street, he's a good guy. i don't see any reason why he shouldn't get married, that sort of thing is what changes our nation and our world. >> well, when you mention family, you've got four conversations that i'm sure you're going to be having today with your four kids. i congratulate you, and good luck to you with your family as you navigate through this newness. >> well, it is about family, and i love my four kids. i called my -- well, now my
fiancee. i'm looking forward to marrying my partner of three years. we've been together. and i'm going to get married in the state of california. i woke them up this morning telling them that the supreme court ruling on doma, and i'm so proud of my daughter bailey, my son beckett, johnny rose, miller, i love you all. i love everybody out there. it's great day. thank you so much. >> best wishes to you and your fiancee and your children, as you move through -- >> yes, thank you. >> -- today's decision. thanks, melissa. this decision will have a big, big impact on not only melissa, but a lot of people. especially the benefits that same-sex couples have not been receiving so far, like income tax benefits, health benefits, estate tax benefits. literally millions and millions of dollars that have been denied to gay people up until now, had they been married. our justice correspondent joe johns is live with us outside the courthouse right now with all of the energy in action behind you. just take me there and give me
the feel for what it's like where you are right now. >> reporter: pretty extraordinary moment here, quite frankly, ashleigh. if you look around, these people have been here, many of them, since quite early in the morn g morning. there were cheers when i walked out of the courtroom. inside the courtroom, just a powerful, electric moment, i think, is the best way to describe it. the courtroom filled, as usual, in the front with all of the suits. the legal types and so on, the bureaucrats. but in the back, young people in summer clothes and flip-flops, who -- some of whom had stayed here all night long just to get an opportunity to come in and hear what the court had to say. on the bench, when justice anthony kennedy was reading the majority opinion, there was an audible gasp when he stated that the defense of marriage act was, in fact, unconstitutional.
a gasp, a squeal, however you want to call it. it came from the back of the room, one of those many people who had been here for so long to try to get in. i think otherwise, on the bench itself, very little reaction or emotion from any of the justices. obviously, they're very familiar with this decision that was read today. with the notable exception of justice clarence thomas, who curiously chewed gum almost throughout the entire proceedings today. the other thing that was very interesting, ashleigh, and you haven't heard much about it, was justice antonin scalia's dissent, which was absolutely scathing from the bench. he really went after the proponents of gay marriage, and, in part, attacking the majority for the type of language it used and the proponents of gay marriage have used in this fight to get the defense of marriage
act overturned. and as you know, ashleigh, that's very interesting simply because justice scalia, of all the nine on the bench, is the one who has the way with words and the sharp language he uses in his opinions. so just a fascinating day here at the united states supreme court, ashleigh. >> and yet another dissent from the bench. we're getting that all week long. this is a big, big week, and a lot of heat and energy. a great job reporting from out there, joe johns. a lot of information coming down the pike. we're not finished our coverage on this. i'm going to let joe go, and we'll check in with jeffrey toobin later on in the hour. more analysis to this decision, the reaction, and the future implications of the decision. that's coming up. we have other breaking news. a dramatic turn of events playing out in the boston area. new england patriots tight end aaron hernandez led out of his own home in handcuffs by plainclothes police officers, and not just a few. you see two in your screen. there are about a dozen of them there. this happened in north attleboro
within minutes of his arrest, more bad news. the patriots team announced that they released him. susan candiotti joins us live now in attleboro. so give me a feel for where we stand in this process right now. i know he was headed for the arraignment. is he still in there, or is it over? >> reporter: no, we understand he is still at the police department, ashleigh, at this hour, even though he was arrested oh, just before 9:00 this morning. so more than two hours ago. he's at the police department. all we have is the official notification he has been arrested and that the ra arranment will take place where we are standing. he was arrested where we are, north attleborough, and will be taken to the district courthouse, the standard procedure here in attleborough. it's a short distance away. we don't know at this hour whether he has been able to meet with his lawyers at the police department. we've reached out repeatedly to them, but have had no comment from them. all we know is that when his
first arraignment is over, and that's what will happen next, when the arraignment first appearance is over, then the district attorney, who has been in charge of this investigation from bristol county, will have something to say to the news media. so until then, we don't know what the charge is. but what a scene it was this morning just before 9:00 a.m., when he was led out of his house, plainclothes officers going up to the front door, and just inside the front door, when the door opened, the handcuffs were placed on him. he was led out. his arms cuffed behind his back, beneath a white t-shirt. he was wearing shorts. and he spit as he was being walked to the squad car, and then he was driven away. of course, all of this is part of an ongoing murder investigation into the shooting death of odin lloyd. lloyd is a friend of aaron hernandez. according to their own family members, the sister of aaron hernandez and the sister of the victim in this case, or rather the girlfriends of both, were
sisters. and so, that is one thing that connects them. and so, occasionally, they also went out together. the body of odin lloyd was found less than a mile from aaron hernandez's house. it is a short distance from there. hernandez's house has been searched at least twice in connection with this. just a few days ago, we saw them bringing several bags out of the house with undisclosed items of evidence. ashleigh? >> susan, i'm still curious, though. he hasn't been charged yet. we don't know what the charges are. we don't know if perhaps it's murder or obstruction or something else. and yet, the patriots saw fit right away to cut ties with the man they were prepared to pay for five years $40 million just last year. do they know something we don't know? >> reporter: that's right. well, that may be possible, of course. we've been talking to them since the beginning of all of this, but they did release a statement. so here's how it reads. quote, a young man was murdered last week, and we extend our sympathies to the family and
friends who mourn his loss. words cannot express the disappointment we feel knowing that one of our players was arrested as a result of this investigation. we realize that law enforcement investigators -- or, rather, investigations -- sorry, lost my place there -- into this matter are ongoing. we support their efforts and respect the process. we believe that those the right then to do. that's what their statement says. by the way, ashleigh, i also had a chance to speak with the sister of the victim in this case. her reaction to news of the arrest, even knowing without the charge is, she said, "god is good." she has said consistently throughout this that, i don't know whether he had anything to do with it, but at least we think, anyway, he knew something about what led to this. back to you, ashleigh. >> all right, susan candiotti reporting live for us from north attleboro. thank you. let us know if and when you hear the specifics on the charges. we've got so much more, a lot of breaking news today. not the least of which the
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17-year-old trayvon martin, face down in the grass, his body lifeless and the skittles and that fruit drink that he bought less than an hour before, still in his pockets. these are photos of the evidence from that moment, and they were shown to the jury yesterday in the george zimmerman murder trial. the neighborhood watchman who killed him, he says in self-defense. all of this was just too much for trayvon's mother and father, both of whom eventually left the courtroom after several images had been shown. also shown to the court, that much-talked-about hoodie. and there you have it. you've heard of it, seen a photo of it. that is the actual evidence from that night, the one that trayvon was wearing the night he was shot in the chest. also, photos of the injuries that george zimmerman says he sustained at the hands of trayvon martin. and we're starting to hear from
those who witnessed the struggle between these two in that rainy darkness outside of that condo complex. we're hearing from more of them today, in fact. we're looking at all angles of this trial. i want to start with our george howell, live in sanford, florida. this has been a busy day in court. give me a summary as to everything we've been hearing so far this morning. >> reporter: well, ashleigh, absolutely. very emotional for people in the courtroom. emotional for trayvon martin's parents. you could see sybrina fulton tearing up as she heard the testimony of these witnesses. what we're hearing today, these are people who lived in the neighborhood. right now, on the stand, you see jeannie manalo. she said she heard howling noises and looked outside and saw two people on the ground. we also heard a very similar story from jane surdyka. she said she basically opened her bedroom window, heard two
distinct voices, and then she called 911. keep this in mind. very important for the prosecution, because they are relying on these witnesses to help them determine -- to help jurors decide -- who was screaming on that 911 audio. was it george zimmerman? or was it younger trayvon martin? now, when you hear surdyka's account of this, she said she heard two voices, and one of them seemed to be a younger voice. she thought the voice of a young boy. i want you to listen to this 911 call. >> -- looking out my window, like my backyard, and someone's yelling and screaming, help. and i heard like a pop noise. and they both are still out there right now. i don't know what's going on. >> i can tell you right now you're not the only person that's calling. we already have one officer on scene and another on the way. >> oh, good. oh, my god, i see the person right now. i see him, like be walking. there's a man coming out, people coming out with flashlights. oh, my god. i don't know what he did to this person. >> reporter: the tension in that
voice, the distress that you hear, that's what people are hearing in this courtroom right now. but in cross-examination, i do want to point out that the defense attorneys made the point that it's impossible for this witness to determine anything, because she didn't see it, determine who was screaming, to determine the age of the person without seeing them. so the defense is definitely trying to, you know, basically tear down this concept that a person can determine who was screaming without seeing it, ashleigh. >> well, and it was a dark and rainy and fearful night. you could hear the fear in her voice, and you could see the tears on the stand. george howell in sanford, florida, live for us. thank you. i want to remind you you can watch the zimmerman trial live as it happens on our sister network hln. i want to bring back our cnn analyst paul callen and also danny savilas. paul, let me start with you. to the testimony that we've just been hearing about who it was screaming, you could hear jane surdyka talk about not only in the court, but sometimes even on
the call, it's the boy. but at this point, no one knows the name george zimmerman. no one knows the name trayvon martin, but yet she can determine in her own thought who the boy is. i need you to speak to me as a lawyer and what you would do with that information. >> i think this is some of the most important evidence in the whole case, because if it is a boy or a child screaming, that she hears, and then later on in other taped encounters, the jury's going to go against zimmerman. he's shooting somebody on the ground screaming for help. but can you determine it's a young person? can you identify a scream? ironically, they had a hearing on this with the top experts in the country, and the judge said, you know something, scientifically, you can't determine whose voice it is in this tape. but the jury will be allowed to apply layperson's opinion testimony to make that determination. >> and understandably, this
became an unbelievably massive story. it was wall-to-wall in the media. and at that time that jane surdyka began to give interviews in conversations subsequent to this incident, she had heard about a little boy. i mean, we'd all seen pictures of trayvon martin in his football uniform, i think, you know, in maybe fourth or fifth grade. so as a defense attorney, what would you do with what you're hearing on the stand? >> well, first, the defense already scored a major victory, keeping out that science that just didn't meet the frye standard, and allowing the jurors to make their own determination. the bottom line, it is the prosecution's burden to prove not only beyond a reasonable doubt that george zimmerman killed trayvon martin, but they also have to prove that -- they have to disapprove his self-defense defense. so when it comes to the screaming issue, the jury ultimately is going to apply their own belief -- their own sort of experiences to determine
whether or not they can -- >> yeah, danny, aren't you going to cross-examine here and say, how did you know it was a boy? you didn't know who it was. you saw two men -- >> exactly. >> -- you describe one bigger and one smaller. now you're suggesting it's a boy. because there's been so much media coverage. that's why i ask you as a defense attorney, do you hammer away at this woman, who has nothing to do with any of this, she's really a bystander, and say, where did you get the idea this was a boy? >> you don't need to be harsh with a witness like this, that's unbiassed. it's very difficult. because all of the attorneys have invested themselves emotionally. we saw that in jodi arias. it's important to remain dispassionate and expose not that this person is not credible or dishonest, but rather their ability to perceive may have been compromised, simply because they weren't there and they weren't looking directly at it when it happened. >> not only that, but the descriptions that night, you know, were bigger person, smaller person, and as the
descriptions became more realistic to the television audience, trayvon martin ended up being a taller, thinner person, and george zimmerman ended up being a smaller person. just quickly, paul. >> yeah, ashleigh, different attorneys have different approaches on this stuff, to. a lot of attorneys would be aggressive and go after her and say, hey, you're reading this in the newspaper and on tv, now you're saying "boy," and it undermines your testimony. so it's different -- different styles for different attorneys. >> a big day for a legal show, not only because this case continues to develop at warp speed, but also paul callan, danny, don't go anywhere. we have a lot more coming up on the program. in particular, what this means today, what happened at the supreme court. more reaction and analysis and insight on a historic supreme court ruling. you know how they feel. there is another side, as well. the rulings on same-sex marriage and how america moves forward, after this. i think farmers care more about the land than probably anyone else. we've had this farm for 30 years. we raise black and red angus cattle. we also produce natural gas.
paving the way for same-sex marriages, also in california, that whole prop 8 out the window. that was the ban. practically speaking, though, this is pretty confusing stuff, and it's been in the courts for a long time. and so, a lot of people out there aren't exactly sure just where do we stand as a nation when it comes to gay marriage. our senior legal analyst jeffrey toobin joins me live from the place it's all happening, scotus, better known as the supreme court of the united states. jeff toobin, i'm going to ask you do a difficult thing in television speak, but basically break this down. the practical, the legal, the financial benefits now for same-sex couples after the decisions today. >> well, ashleigh, federal law gives all sorts of benefits to married people. you get to file a joint tax return. you get social security survivor's benefits. those are probably two of the best known. what today's decision said was gay people who are married in the states where it's legal -- in those 12 states and the district of columbia -- they get
those federal benefits, too. the federal law -- the defense of marriage act -- which said that the federal government will not recognize any same-sex marriages, that law is out the window. that law's declared unconstitutional, as demeaning the rights of gay people. that was one decision. today. the other decision is related to proposition 8 in california. and that one is legally a little more complex, but the bottom line seems -- seems -- pretty simple, which is that the appeal of the proposition 8 case was improperly brought. so the district court ruling is intact. proposition 8 is gone in california, and same-sex marriages should resume in california basically immediately. >> and so, that's california. but we only have, i think, at last count -- and i could be off by one or two -- about 12 states
now -- >> it's 12, yeah. >> -- that recognize gay marriage in this state of the union here. does what happened with prop 8 and the striking down of the ban against, you know, gay marriage, does that have any implications for other states? meaning, is there some sort of precedent that can be used to try to insure that gay marriage has a greater swath across the country? >> as a technical legal matter, no. gay marriage was unlawful in alabama and texas and mississippi and those 38 other states yesterday. it's unlawful today. however, if you read justice kennedy's opinion in the defense of marriage act case -- the case brought by edith windsor of new york state -- the language in his opinion very much opens the door for a challenge to the bans in those 38 states. there is lots of language in there that suggests that those states no longer have the right
to ban same-sex marriage. you can be sure those cases will be filed immediately. but as of today, there is certainly no change in those other 38 states. it's still unlawful for gay people to get married in those states. >> and just very quickly, if you could, if the striking down of the key provision of doma means that you cannot treat a married gay couple differently financially, when it comes to federal issues -- and i'm filing my federal taxes and i live in mississippi, then why can mississippi then discriminate against me financially, and is that the next challenge? >> that's what's -- that's what's lined up -- that's what's lined up for the next -- the next series of challenges. because certainly, the implication -- not explicit -- but the implication of justice kennedy's opinion is that when the government -- any government is dolling out benefits, to put gay people in one category and straight people in another, that's unconstitutional.
that's the implication of what he is saying. that's why you heard the supporters of same-sex marriage saying, within five years it will be the law of all 50 states that gay people have the right to get married. but let's not get ahead of ourselves. that's not what the court said today. what the court said today simply was that the federal government cannot discriminate against the gay people in the states where it's already legal. >> i think ted olson and david boies have some work ahead of them still. they're not finished today. so, jeffrey toobin, thank you. you've been doing excellent work out there, very accurate and well-assessed. other news we've been following, the breaking story about the nfl's aaron hernandez, currently under arrest, cuffed, taken out of his house by plains clothes, our legal experts look at his case and what the young man could be facing other than being fired from his football team. [ stewart ] we've never cooked anything like this before.
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an incredible fall in the public eye from a tight end with one of the nfl's premier teams, to virtual rock bottom. because it doesn't get worse than this, folks, being led out of your home -- that's aaron hernandez, a football star -- in cuffs with plainclothes. not only that, he gets into a cruiser, and he gets out of a football team. because the new england patriots fired him. his arrest comes under -- all during a big murder investigation. a friend of his, odin lloyd, his body was discovered by a teenage jogger last week near hernandez's home. that's not far from boston. and odin lloyd's sister said the two were friends. her reaction to hernandez's arrest, "god is great. it's the best news i've had sense my brother was killed." hernandez is in the process, we think at this point, of being arraigned. it's going to happen at any moment, if not already. and when we learn of those charges, we're going to get them to you and let you know what they are.
back with our expert take on this, the legal analyst paul callan and defense attorney danny cevalos. so, let me ask you, paul, you are called to be aaron hernandez's defense attorney, and you are in this situation right now. what do you know and what are you doing at this moment? >> well, first, it's likely that the defense attorney already knows what the charges are. he's got good relations with the police and the prosecutor, and he would have been told that. i mean, i just saw, believe it or not, the massachusetts state police announced that they were not going to announce the charges via twitter, just to show you how times have changed. only in open court will the charges be announced. you're starting to look at bail. you're starting to look at, you know, how am i going to get him out. can i get him out? if it's a murder charge, he won't get bail. if it's something less, he will. >> listen, danny, i always think that right away. it doesn't get more serious than murder, and, you know, the possibility for flight is so high when you're facing that kind -- if that is, in fact, what he's going to be facing. but then you have a phil spector
who spends years and years out on bail. to who gets bail and who doesn't, especially when you're big and famous and recognizable? >> well, remember, bail is not designed as a punishment. bail is designed, number one, to protect the community. and number two, ensure that somebody shows up for trial. so in a case -- if this is a murder charge, which we don't know yet. this could well be an obstruction of justice charge. just assuming the argument, it's a murder charge, yes, it's a serious crime, and the prosecutor would ask him to be remanded or no bail, or very, very high bail. the factors in his favor, he is a member of the community. he's not a flight risk. he's recognizable. and he's somebody that could post a high bail. remember, bail not a punishment. a defense attorney will approach it from, he's got strong ties to the community, and he would try to convince a judge or a magistrate that the public at large will not be in danger if you allow this man to either make bail or be released pending any trial.
>> -- reality, though. >> real quick. >> no bail will be set by a local judge at the arraignment. maybe down the road. i think today it will be so high or remanded -- if it's a murder charge. >> i was going to say. we don't know if it's obstruction or murder. hopefully, we'll know shortly, hopefully, if they allow us to know the information, considering the warrants impounded. paul, danny, stand by. we have received a statement from president obama on the historic same-sex rulings by the supreme court of the united states. we're going to bring that statement to you right after this break. bulldog: oh, the dog days of summer!
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♪ mattress discounters so obviously, as you've been watching the breaking news for most of the day, it was after 10:00 eastern, and the united states supreme court handed down two watershed decisions regarding gay marriage. one on the defense of marriage act, striking down the key proponents that effectively did
not give equal status, or equal protection, to gay couples seeking the same kinds of benefits as straight couples right across the country. and then, not only that, but the proposition 8 ban in california on same-sex marriage, also struck down by the supreme court. essentially saying, you shouldn't have brought it here in the first place, because the complainant really doesn't have standing here. so it can be the law of the land in california, as well. and the president, who has been en route to africa for a significant trip has already been responding to this. i want to jump in with our jessica yellin, white house correspondent who is traveling with the president. she joins me live from dakar, senegal. the reaction from the president, he tweeted it, and saying lengthier than the quick tweet. tell me what's being said, jessica. >> reporter: hi, ashleigh. president obama is hailing this as a major victory, not just for gay americans and gay rights activists, but for equality nationwide. in a statement, he says he
applauds the supreme court's decision. he said the defense of marriage act specifically was, quote, discrimination enshrined in law. and he recognizes the court for ending that discrimination. i want to call your attention to an interesting paragraph in his statement that leads to a lot of what we're going to be focusing on in the days to come. he says, quote, we welcome today's decision, and i've directed the attorney general to work with other members of my cabinet to review all relevant federal statutes to ensure this decision, including its implications for federal benefits and obligations, is implemented swiftly and smoothly. and what he's talking about there, ashleigh, is the fact that there are 38 states that do not recognize same-sex marriage. and while -- and now, there is a big question about how federal benefits will be treated in those states. that question is up to the president, and his
administration has to answer that question -- what happens to gay couples in those 38 states, ashleigh. >> all right. jessica yellin live with the president. and i have a feeling we may actually hear from the president, maybe not just that statement, given the significance of what's happened today -- back here stateside. jessica yellin live. thank you. as we've been reporting on the supreme court's decision to do away with doma and prop 8 this hour, i want to give you reaction, as jessica brings us the reaction from the president, the los angeles mayor, antonio has issued a statement. >> today, we have taken a mow meant us step on the path to full equality for all californians and all americans. by striking down the defense of marriage act, the supreme court has affirmed a basic american truth. bigotry and bias have no place in our laws. and with the court's decision on prop 8 california is poised to become the 13th state in america with full marriage equality.
so there you have it. you know what? by the way, people wondering how quickly. it could be days, it could be weeks. but it will be fairly approximate given the fact this is the final word. we've been following the george zimmerman second-degree murder trial which is playing out live in a courtroom. more witness testimony. it comes at us so quickly. so many issues and pieces of evidence and all of it critical to the puzzle. that puzzle that his lawyers will find reasonable doubt in. more coming up in a moment. ll c. [ chirp ] all good? [ chirp ] getty up. seriously, this is really happening! [ cellphone rings ] hello? it's a giant helicopter ma'am. [ male announcer ] get it done [ chirp ] with the ultra-rugged kyocera torque,
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it's day 3 of george zimmerman's second-degree murder trial. if you cover court you might feel like it's the second week. there's been so much material that's gone through. more witnesses testifying today. key stuff too. what they saw and what they heard. sometimes we call them earwitness. one of the people who could hear a lot and see somewhat lived right near where the killing happened. she lives at the town lakes or the twin lakes town home complex. have a listen to what she said. >> the yells for help that you heard, could you identify whether it was the louder voice or the higher pitched one?
>> on my opinion i believe especially is second yell for help it was like a yelp. i felt it was the boy's voice. >> that's pretty critical. we talked a lot about that about analyzing whether a witness can assess whether that's a boy and a boy's voice before she even knows who those characters are that she is seeing in the shadows because as it turns out they were both fairly large people. 190 pounds, i believe was george zimmerman at about 5'9" and about 180 pounds and closer to six feet trayvon martin and closer to around 190 pounds. that's an issue. what about just the optics in the courtroom. the evidence was really uncomfortable. stuff we can't even show on
television. it was too much for the parents of trayvon martin. it's not that this doesn't happen a lot but were there optics involved here. is it lost on the jury that parents have to walk out. >> that looks to me like it was an orchestrated scene. usually you sit down and say we're going to be doing autopsies. it's really hard. maybe you'd be better off not being in court. the jury understands. to wait and have them leave the courtroom in the middle of the testimony it smacks a little bit of an orchestrated scene. they will cut a lot of slack to parents who lost a kid. it's hard to say how the jury will feel. >> here is the other thing, you might think you have the constitution to deal with this. you want to be there for your dead child and then it happens. there's nothing like evidence when you don't expect it to seem the way it does in a courtroom. >> that's true. in this case people need to
understand the jury watches everything, the lawyers, they watch the defendant. you have to explain to your client to behave correctly. no shaking your head. you have to believe it may seem like a little thing but it's a massive event in a courtroom when parents get up and walk out. the jury knows who they are. the jury knows what they are there for. that's clearly a message. was it intentional, probably not but in this case those kinds of courtroom optics, as you call them, can be very compelling. however, i think a jury will forgive parents. this is the most painful thing they could go through. >> we should remember that george zimmerman's parents aren't in the courtroom. they are barred from being in there. thau thank you both. we appreciate your analysis today. i want to remind our viewers you
the supreme court issues landmark ruling. same-sex marriage sporters slating. aaron hernandez taken into cuffs and let go by the patriots. emotional testimony from george zimmerman's neighbor. whether the jury can hear the previous 911 calls. paula deen apologizes in a national interview. she says i'm not changing. she takes another hit from a big sponsor. i'm suzanne malveaux. >> i'm michael holmes. we're going to start at the u.s. supreme court. after weeks of anticipation the justices handing down two major rulings on same-sex marriage. >> the court struck