Slippery Dope: O'Reilly, others on Fox News warn of "triads" with legalization of same-sex marriage

››› ››› ANDREW WALZER

In recent days, Fox News hosts have repeatedly warned that the legalization of same-sex marriage could lead to the eventual legalization of polyamorous marriage.

In recent days, Fox News has repeatedly warned that the legalization of same-sex marriage could lead to the eventual legalization of polyamorous marriage. For example, a May 7 headline on Fox News' website FoxNation.com stated, "Are 'Triad' Marriages Next?" under an image of a rainbow flag. The headline linked to New York Times columnist Abby Ellin's May 7 article for The Daily Beast on the polyamorous community, which reported that the World Polyamory Association "is pushing for the next frontier of less-traditional codified relationships. This community has even come up with a name for what the rest of the world generally would call a committed threesome: the 'triad.' " Since then, several Fox News hosts -- including Bill O'Reilly, Steve Doocy, Gretchen Carlson, and Glenn Beck -- have echoed The Fox Nation's suggestion that same-sex marriage will lead to "Triad" marriages. For example:

  • During the May 11 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly again claimed gay marriage would lead to the legalization of polyamorous marriage, saying, "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." After stating that the "World Polygamy [sic] Association ... want to be married," O'Reilly asked Republican strategist Margaret Hoover, "So number one, I'm an oracle, and number two, how can you deny them under equal protection under the law?" In response, Hoover said, "I think it is extremely disingenuous for you to suggest that, if you allow gay people to get married ... that polygamy is then going to run rampant across the United States."
  • Echoing O'Reilly's comments, on the May 12 edition of Fox & Friends, Doocy teased an upcoming segment on polyamorous relationships by stating, "Gay marriage on the march; five states now approving it. But what about Americans who want to marry multiple partners at the same time? Do they have marital rights, too? The threesomes who now want the legal right to get hitched."
  • Later on the May 12 Fox & Friends, Carlson stated: "While gay activists continue to fight for same-sex marriage rights, a new group demanding legal recognition. They call themselves polyamorists, and they want the right to marry into a triad, otherwise known as a threesome. Is this crossing the line, and how far will we take this?" During the segment, while discussing her open relationship with her husband and her girlfriend, author Jenny Block said, "[A] lot of people want the legal protection of having all three people married. And, in my mind, marriage is a civil institution, and so if people want that choice, I feel like they should be allowed that." Carlson then said, "Glenn, I know you disagree with this," and asked Focus on the Family's Glenn Stanton to "[s]peak from the side of traditional values with regard to marriage and where you think this may be heading as far as a slippery slope." Stanton responded:

Well, it is a slippery slope. And the idea is, if you think about the argument that these people made for the radical kinds of marriage that they want, they are exactly the same kind of arguments -- justice, equality, things like that -- that the same-sex marriage people have made.

And we have said for a long time that same-sex marriage would open a Pandora's box that would lead us to who knows where. It's not just about triads; it's about four, five, six people. I mean, go on the websites and look at some of these organizations, and you see pictures of five people, six people. So it's not -- I mean, where does this stop?

And it's an amazing thing. And the point is that monogamy is a very, very important social value. We have to understand that cultures that fail to recognize and support the idea of monogamy end up to be cultures where women are things merely to be collected and used and thrown away at the end, not seen as full citizens. And that's why monogamy -- that's why monogamy is an important idea, and these people don't like it. [emphasis added]

  • On the May 12 broadcast of his radio program, Glenn Beck teased a segment to air during that day's edition of his Fox News show, stating, "Tonight, 5 o'clock on the Fox News Channel, you don't want to miss a second -- new triad marriages." Beck added, "I believe somebody said about five years ago, 'Oh, look, polygamy is gonna happen.' Oh, my gosh, it was me. We'll give you the details on that coming up and at 5 tonight on the Fox News Channel."

From the May 12 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:

CARLSON: Now for a very interesting debate: While gay activists continue to fight for same-sex marriage rights, a new group demanding legal recognition. They call themselves polyamorists, and they want the right to marry into a triad, otherwise known as a threesome.

Is this crossing the line, and how far will we take this? Jenny Block is happily married to her husband -- and her girlfriend doesn't mind at all. She's the author of Open: Love and Sex and Life in an Open Marriage. Also with us, Glenn Stanton, director of global family formation studies at Focus on the Family. Good morning to both of you.

BLOCK: Good morning.

STANTON: Good morning.

CARLSON: All right, Jenny, so a lot of people are trying to wrap their head around this concept, that the triad concept, I guess in your mind and explanation, this is the new marriage, or is it not?

BLOCK: Well, I think it's one way to do marriage. I mean, I think this conversation is really about honesty and about choice. Marriage as we know it now doesn't have the best success rate, as you know. And so this is just another way of doing this. There are all different kinds of families, and I think that's a good thing.

CARLSON: All right, so help me understand how this works. You are married to your husband. You have a girlfriend on the side. And you want to all be legally recognized together as a triad?

BLOCK: Well, to be honest, in my situation -- I can really only speak to mine -- I'm very happy with being married to my husband and having a girlfriend as well. But a lot of people want the legal protection of having all three people married. And, in my mind, marriage is a civil institution, and so if people want that choice, I feel like they should be allowed that.

CARLSON: Glenn, I know you disagree with this.

STANTON: Yeah.

CARLSON: Speak from the side of traditional values with regard to marriage and where you think this may be heading as far as a slippery slope.

STANTON: Well, it is a slippery slope. And the idea is, if you think about the argument that these people made for the radical kinds of marriage that they want, they are exactly the same kind of arguments -- justice, equality, things like that -- that the same-sex marriage people have made.

And we have said for a long time that same-sex marriage would open a Pandora's box that would lead us to who knows where. It's not just about triads; it's about four, five, six people. I mean, go on the websites and look at some of these organizations, and you see pictures of five people, six people. So it's not -- I mean, where does this stop?

And it's an amazing thing. And the point is that monogamy is a very, very important social value. We have to understand that cultures that fail to recognize and support the idea of monogamy end up to be cultures where women are things merely to be collected and used and thrown away at the end, not seen --

BLOCK: Gretchen -- Gretchen, I'm sorry. I have to --

STANTON: -- as full citizens. And that's why monogamy --

CARLSON: Yup.

STANTON: -- that's why monogamy is an important idea, and these people don't like it.

CARLSON: Right, Glenn, and I wish that I had another three hours to discuss this, because it needs it. But Jenny, I'll give you the final word on it.

BLOCK: Well, again, I just don't see any slippery slope. The fact that I could love more than one person does not mean that my neighbor is going to want to marry his dog. I mean, in the end this is about love and choice, and this isn't going anywhere but equality for everyone. And, as far as I'm concerned, equality is a wonderful thing.

CARLSON: All right. No doubt, as I said earlier, people have a variety of opinions on this issue, and it's something that we will continue to revisit.

From the May 12 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program:

BECK: Tonight, 5 o'clock on the Fox News Channel, you don't want to miss a second -- new triad marriages. We're going to get into that here in just a second. I believe -- I believe somebody said about five years ago, "Oh, look, polygamy is gonna happen." Oh, my gosh, it was me. We'll give you the details on that coming up and at 5 tonight on the Fox News Channel.

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