O'Reilly attacks gays for singing to families at ballpark

posted on Wed, Jul 18 2007 10:12 am by Family Equality Council

Last week, we brought you the story of how the San Diego Gay Men's Chorus singing the National Anthem at a Padres game sparked a Family Research Council (FRC) action alert. Recap: the ultra-conservative FRC was upset that the Gay Men's Chorus sang the National Anthem on the same day that the park was giving out freebees to children under 14. Well, it didn't end there. Bill O'Reilly picked up the story. Take a look:

Needless to say, O'Reilly angered quite a few people with his comments - including many in his conservative base. Cyd Zeigler, who self identifies as a "loyal viewer," wrote a column that appeared on Outsports.com. It's a great article that points out many of the flaws in O'Reilly's argument. Zeigler notes:
People in the community, whether they're gay men, pregnant women, Muslims, Jews, union workers or members of a local softball league, decide they want to support their local team. Those people then pick a date, call the team's group-ticket sales office, and request tickets. The gay group gets the same treatment and perks as any other group. No more, no less.

The Padres had scheduled the 14-and-under giveaway that night. O'Reilly wanted the Padres to tell the gay group that they couldn't do it that night because they already had a promotion for kids scheduled. Mind you, he had no problem with the 100 other groups that had bought a total of 11,000 tickets that night; he just had a problem with the gay group.

Zeigler also points out that there are kids giveaways at 1 out of every 6 home games, and another 31 games have family themes.

f the 42,000 people in attendance, 1,000 came in support of the gay group or 2.4% of the stadium. If 5% of the San Diego population is gay (and that is certainly a conservative estimate), there randomly would have been more gays in attendance on that night anyway!

What about those over the top displays that O'Reilly speaks of? What was really happening in the stands?
O'Reilly said, "Unfortunately there were a few over-the-top displays in the stands, a reminder that irresponsible behavior can come from any group." He called it "exhibitionistic." Accompanying his words were several shots of video footage of men kissing men and women kissing women. If these were so outrageous, over-the-top and harmful to our children, then why on earth is he, on the most-watched cable news program in the country, broadcasting these destructive images into the homes of families in San Diego and the rest of America? Good God, what if one of the thousands of children watching the O'Reilly factor sees those images and suddenly asks his parents why two men are kissing before the parents are "ready" to tell him? He might suddenly have 2 million gay people watching him, because they'd all turn gay at the site of two people kissing! That conclusion, of course, is as baseless as O'Reilly's.

Of course, the real problem for me is that this is an issue at all. Whether 1% of the stadium was queer or 90% - it shouldn't matter. And it shouldn't matter that children were in attendance either. If anything, it's a great opportunity for non-LGBTQ parents to talk to their children about the many shapes and sizes that families come in.