Bill O'Reilly condemned the confrontation between an eight-year-old boy and Michele Bachmann over gay rights, saying that the boy's lesbian mother had used her son in a cowardly fashion.
The boy, named Elijah, was filmed telling Bachmann, "my mommy's gay but she doesn't need fixing." Speaking on his Wednesday show, O'Reilly told gay activist Sally Kohn that he felt the mother was using her son as a political tool, and that the boy had been coached.
"I don't think that's right," he said. "I think the mother did this child a disservice." Kohn disagreed, saying that "kids aren't raised in vacuums" and that Elijah was probably well aware of anti-gay discourse.
"I think you're living in the land of Oz," O'Reilly said. "I have an eight-year-old son...none of 'em are thinking of gay rights." He added that he thought the mother's behavior was "appalling."
Later, O'Reilly doubled down on his ideas about children.
"An eight-year-old doesn't know what homosexuality is," he said. "Yes they do!" Kohn replied. "No, they don't," O'Reilly said. "They may know the term, they may know that Mom or Dad are different...but they're not emotionally equipped to understand it."
Watch (via Mediaite):
How the GOP candidates stack up on gay rights:
After her husband Marcus' Christian counseling center came under scrutiny for allegedly promoting "reparative therapy," a form of counseling that seeks to make gay people renounce their sexuality, Bachmann's gay rights views have taken center stage. Described by The San Francisco Chronicle as "arguably the most socially conservative Republican running for president," Bachmann is a strong opponent of same-sex marriage. "If you're involved in the gay and lesbian lifestyle, it's bondage," she is quoted by the Human Rights Campaign as saying. "It is personal bondage, personal despair and personal enslavement."
Although he once vowed to be be a stronger advocate for gay rights than his former Massachusetts Senate opponent Ted Kennedy, Mitt Romney has since signed a pledge sponsored by the National Organization for Marriage promising to support a federal constitutional amendment "defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman," CBS News reported. "I can say look, there are a lot of folks who are raised by one parent, through divorce through death or through having a child out of wedlock," Romney said. "But my view is a society recognizes that the ideal setting for raising a child is when you have the benefit of two people working together and where one is male and one is female. I happen to believe that and that's the reason that I think as a society we say, 'You know what? We are going to call marriage what it has been called for 6,000 years.'"
The former senator from Pennsylvania has vowed to fight for a federal ban on same-sex marriage, claiming that allowing LGBT couples to wed would shake "the very foundation of our country, the family, what the family structure is going to look like." In September, he was condemned by gay rights group GOProud for saying he would reinstate the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy if elected president. "Removing 'don't ask, don't tell' I think tries to inject social policy into the military," Santorum said. "We executed a policy that I think was detrimental to everyone, including them, in my opinion because sex and sexual preference should not be an issue in the military, period. And it should not be something that is demonstrated in any shape or form in the military. And it shows how much our culture has changed that this is even a subject to be debated within the military."
In his 2008 book "On My Honor," the Texas governor stated, "Even if an alcoholic is powerless over alcohol once it enters his body, he still makes a choice to drink. And even if someone is attracted to a person of the same sex, he or she still makes a choice to engage in sexual activity with someone of the same gender," according to Time. After New York passed gay marriage in June, Perry (who has been called "the least LGBT-friendly candidate in the race" initially defended states' rights but then reportedly clarified his stance on Christian radio, saying. "Obviously gay marriage is not fine with me. My stance hasn't changed."
The former Obama-appointed U.S. Ambassador to China has said that he would not support marriage equality for gays and lesbians. "I think redefining marriage is something that would be impossible and it's something I would not be in favor of," he told MSNBC's Morning Joe in June. Still, he would reportedly continue to support civil unions: "I think we sometimes don't do an adequate job in talking about equality and in addressing fairness: hospital visitations, reciprocal beneficiary rights, insurance. There are a lot of these issues that I think we can do better with as people in the name of fairness and in the name of equality."
Paul reportedly did support the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," but has spoken out in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act. He also said he believes that states should have the right to legalize gay marriage, marijuana, and prostitution if they choose to do so, according to The Advocate: "If you do not protect liberty across the board, it's a First Amendment-type issue. We don't have a First Amendment so we can talk about the weather. We have the First Amendment so we can say very controversial things. So, for people to say that, 'Yes, we have our religious beliefs protected, but people who want to follow something else, or a controversial religion -- you can't do this' ... if you have the inconsistency, then you're really not defending liberty."
The former House Speaker has made a variety of statements against same-sex marriage, even linking it to the nation's economic troubles. "I believe that marriage is between a man and woman," he is quoted as saying. "It has been for all of recorded history and I think this is a temporary aberration that will dissipate. I think that it is just fundamentally goes against everything we know." When New York became the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage, Gingrich noted, "I think we are drifting towards a terrible muddle which I think is going to be very, very difficult and painful to work our way out of," according to Reuters.
The former two-term governor of New Mexico has what has been described as a "libertarian viewpoint on marriage," and says he does not believe that government should be involved in marriage, but that it should simply hand out civil unions. The Advocate quotes Johnson as having scolded his fellow candidates for signing a pledge with the National Organization for Marriage to ban same-sex marriage in the U.S. Constitution if they are elected. "If candidates who sign this pledge somehow think they are scoring some points with some core constituency of the Republican Party, they are doing so at the peril of writing off the vast majority of Americans who want no part of this 'pledge' and its offensive language," said Johnson. "The Republican Party cannot afford to have a presidential candidate who condones intolerance, bigotry and the denial of liberty to the citizens of this country."