Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly stopped by CBS This Morning to talk about marriage equality, suggesting that the country should avoid fighting a civil war over the issue. Each state should get to decide how it defines marriage, he explained, because he worries that a national right for same-sex couples to marry will lead to legalized polgyamy:
O’REILLY: I don’t buy into the fact that homosexuals have a constitutional right to marry. I don’t believe that, because if that were true, then pluralists would, then Mormons could have more than one — you know, all of that. But I do respect the fact that gay people want to be treated the same as everybody else. I understand and I respect it, but I think the states should decide.
The one Civil War the United States has fought was started specifically because southern states insisted on their right to slavery despite opposition to the practice nationally. Encouraging states to set up different laws specifically in regards to citizens’ rights promotes a fractured country, not a unified one.
What O’Reilly believes is that the gay community — “homosexuals” as he archaically calls them — do not deserve the same legal protections when they commit to a partner, start a family, and grow old together. If he truly respects that these families want to be treated the same as everybody else, he shouldn’t be encouraging states to treat them as second-class. Though a federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage has not yet been determined, Justice Kennedy did write that laws that discriminate against same-sex couples “make them unequal” and violate the equal protection guarantees in the Constitution.