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
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
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