O'Reilly falsely claimed Bush "is against" amendment banning same-sex marriage, mischaracterized McCain's position on issue

››› ››› ROB DIETZ

Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that President Bush "is against" a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, and misleadingly stated that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) "came out against" such an amendment. In fact, Bush called for a ban on same-sex marriage in 2004, and White House press secretary Tony Snow reaffirmed that Bush "supports" a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage at a recent press gaggle. Furthermore, McCain recently suggested on Fox News Sunday that if the federal courts strike down the right of individual states to define marriage, he may support a federal constitutional amendment.

On the May 22 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that President Bush "is against" a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, and stated that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) "came out against" such an amendment without noting that McCain's opposition is qualified. In fact, Bush called for a ban on gay marriage in 2004, and White House press secretary Tony Snow reaffirmed that Bush "supports" a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage as recently as May 19. While McCain has advocated that the issue be left to the states, he recently suggested on Fox News Sunday that if the federal courts strike down the right of individual states to define marriage, he would support a federal constitutional amendment.

In the May 19 press gaggle, Snow confirmed that Bush still supports the marriage ban:

QUESTION: After the vote yesterday on the gay marriage amendment, does the president consider this a priority, and would he urge the Hill to move forward on this?

SNOW: He supports it. I don't know whether you want to get into priorities. You know, if I get into the business of prioritizing, I think what you'll let the Hill do, is that they schedule their votes, they schedule their debates, but the president does support the amendment.

During an interview on the May 21 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday with host Chris Wallace, McCain said that "unless there's some decisive overruling by the federal courts," he would leave the issue to the states. Additionally, as The Arizona Republic reported on August 26, 2005, McCain said "he supports an initiative that would change Arizona's Constitution to ban gay marriages and deny government benefits to unmarried couples."

From the May 21 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday:

WALLACE: Question, Senator McCain, will you vote for or against the federal marriage amendment when it comes up before the Senate in June?

MCCAIN: I will vote against it because I believe very strongly that in a -- first of all, on the sanctity of union between man and woman, but I also believe that the states should make these decisions. The states regulate the conditions of marriage, and unless there's some decisive overruling by the federal courts, then I will continue to believe that the states should decide. We in Arizona should make our decisions about the status of marriage in our state just as the people in Massachusetts and other states should make their decisions.

From the May 22 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: OK, Michelle [Malkin, right-wing pundit]. Fifty percent -- that's all -- support a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. McCain came out saying he's against it. Bush is against it because Laura Bush doesn't want it. There's no chance. There's no chance to get a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in this country.

MALKIN: Yeah, I think it looks pretty clear that it's not going to get through the Senate.

Posted In
Diversity & Discrimination, LGBT
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Bill O'Reilly
Show/Publication
The O'Reilly Factor
Stories/Interests
John McCain, 2008 Elections
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