A week after Republican Senator Rob Portman, a one-time sponsor of the Defense of Marriage Act, announced his support of gay marriage, another prominent conservative unveiled a similarly ground-shifting -- if slightly more modest -- reversal.
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, occasioned by the Supreme Court's high profile hearings on marriage equality, said on his show Tuesday night that he was more convinced by arguments for equality than those against.
"The compelling argument is on the side of homosexuals," the host admitted. "That's where the compelling argument is. 'We're Americans. We just want to be treated like everybody else.' That's a compelling argument, and to deny that, you have got to have a very strong argument on the other side. The argument on the other side hasn’t been able to do anything but thump the Bible."
O'Reilly continued his commentary, adding, "New York has [gay marriage] now. I live in New York, New York has it, I'm fine with it. I want all Americans to be happy, I do."
As with many conservatives that have "evolved" on the issue, he says it should be a state's right to decide whether it accepts gay marriage (Democrats that have "evolved" to support gay marriage are mixed between thinking it's a federal right and wanting states to decide).
"I support civil unions. I always have," the host said. "The gay marriage thing, I don’t feel that strongly about it one way or another. I think the states should do it."
O'Reilly's history, however, suggests otherwise.
In 2009, he told a pro-marriage equality guest on Fox News that, ""[Y]ou would let everybody get married who want to get married. You want to marry a turtle, you can," and warned that allowing same sex marriage could lead to bigamy, as well.
O'Reilly has also been highly critical of the ACLU and other activists who have demanded that the Boy Scouts accept gay members. In 2007, he slammed the San Diego Padres for hosting promotions aimed at kids and gay people on the same night.
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- gay marriage