Why Aren't Gay Americans Supporting Miss California?

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," May 11, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Factor Follow-up" segment tonight: My newspaper column this week is about the incredibly hypocritical ACLU not sticking up for Miss California's freedom of speech. It's unbelievable. I also suggest respectfully that gay Americans should take the lead in supporting Miss California's right to voice an opinion on gay marriage. After all, gays want freedom of expression, too, do they not? And where are the women's groups, as Carrie Prejean has been called all kinds of vile names?

Joining us now from Los Angeles, Meghan Daum, a columnist for the L.A. Times and self-described feminist, and from Washington, Cathy Renna, former spokesperson for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

Ms. Renna, we begin with you. You know, it would have been very smart for the homosexual community to say, look, we don't agree with her. Obviously most of us or many of us want to be married, but she has a perfect right to say what she wants to say without being vilified and personally attacked. I didn't hear any gay Americans do that. Why not?

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CATHY RENNA, FORMER GLAAD SPOKESPERSON: Well, you are not listening to the same people I am. I've certainly heard from plenty of people in the community who completely, you know, same way I would defend your right to free speech we would defend her right to free speech and the right to have her personal views and values. But here's where I think the problem really lies is that the question that Perez answered was a smart question, was a good question, was a timely and appropriate question for Miss California. Her answer was just poorly done. First of all, some of it was inaccurate. Second of all, she's supposed to be representing a state of diverse people. And she should have said this is my view and I know that other people have other views.

O'REILLY: Well, she did. She said I was raised, this was the way I was raised and no offense. But let's get back to my original point. I haven't seen one op- ed piece. I haven't seen anybody on television from the gay community or on the radio say, you know, we don't agree, but the woman is entitled to her opinion and shouldn't be vilified. Nowhere.

RENNA: You've got me. I'm saying it right now.


RENNA: I don't agree with her at all.

O'REILLY: But right now, we invited you on for this discussion. And I applaud you for saying it, but it's about three weeks too late, all right? That should have happened immediately.

Now let's get to you, Ms. Down, about now when you have a woman 21 years old now being vilified, called terrible names, awful, attacked by the NBC News operation in an unprecedented way, I expected the feminists to be hey, we don't agree, but you can't be doing this kind of stuff. And I didn't hear a thing from them. Why not?

MEGHAN DAUM, L.A. TIMES WEEKLY OPINION COLUMNIST: Well, I think most thinking people, unless they're representing the overnight pseudo-celebrity anti-defamation league have bigger fish to fry.

O'REILLY: Whoa, whoa.

DAUM: You're absolutely right, Bill.

O'REILLY: Bigger fish to fry than a worldwide…

DAUM: Yes, I do. Look.

O'REILLY: ...exposition? This is the biggest — it may not the most intellectual, but as far as a populist issue, Ms. Daum, you're a newspaper woman. Everybody's engaged on this debate now. This is enormous. And you're saying it's not big enough for them to pay attention to? This is the time for feminists to rise up and say we're fair-minded people.

DAUM: This is not, look.

O'REILLY: We'll support you even if we don't agree with you. Go ahead.

DAUM: You're absolutely right. Ms. Prejean has been the subject of vile and atrocious commentary by certain people in the blogosphere., certain gossip columnists, various people on the Internet. But look, the blogosphere and the gossip world is a vile reprehensible place. And the fact is…

O'REILLY: NBC News, Ms. Daum.

DAUM: Bill.

O'REILLY: Come on, that's huge.

DAUM: Carrie Prejean, she is a grown up. She is not a wilting violet. She doesn't need anybody, let alone women's organizations.

O'REILLY: Oh, so what I'm hearing from you then, Madam, is this, no, no. Here's what I'm hearing now.

DAUM: Well.

O'REILLY: I'm hearing you that any adult woman, that any adult woman is not entitled to any protection from the National Organization for Women or any of the other — because they're grown-ups. So you go after them as much as you can. That doesn't make any sense. Why is there a National Organization for Women then?

DAUM: Bill, the job of the National Organization of Women is not to defend people who are celebrities.

O'REILLY: It's to defend women. That's what it is there for.

DAUM: No, I have to respectfully say, look, I think I'm with Cathy. She was asked a question. She gave an answer that while I don't personally agree with, it was absolutely within her rights.

O'REILLY: That's right. And nobody stuck up for her except me and a few other people. And that was wrong. Now let me get over to the gay thing again.

DAUM: I don't know.

O'REILLY: Do a search.

DAUM: You have got to get out more, Bill.

O'REILLY: Do a search. Look, we did a search, okay. We don't come on here and blowing smoke. We did the research. Nobody in the liberal community stuck up for her. Nobody. No gay people, no feminist people. Nobody. All right? And if you guys are big freedom of speech, ACLU. ACLU, my butt, OK? They couldn't care less about her freedom of speech.

Now, the gay thing, Ms. Renna, look, you guys are supposed to want, and correct me if I'm wrong, to win hearts and minds. You're saying we don't want to be persecuted or denied rights in any way because of our expression of homosexuality. And that is a legitimate debating point, it is. So, this woman says here is my upbringing. This is what I believe and gets killed for it. You guys would have been so smart to say no, no. We're going to defend her because this is exactly what we want. Do you see my point here Ms. Renna?

RENNA: I see your point. First of all, just to — your question about the feminists, probably outside protesting the pageant. So I really honestly, I don't — I think that…

O'REILLY: Different issue.

RENNA: ...she probably doesn't consider herself.

O'REILLY: Different issue.

RENNA: I understand that but, pertinent to this because I'm sure that she doesn't really consider herself a feminist in the way the women at the National Organization for Women consider themselves feminists.

O'REILLY: It doesn't matter.

RENNA: But here's the — it does matter.

O'REILLY: No, she's a woman.

RENNA: Here is the reality here. I think what the gay community did and what a lot of other people did that was really support of her, which maybe she didn't understand, was we condemned the insulting language that Perez Hilton used.

O'REILLY: Yeah, where?

RENNA: When he…

O'REILLY: Where?

RENNA: Where?

O'REILLY: Yeah, where was it?

RENNA: Every other cable network. I watched a panel of women and men, Republican and Democrat come out so strongly.

O'REILLY: I didn't see anybody from the gay community, anybody do it.

RENNA: We have, you're not…

O'REILLY: And if you can point to me tomorrow night on this program I'll put it up and I'll say here's where it was, but I didn't see anything.

RENNA: I'll be happy to.

O'REILLY: All right.

RENNA: Everybody from Lisa Bloom on CNN to gay and lesbian activists and people who were very unhappy with what he said.

O'REILLY: All right.

RENNA: And frankly, I know Perez. He reacted poorly, but he asked a smart question. She answered it badly. And she's been adopted by the religious right.

O'REILLY: OK, I got to go. We'll be looking forward to the documentation of the gay community standing up and supporting her right to expression. Ladies, thanks very much. We appreciate it.

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