tv NBC Nightly News NBC June 26, 2015 7:00pm-7:31pm EDT
tonight, breaking news on several stories as we come on the air. a dramatic ♪ from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news with lester holt." >> and our coverage continues now with several developing stories including history made at the supreme court. a 5-4 ruling that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right now legal in every state from coast to coast. the reaction was swift from the court to the campaign trail, and there's no one better to provide insight for us than our political director, the moderator of "meet the press," chuck todd. and pete williams as well from the supreme court. and chuck, let me start with you. this caps a week of wins for the president after his health care victory, a big victory on trade in congress. how will this week be
remembered when we assess his legacy? >> look, i think it's going to be potentially a transformational week. when the president was running for president, he said he wanted to be like ronald reagan more than he wanted to be like bill clinton. and he made that point by saying ronald reagan was a transformational president because he shifted the entire country's agenda from, say, the center to center-right. well, i think when you look at everything that happened in social change this week, from just the trade deal to same-sex marriage to the response to the charleston shooting you're seeing that potential transformational shift of the country that candidate obama said he wanted to lead and you're seeing that. and i think it's encapsulated in everything that has happened in this ten-day period. >> and now as you look at the presidential campaign especially in the republican field, does it essentially take the issue out of play? >> it does not take the issue out of play in the presidential primary season. in fact if you looked at all of the
responses from the republican presidential candidates today when it came to the same-sex marriage decision, it was as if you got an mri into how they viewed their best shot at becoming president or becoming the nominee. you had four candidates who absolutely wanted to appeal to evangelical voters who are angry> about the decision today. ted cruz called it the worst 24 hours in american history, referring to this decision and health care. judicial tyranny was a phrase that mike huckabee used. they're going to make a huge issue of this in the primary season. but you had other presidential candidates who think they might have a shot at beating hillary clinton and getting into the oval office who tried to thread a needle and they said things like they disagreed with how the court came to this conclusion but they now say like a jeb bush, essentially saying you know, what this is the law, he respects it, it's time to move on. that was what was fascinating to see. by no means is this issue politically going away, at least inside the republican party, at least this year.
>> and pete, let me bring you into this conversation. in our first half hour showing how american views on this subject have changed dramatically over the last 20 years or so. does this ruling essentially mirror that? >> very much it does. but you have to remember that to some extent while public opinion has moved very quickly, to some extent the supreme court's foot has been on that accelerator because it was two years ago when the supreme court struck down the federal defense of marriage act that blocked the federal government from recognize the validity of marriages -- same-sex marriages in states where they were already legal. and that produced a huge change in the lower courts one decision after another, as more marriages began to take effect as those state bans were struck down. so there's sort of a mutual ratcheting up here of public opinion and legal developments. >> and i'm wondering what it's like to be outside as that decision began to filter through the crowd. we saw some of the celebrations there. >> absolutely. something i really
haven't seen here in a long time. up in the courtroom when anthony kennedy was announcing the decision some of the lawyers involved in the case, the couples who were involved in these legal challenges began to cry. now, frankly this ruling, the outcome was not unexpected because of some of the supreme court's previous actions, but still, hearing it out loud was very emotional. big cheer here. and then what usually happens down here when we get a big case is all the people that are here do their thing for a while and then people start to trickle away. the crowd kept growing for much of today.
>> it comes from a supreme court that said just 30 years ago gay people could be punished as criminals. a huge cheer then singing as the decision reaches the crowd out front. the historic ruling struck down the bans on same-sex marriage still in effect in 14 states, all of them in the south and the midwest. s it was already legal everywhere else. anthony kennedy wrote the 5-4 ruling joined by the court's liberals. the right of the same-sex couples to marry is part of the liberty promised by the constitution, kennedy said, which grants them equal dignity in the eyes of the law. after the decision was announced the crowd seemed to grow people wanting to celebrate and be closer to the supreme court. couples who fought the bans in kentucky were ecstatic. >> it's been a long path for us in our 33
years. we know people have been fighting this fight for decades. >> reporter: pam yorksmith and her partner battled ohio's ban. >> for us this started out as a dream to add my name to our son's birth certificate. >> reporter: james obergafel wanted to be declared the survivor on his spouse's death spikt certificate. >> i know japan is with me here today. >> reporter: chief justice john roberts said the couples made strong arguments rooted in social policy and fairness but such a decision he said should rest with the people not judges. justice antonin scalia called the court's reasoning a threat to american democracy. if he had written the ruling, he said, "i would hide my head in a bag." >> and we hope that this decision today will not be used as an excuse to ostracize, to demonize or to punish people for holding views contrary to what five of the nine justices said today. >> reporter: massachusetts in 2003 was the first state to
permit marriage for gay couples. others followed slowly. then a rush of court rulings in the past two years brought it to 70% of the nation's population. >> people don't have to hold their breath as they crossed state lines and worry they're going to lose their marriage and lose their protections as they do. >> reporter: today's ruling settles the issue of same-sex marriage nationwide. it could be undone but only by a constitutional amendment or by a future supreme court that changes its mind, and neither of those seems at all likely. lester? >> pete williams, thanks. across the country right now wedding bells are ringing in texas and alabama and georgia, places where some people thought this day might never come. celebrations are under way tonight, and nbc's hallie jackson has all the latest. >> awesome. congratulations, america. >> reporter: from the stonewall in in new york to san francisco's city hall, celebrations decades in the making. but perhaps none as meaningful as these. same-sex marriage ceremonies in states where it was illegal before today. like in arkansas.
>> spouses for life. >> reporter: in texas where jack evans and george harris finally wed after 50 years together. >> we didn't want to rush into anything. but we're ready. >> reporter: the paperwork was not quite with the word woman still printed on the marriage license. >> the time to come in texas has finally caught up with history. love rules. >> reporter: social media lit up with profile pictures turning to rainbows and 33,000 tweets per minute at its peak. ellen degeneres writing simply "love won," and tim cook apple's openly gay ceo calling it a victory for equality, perseverance, and love. >> you wouldn't think that something so basic could take so long. >> reporter: two decades ago only 27% of americans supported same-sex marriage. now 60% do. but that shift is far less pronounced among republicans. about 6 in 10 oppose the court's decision
according to our latest nbc news/"wall street journal" poll. with many christians, especially in conservative parts of the nation, deeply unsettled. >> it's not the will of the people to have same-sex marriage. now there's no point in having civil marriage in this country whatsoever. >> reporter: in alabama at least two counties are refusing to issue any marriage licenses gay or straight. >> this is a sad day for children, a sad day for our constitution, a sad day for america. >> reporter: for opponents of same-sex marriage a blow from the supreme court. for supporters a victory for equality and love. and in west hollywood, which was one of the first cities in the country to publicly support marriage equality, thousands of people are expected at a rally tonight, lester, and for many of them it's the perfect way to cap gay pride month. >> all right. thanks very much. another major story still developing tonight, three terror attacks today on three different continents playing out almost
simultaneously in france, kuwait, and tunisia where a massacre occurred at a beach resort popular with european tourists. and here at home nbc news has learned tonight u.s. intelligence is bracing for a july 4th threat. we want to bring in michael leiter former director of the national counterterrorism center, now executive vice president of the private security firm lidos. michael, isis has been calling for "a month of disaster." is that what we saw play out here in answer to that call? >> i think it largely was, lester. and what this really showed is the diverse threat that officials face. you have the one in kuwait which is really driven by the sunni sunni-shia divide. you have in tunisia a less secure situation because of the arab awakening. and then you have what strikes the greatest fear in u.s. officials' hearts and that's the attack by the likely homegrown terrorists in france. >> and we hear perhaps a threat for july 4th that officials are going to be on the lookout for here. the nature of these kinds of attacks seem
low-tech. is there a way to prevent them? >> it's extremely difficult. the fbi has active investigations in all 50 states. these can come up from almost anywhere. so they are watching people they know about, but it's the onesobviously a good target even if there isn't anything specific that they're watching today. >> michael leiter thanks very much. and with more on today's attacks and the fears here at home let's go to nbc's kelly cobiella. >> reporter: the attack turns this mediterranean beach resort into a scene of bloody horror. bodies motionless in the sand. people rushing to help survivors. many of the wounded in shock. eyewitnesses described utter panic. >> we were on the beach sunbathing right by the pool. all of a sudden we hear shooting. i stand up. and a guy drops an umbrella and out comes a gun. and he starts shooting at everybody to the
right of us. i got up and shouted "gun. gun." and then he started shooting everybody around him. >> as i turned the bullet just hit me in my arm. >> reporter: one gunman was killed by police. at least two other suspects were taken into custody. the target, tunisia's imperial mahaba hotel popular with tourists including many from germany, belgium, and great britain. >> our hearts go out to the victims of these appalling terrorist acts. >> reporter: just three months ago an attack on tunisia's national museum left 20 dead most of them tourists. today's toll at least 37. in kuwait another attack. a suicide bomber struck a packed shiite mosque in the heart of kuwait city. he blew himself up during friday prayers. at least 27 worshippers dead more than 200 injured. >> security in kuwait is extremely tight. for this attack to
take place at a shia mosque in itself is extremely rare. in france a third attack. an american-owned gas factory outside lyon. a man crashed his vehicle into gas canisters, triggering an explosion that injured two people. the severed head of the man's employer was found at the factory gate. flags bearing arabic inscriptions. the suspect, his wife and two others were arrested. just this week an isis spokesman called on muslims everywhere to rise up and make ramadan a month of calamity. but were today's attacks coordinated? >> we certainly noticed there was a common theme between all of them. and more importantly, this is what isis wants. isis has been calling on individuals, whether they're in europe or the middle east to carry out attacks of this scale. >> reporter: one day, three attacks. and fears of more to come. kelly cobilla, nbc news tunis. we've got a lot more ahead on a very busy news night including a spirited tribute to the victims of the charleston church massacre. the once-in-a-lifetime sight and sound of a president breaking
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nart pinckney. a diverse crowd told us they were hoping for a message of unity from the president who delivered with spirit and song. our ron allen continues to lead our coverage from charleston. >> the reverend senator pinckney left his beloved mother emanuel church for the first time this morning. thousanders gathered because so many mourners wanted to say good-bye. president obama who met during the 2008 campaign led a delegation of national and state leaders. >> we are here today to remember a man of god who lived by faith. a man who believed there were better days ahead. off in the distance. >> he praised pinckney a preacher at age 13 as an activist minister and political fighter as well elected to the statehouse at just 23 and then the senate. and mr. obama praised pinckney's
grace and saw the same goodness in the eight who died with him. >> blinded by hatred the alleged killer could not see the grace surrounding reverend pinckney and that bible study group. >> mourners grieve throughout the city. families with children to witness history. >> they did not fore sake their teaching. >> watching the service at theaters museums, the street in front of mother emanuel. the president's eulogy a call to confront tough issues, gun control, race relations, taking down the confederate flag. impassioned president mindful of the history of the church its pastor and the moment leading the congregation more than 5,000 strong in singing an old hymn. ♪ amazing grace ♪ ♪ how sweet the sound ♪
♪ blind but now i see ♪ >> may god continue to shed his grace on the united states of america. >> a very very powerful moment and many leaving that add toruditorium came here where the services continue this evening. friends and family gathering to show their respects to cynthia hurd. the funerals continue this weekend and on into next week. lester? >> ron, you've been there this long and painful week. the president was there to give a eulogy but clearly he was talking beyond that church. did it seem to bring together and send a message that community was looking for? >> reporter: i think it did, lester. politics aside, this week has
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tonight marks the tonight marks the end of o a mementos week in this country filled with effects that altered the fabric of our american culture. while we often see seismic shifts through different lenses we've all become witnesses to history in the making over just a few days' time. here's harry smith. >> reporter: sometimes the currents of history surprise us from the tragedy in charleston arose a movement that had long been stalled in an eddie of complacency. >> make this day the day that the flag comes down. >> reporter: suddenly from state to state the words rang out loud and clear. "take down the flag." and this morning, the supreme court made clear that the rights of gay americans are equal to that of everyone else. >> today's rule from the supreme court affirms what millions across this country already know
to be true in our hearts. our love is equal. >> reporter: a civil rights ruling that not so long ago seemed farfetched. in an instant, the future was here. now. and yesterday, the court ruled the government doeses indeed have the right to subsidize health care for the poor. >> health care is not a privilege for a few but a right for all. >> reporter: will the affordable care act become this generation's social security? >> wins. >> reporter: what some embrace as progress others argue as egress. our american family will always have its differences. navigating change though is what makes us who we are. harry smith, nbc news charleston. >> a week that will be remembered for a long time to come. for some of you, that is going to do it for us on this friday night. for other stations our coverage continues with a second half hour of news in just a moment. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news thank you for watching and good night.
♪ from nbc news from nbc news world headquarters in new york this is nbc nightly news with lester holt. >> and our coverage continues now with several developing stories including history made at the supreme court. a 5-4 ruling that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right. now legal in every state from coast to coast. the reaction was swift from the court to the campaign trail and no one better to provide insight for us than our moderator, chuck todd. this caps a week after wins for the president after his health care victory, victory on trade in congress. how will this week
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