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An Opponent's Take On The High Court's Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

We just heard President Obama a few moments ago reacting in a dramatic speech in the Rose Garden to the news this morning. That news, if you're just joining us, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex marriage is legal across the United States of America. NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith is at the White House. She's returned to her microphone after being out in the Rose Garden in the front row. And, Tamara, I - we just had a television view here. I mean, it appeared the president was breaking up and his words were shaking. I mean, what did it look like to you up close?

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: There were definitely some dramatic pauses. What you couldn't see probably or hear is that he - he was looking out on dozens, probably hundreds, of White House staff who had gathered in the Rose Garden to watch him deliver these remarks, including many staff who are gay and lesbian. And I think that that was part of what he was thinking about as he was delivering those remarks.

GREENE: Tamara, stay with us if you can. I want to bring in another voice here. It's Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr., the senior pastor at Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Md. Been in very - very involved in this issue and protecting the idea of traditional marriage between a man and a woman. Pastor, are you on the line? Thank you for joining us.

HARRY JACKSON JR.: I am. Thank you for having me today.

GREENE: Tell me how you reacted to this ruling.

JACKSON: Well, you know what? I had a little bit of real consternation. You know, I felt as though the decision has been made and it has not included, by and large, the majority of the voices of the people, so I was disappointed very - very much. And my big question really has been whether we're going to enter in...

GREENE: It sounds...

JACKSON: There's pushback, you know, for people whose faith has them think more traditionally about marriage and freedom of expression and freedom of religion. The foundational rights are what I'm concerned about.

GREENE: Well, Bishop Jackson, let me just ask you - I mean, you said that the Court you don't feel respected the majority. There have been polls that have suggested that there's been a real movement in public opinion recently in this country and that a majority of people support the idea of same-sex marriage. Do you see - you see it in a different way though.

JACKSON: I do. Most of the time, as we started out, I've been at this for a while and we're - led the battle in D.C. One of the things that we find is that the polls, however they're given, often reflect differently than the voting. And the voting for marriage - traditional marriage - was about 65 percent (inaudible) cast around the country. And all of (inaudible) there's still the idea of going to the people. And so I get the fact that the polls have changed, but the polls usually are very overblown versus the numbers of actual votes, if that make sense to you.

GREENE: Yeah, and I guess - you might be getting another call or something. We're losing you a little bit. But I just...

JACKSON: I'm sorry.

GREENE: I just want to get the chance to ask you, you know, President Obama said in his remarks that there are a wide range of views about this issue still in the country today, that many people have deeply held beliefs. Did that speak to you? Did that show to you a president who understands that you have a disagreement with him here?

JACKSON: I think that it does, but (laughter) - how do you say it - it still did not change the nature (inaudible) process - I (inaudible).

GREENE: OK, I think - all right, Bishop Jackson, I think sadly your phone line seems to be going in and out. So maybe we'll have the opportunity to come back to you later in the day, but if you can still hear me, we really appreciate you taking the time...

JACKSON: I can hear you.

GREENE: Thank you for taking the time to speak with us today. We appreciate it.

JACKSON: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.