Rosie O’Donnell dishes on her new variety show, “The View” and civil rights

Another topic that is obviously important to her is civil
rights. She offered her impression on the recent passing of Proposition 8 in California and her
surprise at what some people were saying about her during the process.
“Proposition 8 is new for a lot of people. 
I was married four years ago and annulled three years ago. This is not
anything new for me.  I’m also not a
resident of the state of California.
I realized when Kelli and I were married it was in some part an act of civil
disobedience as much as it was a love story. It’s not something new and I don’t
think there’s anyone in the country that doesn’t know that I’m for gay marriage
as I am probably the first gay famous person to get married in the nation.”

“So I kind of found it surprising that people were saying you’re
not vocal enough. 
I’m not vocal
enough?  I got married before anyone else
did…I’m living it and have been living it for a very long time. Of course I’m
in favor of gay marriage and gay civil rights and civil rights for all
Americans completely.

Rosie and wife Kelli Carpenter marry in San Francisco February 26, 2004

Photo credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

“As for the election…Barack Obama…I almost was too afraid to
believe. I couldn’t even watch…the returns on election night. I was so
overwhelmed and afraid that my dream of the nation would fall short of the

Rosie also had strong opinions about the state of Florida and how their
stance on gay rights is effecting a group she cares deeply about –

“The most disheartening thing about Florida for me has always been that gay
foster parents are not allowed to adopt the children that they raise. And
Florida rates in the bottom 10% of all states in terms of child welfare and the
fact that there are willing, able, capable, loving adults that want to take
these children that have no homes into their homes [and] give them a stable and
loving life and aren’t allowed to legally is really a sin against humanity,
against the world, against anyone’s belief in God. And that’s, to me, the most overwhelmingly
sad part about Florida
and what their rights and laws have been.”

With the seemingly never-ending controversy over the word marriage,
Rosie said, “I understand that the word is a hot-button issue for people.  I believe that all the same rights with a
different word could possibly be a solution that would appease everyone at
least in the interim. If we didn’t have to call the word marriage…if it
was unioned or familied…I’ve talked to many gay rights activists
who have explained to me very passionately that that still is not equal. I do
understand but what I’m more concerned about are the rights for the children in
those families. The rights for the spouses to go into the emergency room and
get care and equal treatment and equal taxation.”

“I’m not as hung up on the word
as some people are and I know that that is not the status quo in the gay
community. I understand why that word makes the hair rise on the back of some
people’s necks. Although the fact that more then 50% of heterosexual marriages
end in divorce I don’t know how reverential we should be about the term to
begin with.”    

Getting back to Rosie
, Rosie said that with the over saturation of celebrity shows, she
wants to get back to the variety show format she grew up with. 

“This is not going to be where we book someone who has an
album to promote. We’re booking people who are friends, who want to come play
and have fun and it’s not a promotional vehicle. I find the shows that do have
celebrities now, you see the same interview rehashed over and over. You find
the same single on Letterman as you
do on Ellen or on The View and somebody makes a tour and
has the same four stories and sings the same song.”

“That’s not what we’re doing here. We’re sort of having
friends who want to come and play and without anything to promote and just hang
out and have fun. You don’t’ get to see celebrities, I think, in that way where
they’re performing, which is what they do best, entertaining in front of live
crowd, risking it because it is live and there’s no editing and reshooting and
packaging it to be an image…it is what it is.”

Rosie Live airs
this Wednesday at 8/7c on NBC. Watch a promo here:

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