Mike Farrell Explains His Progressive Beliefs

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," February 23, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: "Personal Story" segment tonight, the progressive agenda in America features things like legalization of gay marriage, legalization of drugs, abolishment of the death penalty, unfettered abortion and other controversial issues. That agenda, having a hard time these days.

For example, most polls have opposition to gay marriage standing about 60 percent. South Dakota is ready to pass a ban on all abortion, except to save the life of the mother. And even San Francisco had to pull back its medical marijuana program.

With us is actor Mike Farrell, a progressive activist and a standup guy who sticks to the issues and does not use personal attacks. And we really appreciate it. Over the years we have had a lot of discussions and you never do that kind of stuff. I just want to tell the audience that if they're just watching you for the first time.

On the gay marriage issue, a lot of publicity, a lot of money behind it, lobbying, but still Americans steadfast don't want it. Any explanation?

MIKE FARRELL, ACTOR, ACTIVIST: I don't know what the polls show, but all I know is that my marriage is not threatened by two people who love each other being married and I can't imagine why anybody else's would be either.

O'REILLY: You can't imagine the opposition to that? You don't know what it's based on?

FARRELL: I see the opposition. I hear about it. I think a lot of it is fear and a lot of it is homophobia. But I think that, like with everything else, the younger generation is more accepting and things will — these things will change.

O'REILLY: All right. So you think that the younger generation as it matures into voting blocs will make gay marriage acceptable and it has a chance to pass in the future?

FARRELL: I think sure. I think it will become accepted in the United States, as it is in many other places in the world.

O'REILLY: Only three countries in the world.


O'REILLY: I mean, you know. So look, what do you think the religious factor is here? Because many religions put a sin on homosexuality. And there's a lot of religious-based opposition to making it legal. What kind of an opponent is that for gay marriage?

FARRELL: Well, you know, like — should we call very conservative religion, fundamentalist religion, right-wing religion in this country is an opponent of a lot of things that I consider...

O'REILLY: But Roman Catholicism, which isn't in any of those categories...

FARRELL: Roman Catholicism is moving, as it is — as are other religions. They are, you know — if you go to Jesus teachings it's about love and mercy and acceptance. And I think people will come to that understanding, rather than being...

O'REILLY: But it's a slow process?

FARRELL: Well, sure. Any growth is slow.

O'REILLY: Now, in this country I don't believe there ever will be a majority not in favor capital punishment. I mean, you and I agree on this issue. We're both against the death penalty. But I believe that most Americans are going to be steadfast, because we are a society that wants justice and we want it fast.

FARRELL: Yes. And people aren't getting it fast. People aren't getting it at all with capital punishment, as you well know. It's more political than it is having to do with justice.

But in fact, polls over the last 15 years have shown a 20 percent drop in support for capital punishment.

O'REILLY: But still it's in the 60's.

FARRELL: And if you add — it's in 63, is the last Gallup poll. If you add the option of life in prison without possibility of parole, it drops to 50/50. And that demonstrates to me that people are beginning to recognize...

O'REILLY: Would you support hard labor for rapists and murders? That's my program. I don't think the death penalty is punishment enough. I think it's too easy to execute these people. All right? Because most of them don't value their lives anyway. Nobody who's going to rape and murder another human being who values their own life. I mean, they don't.

FARRELL: I think that's probably true. Yes.

O'REILLY: It is. So make them work and make them work hard for the rest of their lives in a hard labor situation. Use that as a deterrent. Would you favor that?

FARRELL: I'm not quite sure what hard labor would mean.

O'REILLY: It would mean hard labor. You'd wake up and you'd work eight hours a day, whatever the hell I could come up with. Believe, I can come up with some good stuff.

FARRELL: Well, people can come up with torture, too, and I don't think you'd support that.

O'REILLY: No torture.

FARRELL: But let me suggest to you that being separated from society, being put into prison for the rest of your life is very difficult.

O'REILLY: Even if you're lifting weights like Tookie Williams and watching cable TV?

FARRELL: Yes. You know, Tookie Williams was a demonstration of somebody who could change his life as a result of the work he did on himself in prison.

O'REILLY: It's true.

FARRELL: And the hope that we have that people have the capacity to transform themselves is demonstrated in somebody like Tookie Williams.

O'REILLY: Some people can. Some people are good actors, too.

FARRELL: Some people are good actors, Bill, off camera, on camera and in life. So that doesn't only hold to people who are incarcerated.

O'REILLY: We only have about 40 seconds left. Final question. The Cheney thing last week brought out a lot of Hollywood actors who said very nasty things about the vice president, personal things — liar, thief. You don't do that.



FARRELL: Well, I don't see the point in it. I think that what he did was — speaks for itself. And nobody knows exactly the facts.

O'REILLY: You don't attack people personally.

FARRELL: I don't — I don't get — you know, I don't get any benefit out of attacking people.

O'REILLY: Do you object when some of your peers do?

FARRELL: I try to suggest that there are better ways to do it. But you know, people have the right to speak their minds, and some people are very exorcised about the some of the things that the leadership in this country...

O'REILLY: But you lose credibility when you lose personal attacks.

FARRELL: Some do. Some gain credibility as you've discovered yourself.

O'REILLY: No, I don't do personal attacks here. And that was a little sneaky remark there.

FARRELL: Well, but...

O'REILLY: We don't do personal attacks.

FARRELL: But, Bill, you do.

O'REILLY: We'll be right back. No, we don't. Right.

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