As the Supreme Court hears arguments this week on the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), conservative media figures have responded with their usual vitriol.
Rush Limbaugh led the way by telling his listeners that the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment was never intended to have anything to do with "gay marriage or animal marriage." Limbaugh later expanded on a caller's argument against marriage equality by pondering, "at some point who's to say that you cannot have sex with a child."
Limbaugh's commentary about the Prop 8 case is nothing new for conservative media figures, who have spent years demonizing marriage equality with offensive, outlandish, and downright bizarre arguments. Media Matters reviews some of the lowlights over the past decade.
- Conservatives: Marriage Equality Will Lead To People Marrying Ducks, Donkeys, Goats, Dolphins, Turtles, Dogs, And Cantaloupes
- Conservatives: Marriage Equality Will Lead To The Downfall Of Society
- Conservatives Link Marriage Equality To Pedophilia, Child Molestation, And Incest
- Conservatives: Marriage Equality Will Lead To Plural Marriages
- The "Ick Factor," "Sexual Anarchy," And Other Reasons Conservative Media Figures Oppose Marriage Equality
Conservatives: Marriage Equality Will Lead To People Marrying Ducks, Donkeys, Goats, Dolphins, Turtles, Dogs, And Cantaloupes
Over the past decade, conservative media figures have had an odd obsession with the slippery-slope argument that marriage equality could pave the way for people to marry a wide array of animals (and the occasional melon).
Fox Host Bill O'Reilly: Marriage Equality Could Lead To Goat, Duck, Dolphin, Turtle Marriage. In March 2005, O'Reilly Factor host Bill O'Reilly predicted on his now-defunct radio show that in ten years, "this is gonna be a totally different country than it is right now. Laws that you think are in stone -- they're gonna evaporate, man. You'll be able to marry a goat -- you mark my words!"
Though O'Reilly said on the March 26 edition of his Fox News program that he believes "the compelling argument is on the side of marriage equality" and that he doesn't "feel that strongly about the issue," he has repeatedly argued over the years that marriage equality could lead to humans being able to marry various animals, including goats, ducks, dolphins, and turtles.
Challenged on the issue at one point, O'Reilly claimed to have been making a "satirical jest," an odd assertion given the frequency with which he has used the argument. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 5/11/09; 3/25/05; 1/4/06; Media Matters, 3/27/13]
WND Reporter Jerome Corsi: If Marriage Equality Is Legalized, "Why Not Bestiality? Why Not Cantaloupes?"
[WND, Taking Back America Convention, September 2010]
Televangelist Pat Robertson Suggested Marriage Equality Could Lead To Legalized Bestiality.
[CBN, The 700 Club, 5/7/09]
Focus On The Family Founder James Dobson: Marriage Equality Could Pave Way For Marriage Between "A Man And His Donkey."
[Focus on the Family, 10/6/05]
Radio Host Mark Davis: Using Equal Protection Argument For Right To Marriage Equality, "I Could Marry My Dog."
[Premiere Radio Network, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 6/19/09]
Fox's Todd Starnes Reaction To 2012 DOMA Decision: "Do You, Fluffy, Take This Human, To Be Your Lawful Wedded Spouse?" [Equality Matters, 5/31/12]
Pat Robertson Connects Marriage Equality To Biblical Sodom's Destruction, Adds: "If History Is Any Guide, The Same Thing Is Going To Happen To Us."
Pat Buchanan: "We Saw Things Like" Marriage Equality "At The End Of The Weimar Republic"
[NPR, The Diane Rehm Show, 10/25/11]
Buchanan Responds To Prop. 8 Ruling: "All The Great Nations Have Proscribed Or Punished" LGBT Relationships. In his syndicated column, Buchanan wrote in response to a judicial ruling overturning California's Proposition 8: "This is not just an insult to the intelligence of those Californians who have rejected gay marriage, but to a majority of Americans. Through history, all the great religions have condemned homosexuality and all the great nations have proscribed or punished it. None ever placed homosexual liaisons on the same plane as traditional marriage, which is the bedrock institution of any healthy society." [Media Matters, 8/10/10]
Washington Times' Jeffrey Kuhner On Marriage Equality: "It Is Inherently A Socially Barren Act. A Homosexual Society Is A Childless One - Doomed To Extinction." Kuhner wrote in his February 24, 2011, Times column that the "homosexual rights movement is on the verge of destroying marriage. If successful, it will permanently alter society. And President Obama is playing a pivotal role in this attack on traditional America." Kuhner went on to claim that the "homosexual lifestyle signifies the triumph of neo-pagan Epicureanism. By its very nature, homosexuality cannot fulfill the primary function of sex: procreation and the reproduction of the human race. It is inherently a socially barren act. A homosexual society is a childless one - doomed to extinction." [Washington Times, 2/24/11]
Radio Host Michael Savage Linked Marriage Equality To The 2008 Stock Market Collapse. During his October 1, 2008, radio program, Michael Savage said: "[Y]ou may say, 'Why should we care about homosexuals trying to destroy families through the mock marriage that they perform in order to mock God, the church, the family, children, the fetus, the DNA of the human species? Why should we care about it while we have a financial meltdown?' Because the spiritual side of the downturn on Wall Street is directly related to the moral downturn in the United States of America." Savage added: "[T]he government has no right to force people to accept homosexual marriage. It is why the West is dying. It is why we're melting down as a nation. It is why there is no -- why we have almost negative childbirth rate except amongst illegal aliens." [Talk Radio Network, The Savage Nation, 10/1/08]
Pat Robertson Suggested The "Ultimate Conclusion" Of Marriage Equality Is Legalized "Child Molestation And Pedophilia."
[CBN, The 700 Club, 5/7/09]
James Dobson: Marriage Equality Could Pave Way For "Marriage Between Daddies And Little Girls."
[Focus on the Family Radio, 10/6/05]
WND Reporter Jerome Corsi: If Marriage Equality Is Legalized, "Why Not Pedophilia?"
[WND, Taking Back America Convention, September 2010]
Glenn Beck Used Toys On His Fox News Show To Illustrate The Slippery Slope From Marriage Equality To Polyamorous Marriage.
[Westwood One, The Radio Factor, 11/18/08]
O'Reilly: Marriage Equality Will Lead To "Triads." O'Reilly has repeatedly warned that marriage equality will lead to the legalization of "triads" or other plural marriages. As recently as October 2011 he interviewed a polygamist family to promote his theory that "if the country eventually permits gay marriage everywhere, then other groups will want the same treatment."
[Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 10/7/11]
The "Ick Factor," "Sexual Anarchy," And Other Reasons Conservative Media Figures Oppose Marriage Equality
Huckabee Opposes Marriage Equality, In Part, Because Of The "Ick Factor." From a June 28, 2010 New Yorker article:
One afternoon in Jerusalem, while Huckabee was eating a chocolate croissant in the lounge of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, I asked him to explain his rationale for opposing gay rights. "I do believe that God created male and female and intended for marriage to be the relationship of the two opposite sexes," he said. "Male and female are biologically compatible to have a relationship. We can get into the ick factor, but the fact is two men in a relationship, two women in a relationship, biologically, that doesn't work the same."
I asked him if he had any arguments that didn't have to do with God or ickiness. "There are some pretty startling studies that show if you want to end poverty it's not education and race, it's monogamous marriage," he said. "Many studies show that children who grow up in a healthy environment where they have both a mother and a father figure have both a healthier outlook and a different perspective from kids who don't have the presence of both." [New Yorker, 6/28/10]
Huckabee defended his remark when asked about it on Fox News Sunday.
Pat Robertson: "I Don't Really Believe Homosexuals Want To Get Married," They Just Want To "Destroy Marriage." [CBN, The 700 Club, 10/20/09]
Pat Robertson On Marriage Equality: "[W]hen Two Men Get Together And Make A Baby, I'll Change My Point Of View." [CBN, The 700 Club, 5/13/09]
Michael Savage Wants "To Puke" "When I Hear About A Woman Married To A Woman Raising Children Because, Frankly, I Think That It's Child Abuse." [Talk Radio Network, The Savage Nation, 2/26/07]
Michael Savage: "Our Children Are Being Destroyed By" Marriage Equality ... "The Children's Minds Are Being Raped By The Homosexual Mafia." [Talk Radio Network, The Savage Nation, 6/16/08]
Michael Savage On Marriage Equality: "Repugnant," "Sickening," "Disgusting," And Part of "A Degenerate Nation." [Talk Radio Network, The Savage Nation, 5/24/04]
WND Publisher Joseph Farah Suggests Marriage Equality Will Lead To "Sexual Anarchy." [WND, Taking Back America Convention, September 2010]
Rush Limbaugh: Marriage Equality Isn't "Virtuous" -- It Would "Corrupt" An Age-Old Custom. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 3/18/13]