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On the July 11 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly called the San Diego Padres' decision to host a gay pride night and a children's hat giveaway promotion during the same July 8 baseball game "insensitive," "dumb," "almost unbelievable," and a "mistake." He called it "insane" to "cluster" gay men and lesbians during a "hat giveaway for any kid under 12." O'Reilly reported that "thousands of gay adults showed up and commingled with straight families," and stated, "[C]lear-thinking people understand it is completely out of context and inappropriate." When San Diego Pride executive director Ron deHarte said that it "was no different than any other game," O'Reilly responded: "But you are focusing in and putting more homosexuals into an area. OK? See, that's the problem," adding: "You're putting it in a kid's face at a baseball game." O'Reilly later asserted: "This is social engineering by the Padres."
Discussing the event with O'Reilly and deHarte, Culture Campaign president Sandy Rios said of the gay pride event: "When you have people into that ballpark and take their kids and their kids are watching the half-time activities and watching what's going on, the celebration of this choice, that's when I have a problem, because I don't think this is anything to celebrate." Rios later compared homosexuality to smoking, asserting: "What if the San Diego Padres decided to celebrate a Smoking is Fun Night, and they had a smoking men's chorus performing? Now there are a lot of people that come to the game and they have a pack of cigarettes or whatever, maybe they can't smoke there, but that's different than celebrating smoking, because we all know that smoking is really harmful to your health." Rios continued: "Well, what people don't understand is that the homosexual lifestyle, especially for men, is deadly." O'Reilly said, "But that's their decision," to which Rios responded: "That is not what we should be promoting before the children."
Additionally, Rios pointed to Massachusetts and California as examples of "how far the radical homosexual agenda would go to radicalize our children." She added: "U.S. News & World Report just came out with a study recently -- talked about how many teens are coming out younger, and more of them coming out now. Is that what we want?" Rios later stated: "I think it's important to understand that I don't know about Mr. deHarte, but what we have to understand is that the radical gay agenda is in the business of removing parental rights and indoctrinating children. I'm not overstating this."
O'Reilly also stated, "The Disney Company really ignited the 'gay day' deal by doing the promotions at their theme parks. ... And now, you better check your local listings if you go anywhere." In fact, as Media Matters for America has noted, Disney plays no role in organizing or sponsoring "Gay Days," an annual gathering at Disney World.
From the July 11 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly. Thank you for watching us tonight. The culture war goes to the ballpark. That is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo."
It is almost unbelievable, but the San Diego Padres scheduled a promotion for gays on the same day the team gave away hats to kids. So thousands of gay adults showed up and commingled with straight families. Predictably, that caused some anger, some saying the promotions were inappropriately timed, and some parents echoing that.
O'REILLY: Unfortunately, there were a few over-the-top displays in the stands, a reminder that irresponsible behavior can come from any group.
Now "Talking Points" believes the San Diego Padres made a mistake. If you want to have a gay night, don't put a children's promotion along with it. That's just common sense.
Ten years ago, this never would have happened in America. And you can decide if we as society have made progress or have lost our collective minds. The Disney Company really ignited the "gay day" deal by doing the promotions at their theme parks. And now, you better check your local listings if you go anywhere.
It is not unreasonable for parents to object to any public sexual displays at family-friendly events. Baseball is the national pastime, a sport, not a social experiment.
San Diego Padres might think they're being inclusive and politically correct, but they're really being insensitive and, well, dumb. While secular progressives will applaud the mixing of a gay promotion with a kids' giveaway, clear-thinking people understand it is completely out of context and inappropriate. And in this case, two strikes and you're out. And that's the "Memo."
O'REILLY: Now for the top story tonight, two other views of the situation. Joining us now from San Diego, Ron deHarte, the executive director of gay pride in that city. And from Chicago, Sandy Rios, Fox News analyst and president of the family-values group Culture Campaign.
Sandy, we begin with you. What would be your main ob -- just give me your top objection to commingling the kids promotion with the gay day?
RIOS: Well, Bill, there's a big difference in going to a ball game and sitting next to a lesbian couple or a homosexual couple and enjoying a game together and having a night that celebrates their decision.
When you have people enter that ballpark and take their kids and their kids are watching the half-time activities and watching what's going on -- the celebration of this choice -- that's when I have a problem, because I don't think this is anything to celebrate.
And what we also know is that there is a huge effort to propagate this to our children. And all we have to do is look to Massachusetts and California, just two states to mention, to see how far the radical homosexual agenda would go to radicalize our children. U.S. News & World Report just came out with a study recently, and talked about how many teens are coming out younger, and more of them coming out now. Is that what we want?
O'REILLY: Well, if they're, you know --
RIOS: Do we want to saturate our --
O'REILLY: -- if they're of the persuasion that they -- look, I don't want to get into what they should and shouldn't be doing. But your objection is that basically a display of homosexuality at a ballpark is not appropriate for your children. OK, Mr. deHarte, how do you answer that?
DEHARTE: Well, we applaud the Padres. This was a great game. There was [sic] 42,000 people from the community that came out in support of this game. And kids go to baseball games every day of the year when games are played. So do gays and lesbians. Everybody in our community goes and supports the Padres. So this was a non-issue of mixing children and gays and lesbians in the ballpark.
O'REILLY: All right, let me ask you a specific question now. Sandy Rios takes her kids to the game, doesn't know it's gay night as many, many parents did not know because we interviewed them, and then is sitting there. And then next to them are some demonstrative lesbians or gay guys. Is that appropriate in your opinion?
DEHARTE: I think any day they go to a baseball game, they may run into any type of person in our community.
O'REILLY: That's true, that's true.
DEHARTE: This game on Sunday night --
O'REILLY: And I said that.
DEHARTE: -- this game on Sunday night was no different than any other game.
O'REILLY: But you are focusing in and putting more homosexuals into an area. OK? See, that's the problem. I mean, nobody objects to homosexuals going to baseball games. That's un-American to do that.
But if you're going to cluster them in on a promotion night -- and I don't even object to that, but I do object to, and I think it's insane, giving a hat giveaway for any kid under 12 gets a hat. Why would you do this on the same night? Why would you do that, sir?
DEHARTE: There's no distinction between having a night where kids are there to celebrate the game, just as straight families are bringing children in, gays and lesbians are bringing their children into the game, to celebrate the ball game. It's about the ball game.
O'REILLY: Well, they can do that without a gay -- without clustering the group. You know, if it's a hat day for kids, they're not going to check you at the door to see if you're a gay parent or a straight parent. That's not the issue.
The issue is you're clustering a group that's based on sexuality. OK? That's what it's based on. You know that. With children.
DEHARTE: I think we've got to get away from -- we've got to get away from the gender and the sexual orientation.
O'REILLY: Is that the San Diego Padres' duty to social engineer at their games?
DEHARTE: I think it's everybody's opinion to be able to go to any game they want to go to. It doesn't matter what night it's going to be.
O'REILLY: No, we have no disagreement there.
DEHARTE: It could be gay night at the ballpark or it could be any other day.
O'REILLY: But this is social engineering. This is social engineering by the Padres. Now, Sandy, look --
DEHARTE: No, this is, this is --
O'REILLY: Mr. deHarte has a point in the sense that any gay person can take his or her partner to any game in America any time they want. And they may be sitting next to you, Sandy. And you don't have the right to do anything about it.
RIOS: And that was my point earlier, Bill. I wouldn't -- I would sit there and have a conversation with them. I wouldn't -- unless they were making out, then I'd have a problem with it if they were gay or straight.
But let me just give you another way to think about this. What if the San Diego Padres decided to celebrate a Smoking is Fun Night, and they had a smoking men's chorus performing? Now there are a lot of people that come to the game and they have a pack of cigarettes or whatever, maybe they can't smoke there, but that's different than celebrating smoking, because we all know that smoking is really harmful to your health.
Well, what people don't understand is that the homosexual lifestyle, especially for men, is deadly. It takes their life 10 to 20 years earlier than straight men.
O'REILLY: But that's their decision.
RIOS: That is not what we should be promoting before our children.
O'REILLY: Look, Sandy, Sandy, Sandy --
RIOS: But they're promoting it to our children, Bill.
O'REILLY: -- that's their decision as adults.
RIOS: But they're -- but when they promote it at a ballgame to our children, they're saying it's OK.
O'REILLY: I don't think the Padres --
RIOS: It's not OK, Bill.
O'REILLY: -- I don't think the Padres are promoting homosexuality, Sandy. I disagree with you.
O'REILLY: Wait, Sandy, wait. At four or five, sir, American parents have the right not to have that conversation and not to have it in their face at Petco Park sponsored by the San Diego Padres. Do they not?
DEHARTE: Sure. Sure. The parents should have that conversation with their children if the children ask the questions.
O'REILLY: Well, they --
DEHARTE: Ask the questions about who's living next door, who's living across the street.
O'REILLY: You're putting it in a kid's face at a baseball game.
DEHARTE: No, we went to a baseball game to celebrate the game of baseball.
O'REILLY: You saw -- we already showed you the video. Most gays did behave properly, but some were exhibitionistic, sir. And whenever you cluster a group like that, you're going to have some of those people. You know that.
DEHARTE: We were at the game to have a great time.
RIOS: Bill, could I say something?
O'REILLY: I'll give you the last word, Sandy. But let Mr. deHarte - all right, Mr. deHarte, you're not going to cede any points on this, I guess. Sandy, you can get the last word. Go.
RIOS: I think it's important to understand that, I don't know about Mr. deHarte, but what we have to understand is that the radical gay agenda is in the business of removing parental rights and indoctrinating children. I am not overstating this. In Massachusetts, ask David Parker --
O'REILLY: All right.
RIOS: -- father of a 5-year-old. He goes to --
O'REILLY: I think you're off-base on this.
RIOS: Because they are teaching -- I'm not off base, Bill.
O'REILLY: You are on base because the San Diego Padres --
RIOS: They are saying --
O'REILLY: -- Sandy, listen to me please, are not part of the radical gay agenda. They're not.
RIOS: No, but they're cooperating --
O'REILLY: No, they're just dumb. That's it.
RIOS: All right.
O'REILLY: They're not radical gays.
RIOS: OK, I'll accept that.
O'REILLY: They're dumb. And this was --
RIOS: People are confused about it. They are confused.
O'REILLY: And Mr. deHarte, and for your credibility, this was inappropriate. You should have your gay night, but not on the same day they're giving hats to little kids. All right, I think I've solved it. Thank you. We appreciate it.