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11/08/2007

The no judge factor: Bill denies what is so patently obvious

by Jeremy Hooper

CutelesbiancoupleHere is a partial transcript from a debate that Bill O'Reilly had last night on his television show. The topic: a lesbian couple who was voted "cutest couple" in their high school yearbook. O'Reilly's sparring partner: Dr. Laura Berman, who teaches psychiatry at Northwestern. Enjoy "no spin" Bill and his "non-judgmental" ways:

O'REILLY: ...we don't want to normalize homosexuality in a public way in an academic setting, high school, among minors. We don't think that reflects...
BERMAN: Why?
O'REILLY: ...how we feel about it. Well, for a number of reasons. One, social. It's much more difficult to be homosexual than a heterosexual in America. Two, religious. There are people who believe that that kind of a life style...
BERMAN: Sure.
O'REILLY: ...is against their religion. And they passed it on to their children.
BERMAN: Sure.
O'REILLY: Three, an exposition of sexuality in a minor - and that's very important - in a minor situation is inappropriate in an academic setting. All of those things are valid, doctor...
BERMAN: Sure.
O'REILLY: ...and they shouldn't be condescended to.
BERMAN: But we're not talking — your — all of those things may be valid in certain populations, but we're not — where you're getting stuck is assuming that validating or acknowledging homosexuality as a reality is somehow going to make homosexuality more likely to happen.
And what we do know is that homosexual teens are four times more likely to be seriously bullied, two times more likely than heterosexual kids to be significantly involved in drugs and alcohol and abuse drugs and alcohol, and six times more likely than heterosexual teens to have suicidal attempts.
And so, it's a huge at risk population. Yes, there is experimentation. Absolutely, but it's also very true that many teens are becoming very clear that they are seriously attracted to the same sex, not the opposite sex. And they have nowhere to turn.
O'REILLY: Well, I think.
BERMAN: They have no support systems.
O'REILLY: Look, I've been very consistent on this since my first book was written. I think private behavior belongs in private settings.
BERMAN: Right.
O'REILLY: I don't think it belongs in the high school yearbook.
BERMAN: But you'd be OK with the cutest couple, heterosexual couple, though.
O'REILLY: I would be, because that is the norm of society. See, it's the same gay marriage thing. You have a six percent option here. Homosexuals, according to research, are 6 percent of the population.
BERMAN: But since.
O'REILLY: And...What?
BERMAN: But since African-Americans are a minority, would you have a problem with an African- American heterosexual couple?
O'REILLY: No, because African - because race is no conduct. There is a difference between who you are and what you do. And that is another.
BERMAN: So you're judging homosexuality as.
O'REILLY: Not judging - I'm not judging anybody and anything. I'm telling you that there's a legitimate point of view that, number one, you don't allow sexuality to intrude in your high school yearbook, because they are minors.
BERMAN: Right. This isn't about sexuality.
O'REILLY: Sure it is.
BERMAN: Just a couple.
O'REILLY: This is a lesbian couple that was voted in there...
BERMAN: But they're not.
O'REILLY: ...because they're a lesbian couple.
BERMAN: But they're not flaunting their sexuality.
O'REILLY: How do you know?
BERMAN: They're just in love.
O'REILLY: Wait a minute.
BERMAN: In the picture.
O'REILLY: How do you know they're not? You don't know that.
BERMAN: They're not flaunting their sexuality any more or any less than a heterosexual couple might.
O'REILLY: Look, doctor, there's no reason why Brandy and Lupe had to declare themselves anything other than friends. They didn't have to do that. They chose to do that.
BERMAN: If they're in love, but they're due — they have the same right to do that as any heterosexual.
O'REILLY: It's not about - it's a matter of appropriateness. That's what it's a matter of. And see, look.
BERMAN: But you're passing — (INAUDIBLE) is you're passing judgment.
O'REILLY: You're dismissing all - look, I'm not - look, I don't want any kid to be bullied. I wrote "Kids are Americans, Too" for gay kids who are getting bullied. They should read the boo, know their rights. I don't want anything like that to happen.
BERMAN: Right.
O'REILLY: But you're dismissing a very legitimate point. This is inappropriate. You do not define yourself in a high school yearbook.
BERMAN: Only if you judge sexuality.
O'REILLY: .in a sexual way. Period. You don't do it.
BERMAN: These kids — these kids need support. And they need to know that it's OK to be who they are.
O'REILLY: Well, let them go to a support group run by you. It doesn't need to be.
BERMAN: Here I am.
O'REILLY: You know, you don't have to take out posters and put them on your front lawn.
BERMAN: Because they're supporting all the other kids that are stuck in hiding and now will feel safer.
O'REILLY: That is your extrapolation. Somebody else would say you're encouraging that kind of experimentation...
BERMAN: You can't encourage it.
O'REILLY: ...when you don't have to do it.
BERMAN: It happens anyway.
O'REILLY: All right, doctor, that's the old argument. Let's legalize drugs because it happens anyway. There's got to be boundaries.
BERMAN: Drugs are not the same. Homosexuality is not illegal.
O'REILLY: But it — you know what I'm talking about.
BERMAN: And it shouldn't be illegal.
O'REILLY: All right, always great to talk to you, by the way. A very good debate.

Oh no, Bill, we don't think you're judging at all. But then again, we also think this lady's stage name is Being Open-Minded and Tolerant Judy...

Judge-Judy

...so perhaps we're not the best gauge for this sort of thing.

Be sure to look out for future episodes of "The Factor," wherein we'll likely learn how Bill has nothing against gays, only the fact that they're not "normal."

High School Lesbians Voted 'Cutest Couple' for Yearbook [Fox News]

**UPDATE: Media Matters has the video: O'Reilly, still not relaxing "on all this gay stuff," took issue with IL high school seniors voting lesbians "Cutest Couple"

**UPDATE, 11/9: Queerty has uploaded the Media Matters video to Youtube:

space gay-comment gay-G-A-Y-post gay-email gay-writer-jeremy-hooper


Your thoughts

Bill O'Reilly responses in that interview makes me so angry - just because we're gay the only thing people like him think we do is have sex with each other. It's so frustrating!

Posted by: Alonzo | Nov 8, 2007 5:27:52 PM

O'Reilly ends his interview by saying, " All right, always great to talk to you, by the way. A very good debate."

That's a stretch to legitimize his comments by calling it a "debate"! I thought a debate required that each side have a valid point or points.

He had none. What an enraging jerk.

Dr. Berman shut him down big time. I would never have been able to contain myself like she did.

Posted by: dr haber | Nov 9, 2007 10:28:21 AM

I wish she would've pushed the "but what about heterosexual couples flaunting their sexuality" point a bit further. But in general, I think she did a fantastic job.

Posted by: Jarred | Nov 9, 2007 5:51:04 PM

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