Limbaugh, O'Reilly Hoist White Flag on Their Idea of Marriage

BY JOSEPH EHRMAN-DUPRE | In a stark testament to Time magazine’s assertion that the battle for marriage equality is “already won,” two media figures on the right showed signs of throwing in the towel as the Supreme Court took up the issue. Both Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh are now making the argument that the sort of conservatism they champion is losing out in the face of changing public opinion and the arrival of the issue at the nation’s highest court.

Limbaugh made his concession on his March 28 radio show –– the day after the court wrapped up two days of argument on gay marriage –– and he was not pleased.

“This issue is lost,” he said. “I don’t care what the Supreme Court does. This is inevitable.”

Conservatives, he argued, ceded control of the language in the debate to the other side.

“Once we started talking about gay marriage, traditional marriage, opposite-sex marriage, same-sex marriage, hetero marriage, we lost,” he said. “It was over.”

Bill O’Reilly, perhaps even more remarkably, seemed calm and collected about the inevitability of same-sex marriage. O’Reilly, the Huffington Post noted, had “previously compared gay marriage to bestiality,” but, the day Supreme Court took up the question, he told Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, “The compelling argument is on the side of homosexuals.” Then, in a smack at many in his own corner, he added, “The other side hasn’t been able to do anything besides thump the Bible.”

While O’Reilly and Limbaugh differed in the temperament they brought to their statements, the suddenness of their waving the white flag may be one of the more significant indicators of how far along the fight for marriage equality is.