Martin Sheen on LGBT Issues, Gay Marriage and the 2008 Election

by Todd A. Heywood

Capitol Correspondent


In an exclusive sit down interview with Martin Sheen, Between The Lines got the skinny on the 67-year-old actor/activist's take on LGBT issues and who he is supporting in the 2008 presidential primaries.

Sheen was in town to address the ACLU Michigan's annual dinner last weekend. With over 100 movie and television experiences under his belt, Sheen is perhaps best known for his three-time Emmy Award-winning performance as President Josiah "Jed" Bartlet in NBC's "The West Wing."

In a brief conversation with Sheen before he addressed the sold out dinner Saturday Night, Sheen shared with BTL his take on LGBT rights.

"They're entitled to every human and civil right that any other American gets," Sheen said matter-of-factly. Sheen has long been a crusader for human rights-- ranging from an appearance at an LGBT event in Dallas last week, to protesting the School of the Americas in Georgia which has been accused of training third world dictators; to marching with Caesar Chavez and fighting for farm worker rights. He said his commitment to human rights is informed by his faith. He is a devout Catholic.

When told that Michigan had a Constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, Sheen was outraged. "Outrageous!" he growled. "They ought to prevent half the morons who are getting married now from getting married so they don't end up getting divorced."

After a breath, Sheen continued, "Marriage is about sharing your life with a person and risking that they will tell you the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth all the time. When people get married the promise they should make is Do you promise to make this one you love become themselves?"

"It's about being free," he said.

As for the 2008 Presidential Primary, Sheen was eager to share his support for Gov. Bill Richardson (D-New Mexico).

"Gov. Bill Richardson. I have been supporting him, doing a fundraiser for him in Los Angeles, just some very low key stuff," Sheen said. The two met while Sheen was assisting John Kerry's 2004 Presidential bid. He said he is impressed with Richardson.

"New Mexico is one of the poorest, if not the poorest, states in the nation and he has just had tremendous success there," Sheen said. "And I admire his work for Clinton."

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