Monday, February 16, 2004

O'Reilly on Gay Marriage

Predictably, he doesn't approve. Bill O'Reilly and his guest, conservative gay radio show host Al Rantel spent several minutes lambasting San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's decision to allow gay marriages in the city, describing his action purely in terms of criminal activity and at no point even considering arguments for it as an act of civil disobedience. Rantel ended his appearance by saying that gay marriage has ruined Denmark. Oh, really? Would you like to describe how, Mr. Rantel? A few statistics maybe on how gay marriage has ruined? O'Reilly, of course, didn't challenge Rantel's remark, but only nodded along with him.

Both O'Reilly and Rantel registered the usual fear: redefining marriage as between any two people, straight or gay, could only lead to a slippery slope. Then O'Reilly pointed out that couldn't we define marriage as between any "two people"? Rantel then reminded him that, no, if we did that then all the bigamists would clamor for us to redefine marriage according to their desires and we'd have five women wanting to marry, etcetera.

This frightens Bill O'Reilly. Rubbish, if we as a society decide bigamy is wrong, we just won't allow bigamists to marry. We've proven that we're quite capable of keeping people from marrying for hundreds of years. We're finally getting around to maybe letting gays marry. It's highly unlikely we'd allow bigamists to marry unless we as a society decided, that, hey, perhaps there's no real harm going on in some of these multiple marriage partners.

And you know what? So what if we did? Whose business is it if three people want to marry? If two couples want to marry? As long as no one's taking advantage of one another. Of course, there are some nasty things going on with some multiple-partner marriages. These scenarios usually involve older men with multiple female partners, some of whom are still children, and, certainly, these men are guilty of emotional and even sexual abuse. But who's to say that multiple partner relations have to be limited to obviously unhealthy relationships like that? What if two 35 year-old men want to marry one 45-year old woman?

Maybe we don't need to go there, but let's decide that as a society and let's not pretend that giving gays the right to marry would be any more of a catalyst to allowing bigamists to marry than allowing interracial couples to marry was. People like O'Reilly and Rantel use this argument to mask the real reason for their transparent disdain for gay marriage: their bigotry. (Particularly sad in Rantel's case.)

Al Rantel also assured O'Reilly that most gays don't want marriage anyway. I'm sure the gay community appreciates his speaking on their behalf. Trust Bill O'Reilly to dig up the one conservative gay talk show host in America.

Meanwhile, in the greatest demonstration of civil disobedience of the 21st century so far, 1700 plus gay couples have been married in San Francisco over the past few days.

That's 1700 so far, Mr. Rantel. That's 3400 San Franciscans so far proving that gays do indeed wish to marry.