Chris Wallace of Fox News grills Tony Perkins on marriage equality.

Times Have Changed: Watch Fox News Host Grill Anti-Gay Advocate

Times Have Changed: Watch Fox News Host Grill Anti-Gay Advocate

The Slatest
Your News Companion
Oct. 12 2014 2:35 PM

Times Have Changed: Watch Fox News Host Grill Anti-Gay Advocate

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Ted Olson (left) says the same argument Tony Perkins (right) uses against marriage equality "was made with respect to interracial marriages in 1967"

There was a time when there were likely fewer places more comfortable for someone who was opposed to marriage equality than a Fox News studio. But that may be changing. Even the conservative news channel appears to be getting with the times. That’s what Family Research Council President Tony Perkins likely realized today when he went on Fox News Sunday and suddenly found himself on the defensive as he was grilled by both the guest and host of the show.

"Marriage is not to affirm adults, it’s for the protection of children," Perkins said as the discussion began with Republican lawyer and marriage equality advocate Ted Olson. "And if love is the only factor, where do you draw the boundaries?"

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Olson then asked the obvious question: what about the children of same-sex couples? Perkins was having none of it: “Children do best with a mom and a dad.” And repeatedly asked that if we accept love between two adults is what matters most then “what are the boundaries?” At that point it seems Fox News host Chris Wallace had heard enough. “What are you suggesting?” Wallace asked. “That there’s going to be polygamy, that people are going to be marrying their pets?” Perkins suddenly got defensive: “I didn’t say that.”

But Wallace suddenly was having trouble understanding Perkins’ point, as if he had never heard these same sort of arguments countless of times before on his own network. “You and your wife live happily in this house,” Wallace said. “There’s a same-sex couple living here. What’s the damage to you?” Perkins then wanted to talk about “the wedding vendors that have been put out of business.” Wallace refused to get side-tracked: “I’m not talking about that. That’s a different issue. I’m asking you, what’s the impact to you and your family to have these people living next to you?”

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.