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Anderson Cooper Grills Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi on Her Stance on LGBT Equality

Anderson Cooper grilled Florida attorney general Pam Bondi on live TV Tuesday, June 14. The journalist confronted Bondi over her contradictory stance on LGBT equality and gay marriage following the tragic Orlando nightclub shooting on June 12.

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“I talked to a lot of gay and lesbian people here yesterday who are not fans of yours and who said that they thought you were being a hypocrite, that you for years have fought — you basically [have] gone after gay people, said that, in court, that gay people, simply by fighting for marriage equality, were trying to do harm to the people of Florida. To ‘induce public harm,’ I believe was the term you used in court. Do you really think you’re a champion of the gay community?”

Bondi, visibly flustered, stated that as attorney general she was “sworn to uphold the constitution of the state of Florida” and that she was merely defending what “was voted into our state constitution,” but that she “never said I don’t like gay people.”

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Anderson Cooper and Pam Bondi
Anderson Cooper and Pam Bondi

“The hotline that you’ve been talking about on television, which allows family members and spouses of the dead to get information, which is incredibly important — and I appreciate you talking about it on the air — had there been no gay marriage, had there been no same-sex marriage, you do realize that spouses, there would be no spouses, that boyfriends and girlfriends of the dead would not be able to get information and would not be able probably even to visit in the hospital here. Isn’t there a sick irony in that?” Cooper asked.

Bondi skirted around the question, stating again that they’re taking it a “step further” and trying to assist even those who aren’t officially married.

Cooper continued to press Bondi about the language she’s used in the past and then pointed out that she’s never stood up for the gay community before.

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“I will say I have never really seen you talk about gays and lesbians and transgender people in a positive way until now,” Cooper told her. “I read your Twitter history for the last year, and I saw you tweeting about, you know, national dog month and national shelter dog appreciation day or adopt a shelter dog month. It is gay pride month. You’ve never even tweeted about gay pride month.”

“Well, actually, if you look at my website now, we have hands clasped together, all different-colored rainbow hands and people,” Bondi retorted.

“So you just put that up now?” Cooper asked, before Bondi continued that she’s simply “championing … human beings whose lives were lost to terror.”

When Cooper still wouldn’t let her off the hook, she countered, “My goodness, Anderson, we’ve had 49 people murdered. Simply because they were in a bar at the wrong time. … That’s horrible. I’m a career prosecutor. These family members are devastated. These surviving victims are devastated. That’s what this is about.”

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Watch the awkward interview above.

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