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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Same-Sex Marriage Vote in New York; Unrest in Syria
Aired June 24, 2011 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening.
We begin with breaking news tonight, possibly history in the making. It has been one delay after another. One senator said it almost seems like light years since the process began. But right now, state senators in New York are finally voting on a bill to make same- sex marriage legal in the state of New York. One undecided Republican senator moments ago announced he has now decided to vote for same-sex marriage.
And now a majority of senators are on the record saying they will support same-sex marriage.
Mary Snow is in Albany now on the phone with the latest on, as I said, what could be history happening right now.
Mary, what's the latest?
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And incredibly emotional on the Senate floor, Anderson.
What we just saw was a vote for an amendment to the bill. That was an amendment that guaranteed protection for religious organizations. That had been the sticking point all along. And that vote passed 36-26.
And as soon as that was announced, you heard cheers erupt in the Senate chamber. And there are people outside, supporters in the hallways. That loud cheer went up as soon as that was announced.
What you're seeing now is (AUDIO GAP) Democratic (AUDIO GAP) same-sex marriage bill has gotten up blasting Republicans for bringing this bill to a vote. And now what we waiting for is the vote on the main bill.
COOPER: Mary, do you know when the actual vote will take place? Senator Diaz seems to be sort of filibustering here.
SNOW: And he had tried to get up earlier when the amendment came up. And then now that the Senate is moving onto the main bill, he has gotten up again. He is one of the -- obviously a very strong opponent of this bill.
COOPER: So once this argument is settled, do we know what time the actual vote will begin? SNOW: No. That is unclear. It's unclear right now whether we will be hearing from state senators on the floor. Also, will there be a full roll call? Will it be a show of hands? Not certain right now.
COOPER: But, Mary, because a state senator talked about five or 10 minutes ago he had -- who had been undecided, he now says he is for the bill because of all the religious exemptions that have been put in that have been negotiated over the last several days, now a majority of senators are on record supporting this, yes?
COOPER: So unless somebody changes their vote, this is going to pass; there is going to be same-sex marriage in the state of New York?
And Stephen Saland has been closely watched. The wild card would be that if he had supported the amendment and not supported the full bill. But that seems unlikely at this point. But he was being closely watched to see what his vote will be. And as you said, he expressed his support for that amendment.
COOPER: Mary, just continue to follow this.
Let's just listen in a little bit to what's happening. This is Tom Duane, senator from New York.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
TOM DUANE (D), NEW YORK STATE SENATOR: I was 17 or 18. Stonewall had happened just a few years before. And I decided to come out to my parents, religious Catholics. They were very concerned for me.
What they knew or thought, believed was that homosexuals lived sad and unhappy lives. They were discriminated against. They couldn't get married. They would be lonely and subject to violence.
COOPER: I want to bring in Evan Wolfson, the executive director of freedomtomarry.org. Also joining me now is Richard Socarides, who worked -- formerly was an adviser to President Bill Clinton on gay rights issues. And we will be joined once this vote is done by a New York state senator, Greg Ball, who we believe is going to -- on record being -- voting against this bill.
Evan, you have worked long and hard for this. Why is this so important for you?
EVAN WOLFSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, FREEDOM TO MARRY: Well, it's not just, of course, important for me, but it's important for gay people, our loved ones, our family. This is a day of tremendous joy and wholeness for gay people.
COOPER: Did you think -- when did you think this would be a reality?
WOLFSON: I have actually believed that we were going to make it this year really all along, although it's been a scary, rocky road.
COOPER: But when you were growing up, when you were -- first came out, did you -- did this seem a reality?
WOLFSON: I actually wrote my law school thesis on why gay people should have the freedom to marry. And I shudder to say that was 28 years ago.
So tonight for me is 28 years in the making. For many gay people, of course, it's been decades. You ran a story a few days ago about Richard and John, a couple who have lived in New York for decades and decades, have been together 61 years and have waited long enough to get married. This is a day of wholeness and celebration and greatness for our country.
COOPER: Richard, for you, what is this?
RICHARD SOCARIDES, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: Well, it's really an amazing moment in the history of the gay rights movement so far. I mean, we think it will be a real, real turning point and signals the end of official government-sanctioned discrimination against gay people, the beginning of the end.
I mean, next -- at the end -- by the end of this year, we think we will have California. And it may be by the end of this year almost 20 percent of the American public will live in places where gay people can get married. I mean, discrimination against gay people will no longer be able to be sustained.
And it's amazing to be sitting here with Evan, who is the hero of this movement, who has really, really pushed. There are many heroes, but tonight, Evan Wolfson, a real hero of this movement, Andrew Cuomo, the first straight politician really in the history of our movement who has championed this like no one else and said -- he didn't just come out and say, I'm going to be for this. He said, I'm going to fight for this. I'm going to put everything I have got behind it.
Also, in New York State, Michael Bloomberg, Kirsten Gillibrand, the amazing people who have been in Albany for a month now day in and day out working on this. So there are a lot of heroes tonight. But this is truly a historic moment for our movement tonight.
COOPER: And you have no doubt it is going to pass?
WOLFSON: I have no doubt it is going to pass. Third time's the charm. We're here.
COOPER: Because you have been very cautious over the last several nights.
WOLFSON: I have been very hopeful. But it's Albany and you never know. But we now have 32 senators. Senator Saland is a highly respected man of honor. He spoke movingly tonight about how he wished his parents were here because they taught him to treat others as you would want to be treated.
He made sure to have his wife in the chamber with him to celebrate this moment. This is the day. And it's a day that is long overdue in the lives of families. And it's going to show Americans that families are helped and no one is hurt. No one is going to lose anything today. We're all going to gain, because families are going to be strengthened and America's values are upheld.
COOPER: Will you guy stick around for the actual vote?
WOLFSON: Be happy to.
SOCARIDES: Yes, we will be happy to. It's very -- going to be very emotional when the actual vote happens.
COOPER: We're -- we will come back to both of you for that. Stick around. We could be coming back to you throughout the hour as this breaking story unfolds.
Let us know what you think. We're on Facebook, of course. Follow me on Twitter @AndersonCooper. I will try to tweeting tonight, although a lot going on tonight.
Just ahead: a deadly day of crackdowns inside Syria. Our correspondent is finally on the ground there. We're going to hear from Arwa Damon in Damascus.
We're also going to talk to a student who tonight is risking his life to tell you about a brutal crackdown at the university there, government thugs breaking in, in the middle of the night, arresting people, beating people, throwing somebody outside a window -- later tonight, also tearful testimony in the Casey Anthony trial, what her mom and brother said on the stand today.
COOPER: Continuing to follow the breaking story out of New York's state capitol, senators voting on a bill to legalize same-sex marriage at the moment, coming after weeks of negotiations and days and nights of deal-making to reconcile marriage equality with the concerns of religious institutions.
Moments ago, the amendment addressing those concerns passed.
Let's just briefly listen. We are -- we believe a New York senator, Greg Ball, is about to come to our live shot location. He is opposed to same-sex marriage. We were interested in just hearing his perspective on this evening because as of now it appears that, based on the public comments of -- of the state senators, there is enough -- there are enough state senators who will vote for this that same-sex marriage will pass and will become law of the land in the state of New York.
Let's just briefly listen in. DUANE: Yes, Mr. President. I'm asking my colleagues...
DUANE: I am asking my colleagues to please vote yes for all New Yorkers and to vote yes for me and Louis. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Senator. Senator Duane will be (INAUDIBLE) Before we go on, there is an agreement with both sides of the House. There are two more speakers and then we will announce the results.
First to Senator Saland.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Grisanti.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Grisanti.
MARK GRISANTI (R), NEW YORK STATE SENATOR: ... Mr. President.
As you may know, prior to me coming here, it's only been about six months. And the issue of same-sex marriage was never really a strong topic of discussion among family and friends. I simply opposed it in the Catholic sense of my upbringing.
And I have stated that I have a problem with the term marriage. But, at the same time, I also said that I have a problem with the rights that are involved that are being overlooked.
I have never in the past four months researched an issue or met with so many people and groups on a single issue such as this. I have struggled with this immensely. I can tell you that. I have read numerous documents, independent studies.
COOPER: Some debate that is still going on, again, a vote expected to take place Really any moment. We're not sure how many senators will actually want to have their statements recorded. We have seen a number so far.
But, again, we know at least one of the undecided Republican senators who was undecided tonight has made a public statement already that he will support this amendment -- this bill, which puts it over the top.
Joining us now is Greg Ball from the 40th District, Putnam County, and from Westchester, senator from New York.
Senator Ball, thank you very much for being with us.
You oppose what is happening right now in Albany. What is your thinking on that? Why do you oppose same-sex marriage in the state of New York?
GREG BALL, (R), NEW YORK STATE SENATOR: Well, Anderson, at the end of the day, I got to say I represent over 300,000 people. And I wanted to listen to all of them. And I felt it was extremely important when we got into this debate to make sure that we have religious protections. And thankfully we have some pretty strong religious protections in this bill. Now, those religious protections didn't go far enough for me or many who live within the communities that I represent, but they were strong enough for -- we saw tonight, for some other senators.
But I laid out very specific religious objections. They weren't comprehensive enough that I would like to see. But, at the end of the day, I believe that we got some really strong -- in fact, I know it -- religious protections that really aren't in other states.
COOPER: So when you talk about religious protections, what specifically? Basically, churches wouldn't be forced to marry gay people, obviously.
BALL: Well, that was obvious. And that was obvious from the get-go.
And the other thing is that people have to realize, there's a very clear definition between religious marriage and civil marriage. Many times, when you talk about this, people feel as though churches are going to be forced. But even within this piece of legislation, there's a very clear definition between religious marriage and civil marriage.
But there were problems with religious institutions being protected. Those carve-outs weren't far enough. They protected religious corporations under New York State law, but didn't protect individuals who conducted the sayer points. That's been protected now.
Then, with religious organizations -- Knights of Columbus is a good example, but there are many, hundreds if not more -- those were not protected if they had been incorporated under the not-for-profit law in the governor's initial legislation. Those have been protected as well.
The third category, the toughest needle to thread were for individuals and businesses with religious objections. And for a lot of host of reasons, we realized that that was going to be the toughest to provide those religious protections.
I wanted to see those. They are not necessarily addressed in this final piece of legislation. So I voted no.
COOPER: This has obviously been a tough vote for everybody. And everybody, it's a vote of -- that in the end I think probably comes down to what you feel in your heart.
For you, what was the process of this?
BALL: Anderson, I got to tell you, I am in a conference. We have some in our conference who are over 80 years of age. We have folks that fought in World War II, combat veterans. And I have never been more pleased with state government, not because of the night's -- tonight's turnout, but because of watching these individual members make this decision. It really -- you very rarely, if at all, heard about politics or political calculus. It was always about conscience.
And I'm very proud of knowing that, and a very tough decision. I opened it up. I wanted to hear from everybody. The final bill text really didn't come down until today. And a lot of the Tea Party ralliers said read the bill.
I would stand out in the corner. I (INAUDIBLE) corners. I had people from my base who I represent. They're very upset that I didn't just come out and say absolutely no.
But I thought it very important to read the entire bill, to fight for those religious protections. We're in New York State. This isn't Texas. And marriage equality was going to come to New York State sooner or later. And I thought it the responsible motive to make sure that we had clear and convincing and compelling religious protections.
We have them tonight. They don't go as far as I wanted. But we really have had a win that you haven't seen in other states.
COOPER: Senator Greg Ball, I know it's been a long process for you, a long day, and probably long night, will be. I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.
BALL: Absolutely. Thank you.
COOPER: Well, the vote continues. We will continue to bring you the latest. And, of course, when it actually -- as it passes, you will see it live and we will get immediate reaction.
Now, "Keeping Them Honest" with what the Syrian regime is trying to pass off as reality now that it is finally, finally letting some of our reporters in, there's that and the true reality, of course. The true reality is that thousands of people putting their lives on the line, continuing to put their lives on the line because they have seen too many friends murdered and they have been told too many lies for too many years.
People believe that the struggle against a murderous dictator has now gone too far to stop, no matter what. We're talking about Syria, where today opponents of Bashar Assad's brutality today paid yet again a heavy price, the worst of it in areas around Damascus, human rights groups reporting six killed in a pair of suburbs.
This is new video from Barza, in the Kaswa suburb, also, just outside Damascus, tear gas and automatic gunfire, in all, at least 10 killed across the country today, dozens more wounded. As many as 1,600 have been killed since the uprising began more than three months ago.
But, as we said, people taking to the streets now at any cost -- in some cities, they're now chanting, "The germs want to fall of the regime." Bashar Assad has compared the uprising to an infection and called it the work of 64,400 criminal thugs -- that's what he said -- at large in Syria.
The idea of that is absurd, despite the precise-sounding claim, as if 6,400, much less 64,000, murderous criminals could be wandering around in a police state as repressive as Syria. It's a police state that has fired on people not even fighting the regime, but simply trying to flee into Turkey.
Turkish officials say nearly 12,000 Syrians have crossed the border. Others are still on the Syrian side. Troops have burned their crops. They have destroyed the sole bakery supplying bread to one of the camps.
Today, the European Union expressed grave concerns about Syrian military activity near the border and called for -- quote -- "maximum restraint."
Remember, just a few days ago, Bashar Assad made a big speech calling for a national dialogue and urging refugees to return home, saying -- quote -- "There are those who tell them or suggest to them that state will take revenge against them. I assure them that this is not true. The army is there for their security and the security of their children."
Well, you might want to tell that to the family of this 13-year- old boy taken by security forces at a protest rally, kept for a month, tortured, mutilated, murdered, returned to his family as a brutal message of intimidation.
Signs are, though, the intimidation is no longer working, not everywhere. Now that the regime has finally let in outside reporters, they have been parading them past dog-and-pony shows, staged pro- government rallies, into marketplaces selling pointed hats with the dictator's picture and velvet paintings of him.
What they're not doing is letting the media anywhere near what is really happening.
In a moment, you will hear directly from a protester who has been risking his life day in and day out while his friends are arrested or killed.
But, first, let's go to Arwa Damon in Damascus, who has been trying hard to do her job there.
Arwa, last night, you told us you were trying to get the Syrian government to let you go to the areas where you could actually see the anti-government protests. I assume they did not grant that permission.
ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, Anderson. At the end of the day, they did not.
And we specifically asked to go to a certain neighborhood. Remember, in Syria, when you're trying to report even before all of this began, everything is permission-based. And so we listed neighborhoods where historically we have seen anti-government demonstrations happening in the past, where activists have been reporting casualties at the hands of Syrian security forces.
We were told that perhaps the permission would be coming through. That was the answer throughout the entire day that we got. While we were reporting on the ground from this one demonstration -- they did take us to a small pro-government demonstration -- we received news about demonstrations happening elsewhere in the capital, about the use of gunfire. We specifically asked to go and do our job, to report from the locations, so that we could witness things for ourselves.
And we were told, sorry, we don't have the permission for you to be able to go to these areas -- Anderson.
COOPER: So, clearly, the Syrian government is controlling or attempting to control the message that you're getting. Are you able to get a feel for whether people on the streets themselves believe what they're saying to you? Because, obviously, when cameras are rolling, you have a government minder there. People say very pro- government things.
And clearly there are people who support the government still in Syria, a lot of them.
DAMON: There are, Anderson.
The Syrian regime still does enjoy a fair amount of support. The demonstrations here are nowhere near the scale of what we were seeing in Egypt, for example. But when we're out speaking to people, we are constantly operating in the shadow of the government.
The minders are out with us at all times. And so far, we have really only been able to see a sliver of what is taking place here inside the old city -- where we were taken today, just outside of the Umayyad Mosque, a few dozen people coming out of the mosque erupting into pro-government chants, and then ranting about how everything happening inside Syria was this elaborate, international, well-plotted conspiracy, putting forward theories like the fact that the demonstrators were being sprayed with poisonous water that was making them more aggressive, that it was armed gangs amongst their ranks that were shooting demonstrators, then blaming the security forces for it.
And one woman was going so far as to say that those refugees, the thousands that we saw fleeing from northwestern Syria into Turkey, she was saying, look, those aren't refugees. I don't believe that they're refugees. Those are hostages, and they are also part of this elaborate plot to bring down the government -- Anderson.
COOPER: It's interesting. Arwa Damon, appreciate it. Stay safe
Two days after Bashar Assad spoke at Damascus University and promised national dialogue, thugs raided the dormitories, security forces and others, and dragged hundreds of people away.
One student who asked not to be identified is telling the story tonight. We spoke earlier.
COOPER: What can you tell us about what happened at Damascus University?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What happened was, in the morning, the security people came, and they broke into the girls dorms, the girls buildings, and took some girls.
And the girls were frightened, so they (INAUDIBLE) the guys, and those -- they just gathered themselves and went to the management building in front of it and they shouted, demanding the (INAUDIBLE) and then the armed militia, those are -- we call them the death squads, so these guys came. They were around 60 or 70 people.
They shut down the power and the electricity. And they broke into the building and just went on, destroying everything that's in their way, doors, laptops, windows. And they were holding sticks and these electric sticks. They -- they were hitting students as hard as they can. And then they are dragged away and taken to custody, taken to prison, where they will be further tortured and questioned.
COOPER: I understand some of the people who have been injured were sent to military hospitals, not to regular hospitals.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course, there aren't any regular hospitals who can take in any injured people, because they have security instructions telling them not to receive any cases or anyone who is wounded or injured. They are taking them to military hospitals under tight surveillance, where they get tortured as well.
COOPER: Are you scared?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course I am scared. What scares me even more, that 200 of my fellow students are still held there. They are under extreme torture. And, I mean, there aren't any human organization that observes what is happening. It really freaks me out.
COOPER: It takes great courage for you to speak out. Why are you speaking out? Why are you taking that risk?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because -- because my fellow students have taken most of the beating. Mine isn't -- isn't really anything compared to what they went through. It was, I think, the worst of nightmares that those armed militants, they -- they have nothing, no moral obligations. They fear no God. They fear no one.
COOPER: As you know, the regime is saying that the protesters are armed thugs, that they are armed gangs. What is it that you want? What is it that you hope for?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we were hoping for an evolution, for some liberties, for our freedom, for some democracy. I mean, the situation is a little bit desperate, but we are determined. And we will go on. We will carry on. We will never stop, not that we have reached this far, no.
COOPER: It's gone too far for you to stop?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. It's gone too far. Many -- many are -- many of the people we know got killed, so we can't stop anymore, no.
COOPER: Thank you for talking to us. Be careful.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure. Thank you.
COOPER: Well, our live coverage of the Senate vote in New York continues just ahead.
They took actually a short recess. They have one more speaker and then we believe the vote is going to occur. We will follow that every step of the way.
Also ahead tonight: a preview of an important documentary airing Sunday night here on CNN shining a spotlight on the horrors of the sex trafficking of girls in Nepal, reported by actress Demi Moore. She traveled to Nepal, spoke directly to victims. We will hear from her coming up shortly.
Plus: an emotional day in the Casey Anthony trial.
A lot going on tonight -- stick around.
WOLFSON: I think it's wonderful. I think this is a win-win- win. It's a win for families. It's a win for New York. It's a win for our country. And, you know, it's even a win for the people who today are uncomfortable or uncertain. They're wrestling this because they're going to see that it took nothing away from anyone else when the family across the street is a little better off.
And now we can turn together as Americans, as New Yorkers, to really working on the things that we really need to tackle together, the problems that are really facing all of us in these tough economic times.
But of course, we also now have many other states where this discrimination has to end. We have to end federal marriage discrimination against the legally married couples, and we have to work together to make our country better.
But today was a big day for our country and for America and for families.
COOPER: Richard Socarides, you heard State Senator Ball earlier on this program who had voted against this, but whose biggest -- you know, biggest concerns really were beyond personal concerns and a personal belief, worries about religious exemptions and groups affiliated with religious organizations. They clearly worked very hard to make sure to dot all those "I's" and cross all those "T's".
SOCARIDES: Yes. And I think that that was fair. And no one wants to force any religious organization or institution to perform any marriage they don't want to. This is only about civil marriage, only about getting a license at city hall.
But the importance of this moment really cannot be underestimated. I mean, it is really stunning that, in a very brief period of time, we have gone from a point in this country where being gay was criminalized. You could be criminalized. You could be subjected to experimentation. You could be mistreated by doctors, by the police.
In a very short period of time, we've gone to the moment where we are really at a tipping point where gay people will be treated as full partners, full citizens in this country. This -- I think we will look back at it and say, this was a moment when New York turned. California will get back shortly, and it's going to just lead to, you know, a lot of equality.
And it's going to be a big celebration in New York tonight, I think. There are a lot of gay people in New York on the streets already.
COOPER: It's interesting. It's gay pride weekend in New York. And it's interesting to see that crowd outside the Stone Wall. The Stone Wall, for those who don't know, is a bar in New York where many people believe or would say that the movement for gay equal rights really began.
WOLFSON: That's right. Decades ago. It's been a long work to get here.
But I want to add to what Richard said is that, though this is a momentous day and a huge step forward and a day to celebrate, we still have to work. We still have to do it. We still have to have the conversations with our fellow Americans about why marriage matters. We have to help allay the kinds of concerns that were addressed tonight that New York took a big step in transcending.
Change doesn't happen overnight, and it doesn't come easily. And every group in America has had to work to hold our country to...
COOPER: You're saying suddenly now a lot will change. But now on the other hand you're also saying, really, everybody will wake up tomorrow, and the sun will still shine. And, you know, not much really will be different, that people who are concerned about this won't notice much of a change. That it's not as if -- you're arguing their lives will not be affected.
WOLFSON: Look, the gays are not going to use up the marriage licenses. They're not going to take somebody else's marriage away. But for gay people, this is a vindication of full and equal citizenship, though we still have a lot of discrimination still to bring down.
And for families, this is about strength and love and commitment and respect for that under the law. There's enough of that to go around for everybody. So for a lot of people, it's not -- nothing's going to change. But for a lot of people it is going to change.
COOPER: I mean, just having the ability in the state that you live in to marry, does it make you feel different?
WOLFSON: Anderson, I don't usually put it in personal terms. But my partner and I this year put rings on our hand to declare that we're engaged. But it's on this hand, the right hand. When we're able to get married, which now we can in our home, in New York, those rings are going on the left hand, because we will be able to say we are not only in love, we're not only committed, we are married.
COOPER: And that's -- that's important. Using that word is important.
WOLFSON: The statement of who you are in relationship to the primary person you are committed to in life, building a life with, is so important that most people wear a symbol on their hand.
COOPER: What is -- how soon will this occur? I mean, how soon will marriages begin to occur for gays and lesbians?
WOLFSON: The governor still has to sign the bill. And then 30 days after the governor signs it, marriages will begin.
SOCARIDES: Thirty days. But this is why, you know, this is the whole separate but equal debate in a different context. I mean, you know, when we had racial integration in this country, the idea was that you could have separate -- separate categories for different racial minorities, and they would be equal or the same, but they would just be slightly different. But this is the whole separate but equal debate again in a different context. This is what this country is about.
These constitutional rights are key to everybody, and they actually shouldn't depend upon what state you live in. That's why, even though this has been a state-by-state thing and why we're hoping to get California next by court decision by the end of the year, it shouldn't matter what state you live in, whether or not you can be married. These are constitutional rights that everybody ought to have.
But there will be a big celebration. There'll be a big celebration this weekend. There's a parade Sunday, the annual gay pride parade down Fifth Avenue, going to be led by Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York. The gay rights movement tonight has a new hero in Andrew Cuomo.
COOPER: Mary Snow is joining us. She is on the phone from Albany.
Mary, the vote is done. They've adjourned, yes? MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They have. And Anderson, as you probably heard, the Senate floor and the chambers just erupted in cheers when the vote came through.
There were indications even before that vote was taken that there were enough votes. You heard one of the Republican senators had gotten up there and saying that he believed -- that he had done his research and that he had changed his mind. All throughout the day this has been such an emotional day here in Albany. That amendment was really pivotal, the turning point. And as soon as there was an agreement on the language in that amendment, supporters felt very confident that they could pass this bill.
There have been not only people up in the gallery watching this vote, but supporters and opponents have been gathering, as you know, for days. Supporters gathering here tonight, wanting to be in the capitol to witness this vote.
COOPER: May Snow, I appreciate your reporting. It's been a difficult story to figure out and to cover. You're doing a great job over the last several days. Mary Snow in Albany.
Evan Wolfson, thanks very much for being with us. And Richard...
SOCARIDES: And this man -- can I just tell you, this man has devoted his life to this. It is a very important night that we thank you for your leadership on this. Twenty years -- 20 years ago you said to me, "This is the direction we have to go."
Not everybody in the movement agreed with Evan. He has really led up in this. And it is an amazing moment for you.
WOLFSON: Thank you, Richard.
COOPER: Extraordinary weekend, I'm sure.
WOLFSON: Thank you. Lots to celebrate.
COOPER: Thank you for being with us. Appreciate you being here for this moment
Coming up, the latest on the Casey Anthony trial, other stories. We'll be right back.
COOPER: In "Crime & Punishment" tonight, an emotional day in the Casey Anthony trial. Casey's mom, Cindy Anthony was back on the stand today for the defense. We've seen her break down before, and she did it again today. The defense grilled her about the pool in the family's back yard, clearly trying to bolster their theory that 2- year-old Caylee Anthony accidentally drowned.
The biggest surprise, though, came from Lee Anthony, Casey's brother, when he was asked about his reaction to his sister's pregnancy. Remember, Cindy and Lee Anthony are also key witnesses for the prosecution, but you wouldn't know that from their testimony today.
Here's Gary Tuchman.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Casey Anthony crying at the defense table. Her mother Cindy crying on the stand.
LEE ANTHONY, BROTHER OF CASEY: I was very hurt. I didn't want to believe it, you know?
TUCHMAN: Her brother Lee crying while he testified. Her father George, solemnly watching all of them from the back of the courtroom.
The evidence in this case has seemingly revealed the Anthonys to be a dysfunctional family. And that is just what the defense wants the jury to think.
Casey Anthony's attorneys say little Caylee was not murdered; she drowned, and Casey and her father covered it up. They also claim Casey was sexually abused by her father George, so she's used to keeping family secrets.
Cindy Anthony sits with George in court virtually every day, yet she helped bolster the defense scenario on the stand today.
JOSE BAEZ, CASEY'S ATTORNEY: Do you know what that photograph is of, Mrs. Anthony.
CINDY ANTHONY, CASEY'S MOTHER: Yes.
BAEZ: Would you like to take a break? Do you need a break?
CINDY ANTHONY: No. I'm OK.
BAEZ: Can you tell the ladies and gentlemen of the jury what that is?
CINDY ANTHONY: It's a picture of Caylee walking up the ladder, and I'm behind her holding her.
TUCHMAN: As the jury saw pictures of Cindy and Caylee at the pool where the defense says she drowned months later, and Casey continued to cry, Cindy Anthony talked about the day Caylee disappeared, supporting the defense's position that Caylee climbed into the pool herself.
BAEZ: On June 16, 2008, did you come home and notice that the pool ladder was up, as depicted in the photographs?
CINDY ANTHONY: You mean on the...
BAEZ: The ladder.
CINDY ANTHONY: Yes. It was attached to the pool.
BAEZ: And was that a highly unusual event for you to see that?
CINDY ANTHONY: Yes. So much that I called George at work to see if he had left the pool ladder up, because I also noticed that the side gate was open at the same time.
BAEZ: And then there's brother Lee, also implicated by the defense in opening statements of trying to molest his sister. But he showed no hard feelings towards his accuser, defense attorney Jose Baez. Instead, he seemed to support the defense's claim the family was dysfunctional by saying he felt left out of Casey's pregnancy and the birth of Caylee.
L. ANTHONY: I was -- I was very angry at my mom. And I was also angry at my sister. I mean, I was just angry at everyone in general that they -- that they didn't want to include me.
TUCHMAN: Casey cried as hard as she has the whole trial while listening to her brother.
(on camera) Prosecutors are in a tough spot. They believe Casey planned the murder of her daughter and also know two grandparents and uncle have lost a loved one. But it's clear the way prosecutors talked to them on the stand that they now think Cindy and Lee are covering for Casey.
(voice-over) Prosecutors asked Lee why he was crying now and not when he was asked similar questions two years ago in a deposition.
L. ANTHONY: I don't want to be here. I don't want my sister to be here and my parents to be here.
TUCHMAN: Prosecutors were also firm with Cindy as they tried to stop any drowning theory momentum.
LINDA DRANE BURDICK, PROSECUTION: You showed us photographs of Caylee getting in and out of the pool. Did your daughter tell you that there was an accident involving the pool?
BAEZ: Objection, judge. Outside the scope.
BELVIN PERRY, JUDGE: Overruled.
CINDY ANTHONY: No, ma'am.
BURDICK: In fact, she continued to assert to you after July 15th of 2008 that the child was kidnapped by a babysitter. Correct?
CINDY ANTHONY: That's correct.
TUCHMAN: Casey wasn't crying after that statement. She was back to her poker face.
COOPER: So Gary, I understand you ran into Casey's brother, Lee Anthony, outside the court today. What did he say to you? TUCHMAN: Yes. I went to a sub shop for lunch, and I saw him in the sub shop eating by himself. He wasn't with his parents, which I thought was interesting on such an emotional day. And I asked him -- he had just cried on the stand. It was 15 minutes earlier. I asked him how he was doing, and he said, "I'm doing the best I can."
And I said to him, "In opening statements, defense attorneys said you tried to sexually abuse your sister. How do you feel about that?"
And he told me, "I can't talk about that." I thought it was a very interesting comment, that it was obvious he didn't want to hurt his sister's case. That's what he told me.
COOPER: Do we know how much longer this trial goes on for?
TUCHMAN: We think we do now. The judge asked the defense attorneys, "Tell me how much longer this will take for you to present your case." They said they'll be done by this Wednesday or Thursday. The prosecution then said it has a rebuttal case for a day or two. Then closing arguments will take a day. So this could go to the jury as early as this Friday, a week from tonight.
COOPER: Interesting. Gary, thanks.
COOPER: Some big surprises today in the courtroom. Joining me now Sunny Hostin and Jean Casarez, who are covering the trial for "In Session" on TruTV.
Jean, what was the impact of today's emotional testimony?
JEAN CASAREZ, CORRESPONDENT, TRUTV'S "IN SESSION": It was so, so emotional in that courtroom on so many different levels. You had the whole family in the courtroom. You had crying on the stand with Lee and Casey and Cindy back in the gallery. But evidentiary wise, what is the importance?
Well, the defense wanted to show that it was a dysfunctional family, that after Casey became pregnant that Lee wasn't even told about it. When he asked, they said don't ask. He wouldn't go in the bedroom that was being prepared for Caylee. So it was a family with issues.
But we also remember the jailhouse tapes after Caylee went missing, and everybody in the family seemed to really bond with each other. So what did it show? Maybe dysfunction. We don't know. But as far as what it will show ultimately in this case, maybe reasonable doubt, but maybe the jury will say nothing.
COOPER: Sunny, was the -- what do you think the message the defense was trying to send to the jury through Lee Anthony's testimony today? Because they kept asking was there some other reason, or they asked him was there some other reason you were upset about the pregnancy other than the reason you said? I don't know if they were trying to get at some sort of sexual abuse. Were they? SUNNY HOSTIN, CONTRIBUTOR, TRUTV'S "IN SESSION": I thought so. I mean, we remember in opening statements, Anderson, that defense made it very clear that the reason Casey acted the way she did for 31 days is because she was the victim of sexual abuse, not only by her father, George Anthony, but also by Lee Anthony. So I think they sort of put it out there for the jury to infer that perhaps that's why he was troubled by her pregnancy.
But I agree with Jean. I think what was so interesting about his testimony, Anderson, was that it showed that this is a secretive, dysfunctional family that acts as if when things don't go right.
Lee Anthony testified on the witness stand that he was still in denial over the fact that little Caylee Anthony was no longer with them, that he just came to terms with it recently, that they act as if; they ignore the obvious. Just the way they ignored Casey Anthony's pregnancy until she was seven months pregnant. So I think that was made loud and clear to this jury.
COOPER: So Jean, if -- if we're right that they were hinting, you know, perhaps there was some reason, you know, sexual abuse for Lee being upset about her pregnancy. You know, in the opening statements they said that Lee Anthony tried to follow in his father's footsteps when it came to sexually abusing Casey, and that he had said to the FBI in a sworn statement, when asked about sexual abuse, that this is not the time for that.
Why didn't the defense ask him about that today, if that's part of their -- their explanation for Casey's behavior?
CASAREZ: That's the million-dollar question. Right there you hit it on the head, Anderson. Because they didn't. They had him on the stand, and they didn't.
Now, what the jury does know is that law enforcement, after Caylee went missing got the DNA of Lee, compared it to Caylee to see if Lee was the father. So the jury knows that. So maybe it was intimated through what the defense did today, but they sure didn't bring it out when they could have with Lee on the stand.
COOPER: Sunny, do you think at this point they said -- the defense says they're going to rest next Thursday.
COOPER: So they've only got five more days, basically, or yes, five more days in court. Then the prosecution will have a day or two for rebuttal witnesses. At this point does it look to you like they're going to put Casey Anthony on the stand?
HOSTIN: I still think they have to put Casey Anthony on the witness stand, because they made it very clear, again in opening statements, that Caylee died an accidental death by drowning. And she was not murdered by her mother.
They started putting that theory in front of the jury today with Cindy Anthony's testimony. They talked a lot with Cindy Anthony about the pool, about the fact that Caylee could go up the pool ladder stairs by herself, about the fact that on June 16, the day that allegedly she drowned, Cindy Anthony did see that ladder down, which was unusual. So they started their defense theory.
They've been acting sort of, I think, reactively to the forensic evidence here, trying to poke holes in the prosecution's case. But today is the first day that I saw the defense theory being fleshed out in front of this jury. So will they call Casey Anthony sometime next week? I think they have to.
COOPER: So Jean, do you think they're going to put her on the stand?
CASAREZ: I don't know any other way to get evidence of an accident without putting her on the stand. But in my gut, I don't think she'll take the stand.
COOPER: Right. Folks watching at home let me know what you think. I'm @AndersonCooper on Twitter. We'll talk about it online on Twitter.
Jean Casarez, thanks very much.
Sunny Hostin, as well, thanks.
HOSTIN: Thank you.
CASAREZ: You're welcome.
COOPER: Coming up, the latest on the historic same-sex marriage vote in New York. Lawmakers in Albany passing the Marriage Equality Act just a short time ago.
Plus, actress and activist Demi Moore teaming up with CNN heroes to try to stop sex trafficking in Nepal.
COOPER: We'll have a full update on the -- the historic vote here in New York allowing same-sex marriage in the state of New York. We'll have that in about five minutes at the top of the hour.
But there's a special program airing Sunday night here on CNN that you don't want to miss. It's called "Nepal's Stolen Children," a CNN Freedom Project documentary. And every year thousands of Nepalese girls are duped by promises of jobs to leave their families, and when they do they're forced into prostitution. Not only are they forced to have sex with men; they're often subject to beatings and other forms of torture.
The documentary is reported by actress Demi Moore, who's an activist against sex trafficking. She traveled to Nepal, met up with the 2010 CNN Hero of the Year, who runs an organization that's rescued more than 12,000 girls and women from sex trafficking over the past two decades.
Here's a sample of what Demi Moore brings to light in the documentary.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEMI MOORE, ACTIVIST (voice-over): It was hard to imagine that every single woman in this room had suffered at the hands of sex traffickers, pimps or brothel owners.
I noticed one young woman in the crowd who couldn't seem to muster the enthusiasm to join in. Her sad look stuck with me. Her name is Patali. Like so many young women, she had been trafficked across the border into India to work in a brothel. She was rescued six months ago, but in the chaos of the rescue operation, police were unable to recover her 2-year-old daughter.
Children are routinely separated from their mothers to prevent disruption from their work but also as leverage to discourage them from escaping.
This is a big day, though, because news has come that another raid on the brothel has led to the rescue of her daughter. She is expected at mighty (ph) Nepal any minute. Patali is both relieved but sick with concern for her safety.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's OK.
MOORE: Tragically, after such a long time apart, the terrified little girl does not recognize her mother and pushes her away, reaching out to her rescuer instead. As the mother of three girls myself, it was painful to watch, and everyone in the room felt helpless.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
COOPER: The world premiere of "Nepal's Stolen Children," a CNN Freedom Project documentary, airs Sunday night, 8 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.
At the top of the hour, New York Senate's historic vote tonight. Lawmakers passing a same-sex marriage bill proposed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, putting the state on track to be the sixth state to allow gay marriage. We'll be right back.