Bill O’Reilly’s Gay-Marriage Evolution in 10 Quotes

Bill O'Reilly sign copies of
Bill O’Reilly talking on a phone in 2004, probably about the “chaos” that gay marriage would cause. Photo: Giulio Marcocchi/Getty Images

It seems to have surprised a lot of people that conservative Fox News host Bill O’Reilly doesn’t think that arguments in favor of “traditional marriage” are very compelling. But as the following timeline shows, O’Reilly’s views on gay marriage have been shifting, in fits and starts, for years now. Bill O’Reilly is America.

October 27, 2004: “I’ve been saying that all along, that if you open the door for gay marriage, then you have to have the polygamists and the triads and the commune people and everybody else, right?”

April 14, 2005: “We told you this would happen, if gay marriage is legalized, then much chaos would follow.”

June 5, 2006: “Traditionalists like me believe the USA has become strong because of its core values, the freedom, individual responsibility and institutions like traditional marriage, which foster common goals.”

July 10, 2006: “The gay marriage thing to me, I don’t understand why it’s so important for the secular progressives in this country, the people who want to change America fundamentally and every way, why this is the lead issue. The L.A. Times, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe. These people are going, ‘Oh, my God, what are you doing? How can you not see the civil rights aspect of this?’”

September 25, 2006: “To this culture warrior, gay marriage is not a vital issue. I don’t believe the republic will collapse if Larry marries Brendan. However, it is clear that most Americans want heterosexual marriage to maintain its special place in American society. And as long as gays are not penalized in the civil arena, I think the folks should make the call at the ballot box. Traditional marriage is widely seen as a social stabilizer, and I believe that is true.”

January 18, 2009: “My tact is that you don’t change the definition of marriage for one group, homosexuals, because you have to change it for all the groups. So you don’t do it, particularly if people in California vote on it, don’t want it, they think that the heterosexuality is a societal stabilizer.”

May 10, 2012: “Unlike abortion nobody gets hurt when gays marry but it does have deep implications for what kind of society we want to be. Therefore, individual states should decide the question.”

August 2, 2012: “It is not wrong or bigoted to believe American society is stronger and that the family unit is better served when marriage is between a man and a woman. It is also not wrong for homosexual Americans to want to get as much parity as they can.”

December 3, 2012: “I’ve got nothing against gay marriage, it’s not my issue. All right, I want homosexual Americans to be happy and to pursue happiness.”

March 26, 2013: “The compelling argument is on the side of homosexuals. That’s where the compelling argument is. We’re Americans. We just want to be treated like everybody else. That is a compelling argument. And to deny that, you’ve got to have a very strong argument on the other side. And the other side hasn’t been able to do anything but thump the bible …. I support civil unions I always have. All right, the gay marriage thing, I don’t feel that strongly about it one way or the other.”

O’Reilly’s Gay-Marriage Evolution in 10 Quotes