Bill O'Reilly surprised his audience during Tuesday's broadcast of his primetime show "The O'Reilly Factor" by praising gay marriage proponents for having a compelling argument.
"The compelling argument is on the side of homosexuals," O'Reilly said. "That's where the compelling argument is. 'We're Americans, we just want to be treated like everybody else.'"
O'Reilly also trashed the religious argument against gay marriage, telling Megyn Kelly, his guest, all they do is "thump the Bible."
"Thatâ€™s a compelling argument," O'Reilly said about gay couples just wanting to be treated like every American. "And to deny that, youâ€™ve got to have a very strong argument on the other side. And the other side hasnâ€™t been able to do anything but thump the Bible."
O'Reilly says he just wants all Americans to "be happy."
"New York has it now. I live in New York, New York has it, I'm fine with it. I want all Americans to be happy, I do," O'Reilly concluded. Transcript below.
BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Somehow, you evolved on this issue. I'm willing to listen to that, but I don't believe any of this is sincere. It's political and it's just awful.
MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS: I mean, I think the country's views on this issue are changing, they're changing dramatically.
O'REILLY: But why are they changing?
KELLY: Well, because I think the same-sex marriage advocates have done a credible job in getting out there and making their case. I mean, for years those who opposed gay marriage -- take the religion piece out of it for this, because there is no arguing that. The Christian religion teaches what it teaches. The Bible says what it says, I mean about marriage.
O'REILLY: But our policy shouldn't be made by that.
KELLY: I know, so take that out of it.
KELLY: What I'm saying is that when you ask -- for example, I had an interview with Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. What is it about calling a marriage -- calling a gay union a marriage that offends you. How does it hurt a traditional, or a heterosexual marriage? And I didn't hear anything articulated that was particularly persuasive. What people go back to --
O'REILLY: And I agree with you 100-percent. A 100-percent! â€¦ I agree with you a 100-percent. The compelling argument is on the side of homosexuals. That's where the compelling argument is. 'We're Americans, we just want to be treated like everybody else.'
Thatâ€™s a compelling argument. And to deny that, youâ€™ve got to have a very strong argument on the other side. And the other side hasnâ€™t been able to do anything but thump the Bible.
KELLY: Their best argument, thus far, has been, 'well, marriage is an institution that for 2,000 has been about a man and a woman creating babies.'
O'REILLY: That's right.
KELLY: Procreation. But look at how society has changed. I mean, people, they talk today about would we be okay passing a law saying people over 55 can't get married because they're not likely to have babies.
O'REILLY: I support civil unions, I always have. Alright. The gay marriage thing, I donâ€™t feel that strongly about it one way or the other. I think the states should do it. Right.
KELLY: I think the Supreme Court is going to come down on the side of letting the democratic process play out in the states.
O'REILLY: New York has it now. I live in New York, New York has it, I'm fine with it. I want all Americans to be happy, I do. (The O'Reilly Factor, March 26, 2013)