Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

May 12, 2009

Why A Duck? Poly and Bestiality on The O'Reilly Factor

Fox News

As Cunning Minx says on her Polyamory Weekly podcast, it always comes down to marrying goats. On Fox News's "The O'Reilly Factor," Bill O'Reilly adds turtles and ducks to goats. He got wind of Janet and Sasha Lessin's "World Polyamory Association" (from the Daily Beast article four days earlier that I posted about), and yesterday he brought up triads and other abominations:

O'REILLY: All right, Hoover. I did not know this, but I had said from the jump if you OK gay marriage, then you have to do plural marriage, which is now -- has a name, triads. Three people getting married. There is a group in Maui, Hawaii, called the Lessin's adversary group -- advocacy group, and it's World Polygamy [sic: Polyamory] Association. They're associated with that. And they want to be married....

Too bad O'Reilly's well-meaning foil doesn't draw the line between people and animals either:

O'REILLY: If I walk in to the Massachusetts state house and say, "Hey, Governor Deval Patrick, you've got to marry me and Lenny." All right? Because --

HOOVER: I would love to see that, by the way.

O'REILLY: Not only Lenny, but Squiggy too. All right? Or I walk in with the O'Brien twins from South Boston and say, "Hey, you've got to marry me, because you're allowing gays to get married, and I'm in the Lessin's group, the World Polygamy Association."

HOOVER: You've got to change the law, then. Because the law says it's between two people.

O'REILLY: OK, but --

HOOVER: Not multiple people. By the way, the last time polygamy was on the rise? 1896, when Utah became the 45th state in the union. Not a massive movement going mainstream.


...HOOVER: I don't buy into the slippery slope argument at all.

O'REILLY: You'd let everybody do whatever they want?

HOOVER: That's the slippery slope argument. That's if you allow one thing to happen, then another thing, and another thing.

O'REILLY: Hoover, you would let everybody get married who want to get married. You want to marry a turtle, you can.

HOOVER: Due process. I want to abide by the law. If the law says I can marry a turtle, I'll marry a turtle. Last time I checked, we're a Judeo-Christian culture that doesn't allow me to marry turtles.

O'REILLY: You've got to take a stand. You've got to take a stand, now. You would be for, then, putting the umbrella over all groups.

HOOVER: I am for what the law says. I do not support polygamy.

O'REILLY: That's a copout. Total copout.

HOOVER: No, I don't support polygamy. I support two people, couples, marriages.

O'REILLY: OK, but then you have to explain why two and not three.

CARLSON: And then you don't call it marriage anymore. It's not marriage anymore.

O'REILLY: Explain why two and not three? And you can't.

HOOVER: I think that the crux of our foundation of our culture depends on --

O'REILLY: On two.

HOOVER: -- two people, yes.

Watch the video on Fox (May 11, 2009), or read the whole transcript on Media Matters for America ("fighting conservative misinformation"). The O'Reilly Factor is part of why the upcoming generation voted overwhelmingly against Republicans.

Incidentally, remember that the term "slippery slope" frames everything as all downhill. Accept the term and you've already lost the debate. Reframe it as a "sticky ramp" upward. As Theresa Brennan (of Polycamp Northwest fame) once put it, awkwardly,

Giving blacks the vote, women the vote, contraception — it's all a slippery slope to a place of better social justice and acceptance.

Bonus! Here's a quick promo about triad marriages on Fox and Friends.

Question: Is there such a thing as bad publicity? Before you say "of course," consider that most people have no idea that serious group relationships are possible. Getting it into the culture that people actually do this, even if they're icky, will make the idea thinkable... for those who need to discover that they're not alone.

Update, next day: On MSNBC's "Hardball," David Shuster ridicules O'Reilly's marry-a-turtle argument as "ridiculous," "illogical," "stupid."

Update: Duck-sex mania! CNN covers the Sex With Ducks video parody by Garfunkle and Oates.




Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's really frustrating that these people can't understand the issue of consent. Any number of people can enter into a civil contract together that covers insurance, inheritance, property ownership, medical power of attorney, etc. The marriage *contract* should not be different from any other civil contract. A religious ceremony, however, is different.

Last I checked, goats and ducks could not enter into civil contracts since they cannot give legal consent, which requires understanding of the contract into which they enter. Neither can minors or mentally disabled.

And *that's* why the slippery slope argument is stupid. Yes, gay marriage should inevitably lead to polygamy, but it does NOT inevitably lead to beastiality because animals can't sign contracts! And you don't need the contract to screw an animal anyway - that should be covered under animal protection laws, not civil contract laws because it's *already* covered under civil contract laws ... the part about consent.

May 12, 2009 1:05 PM  
Blogger Charli Armstrong said...

These jokers always bring up the "animal angle" when they can find nothing wrong with what they are so adamantly against.

May 12, 2009 1:22 PM  
Blogger Alan said...

> These jokers always bring up
> the "animal angle" when they
> can find nothing wrong with
> what they are so adamantly
> against.

In our grandparents' day, they said the exact same thing about allowing interracial marriage. "Next thing you'll be able to marry a mule!" Wasn't any nicer in that context, was it?

May 12, 2009 1:41 PM  
Blogger pepomint said...

I want to note the way that "World Polyamory Association" magically became "World Polygamy Association" even though it looked like Bill was reading it off of a piece of paper.

I wonder if we are going to see more attacks from the right wing conflating polyamory and polygamy, like this one does. It's a relatively easy line of attack on poly people.

And it's kind of sad that they went straight for the Lessins. Not exactly who I would choose to be our role models out in the world.

May 12, 2009 2:26 PM  
Blogger Alan said...

> And it's kind of sad that they
> went straight for the Lessins.
> Not exactly who I would choose
> to be our role models out in
> the world.

Yep. And the only thing we can do about it is encourage the role models we'd like to see to go public. (Robyn Trask of Loving More offers free media consulting to poly folks, and she's experienced).

BTW, Pepper-- have you done anything yet about turning your Practical Nonmonogamy Tips II into a book?? We're waiting! Folks in the PLN know about writing a book proposal for publishers, if you'd like help.

May 12, 2009 3:16 PM  
Blogger pepomint said...

Re: Nonmonogamy guide book.

I've got some other stuff to work on first before I would consider turning the nonmonogamy guide into a book. My next project is a similar guide specifically targeted at men attracted to women.

I will hit up the PLN when the time comes, however. That's a good idea.

May 12, 2009 3:32 PM  
Blogger Anita Wagner Illig said...

Joreth hit the nail on the head.

Turns out Jenny Block was (or was supposed to be) on Glenn Beck today at 5:00 EDT. She posted 5:30 EDT as the time to Facebook earlier today, so don't know if she got it mixed up and missed her appointment or what. I tuned in at 5:30 to find that it was already over. Would love to know if anyone saw it and how it went. Hope she was able to hold her own. It's not posted to the Fox news website, hopefully it will be.

May 12, 2009 6:18 PM  
Blogger Anita Wagner Illig said...

P.S. Found Jenny's piece and put a blog post up with my comments at http://practicalpolyamory.blogspot.com

May 12, 2009 6:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's the Glen Beck link.


I'm amused by the fact that he says you can't make an intellectually honest argument against plural marriage :) Tongue in cheek I'm sure, just ironic.

That said, despite my polyness I happen to think that extending the contract law provisions surrounding civil marriage to more than two people would be VERY difficult. I think you would end up having to break off some of those provisions and have a much more limited set attached to the condition called "marriage" and then allow people to create their own solutions as necessary.

May 12, 2009 9:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for providing your blog to everyone.

The old ways are leaving, and the people whose ego identity fears identify with them (rather than being open to freedom, love, and running your life from those values) are hanging on for dear life.

This all will be such a non-issue in the future. For now, bravo to all of us and everyone in all organizations who live courageously in their truth, and love. Keep doing what you are doing. xo

May 13, 2009 3:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"HOOVER: Due process. I want to abide by the law. If the law says I can marry a turtle, I'll marry a turtle."

So if the law says he can blow his brains out with a shotgun, he'll do that too? God, I hope we make suicide legal soon...

May 15, 2009 11:36 PM  

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