On Friday we as family went on the Bill O’Reilly Factor show. Click here for the link. He calls the show the “no-spin” zone, yet I felt like that is exactly what happened. We did not expect him to be kind, but we hoped to at least get our book to a different audience. We knew it was going to be tough when the promo and lead in piece equated gay marriage legalization with our plight, saying that “with gay marriage becoming more accepted, polygamists want the same treatment.” We had told the producer very clearly what we wanted, so we knew the spin cycle was already in motion.
When we arrived we were told that there was only room for two of us on set. Never mind that four of us had flown out to be on the show. The producer, who was actually quite nice, informed us they had argued with Mr. O’Reilly but the best they could do was sit Vicki and I on set and Joe in studio. “Were not used to having that many guests and the show is about Bill,” she explained. We knew we would have an uphill battle getting our word in.
He introduced us by saying, “According to most polls, gay marriage is becoming increasingly accepted by Americans and a number of states have already legalized it, as you know. Now, we said years ago that if the country eventually permits gay marriage everywhere, then other groups will want the same treatment.” I countered by telling him that what we we’re really trying to do is get it decriminalized so we’re not asking for a state marriage license.
He apparently did not like my answer because again he asked if I “thought I had a right to participate in a polygamous marriage, should it be legal?” Of which I said yes, and he tried to accuse me of dodging the question. Vicki and I both reiterated that want we want is decriminalization, and what we have always said, that we want the right to be left alone and put our family together the way we believe in and as our conscious dictates.
Mr. O’Reilly then wanted to link “alternative arrangements” and that “they’re really eroding the traditional American family” with problems of children being born out of wedlock, etc as somehow tied to our family arrangement. Finally, not fully satisfied he asked us if we were like the “Woodstock crowd” somewhere in Vermont and the “free love crowd?” Vicki said again she did not know much about that but that we were a family.
Perhaps we should not have expected differently. But it is sad to see such close mindedness in action. The attempt was to try to marginalize us and ignore the debate entirely, and instead link us to some slippery slope of societal ills.
In reality, we think that true conservatives out there should support our cause. Why? Because we are about family! We are about faith! We are about government being left out of our lives! We are about the first amendment, to worship freely accordingly to our conscience as long as we do no harm to others, and to be able to speak freely about it. Because Joe decides to call me and my sisterwives a “wife”, because he chooses to take the responsibility of creating a family and taking on the role of a husband to all of us, including Valerie’s five children from a previous marriage, then we are told we are felons.
We understand why people of faith want to see their values preserved. But, when we erode the liberties of our country and the ability for people to choose family and commitment to family, then we have eroded the very environment in which healthy families, however they should choose to construct themselves, can flourish.