Post submitted by Maureen McCarty, former HRC Deputy Director of Marketing
In a segment that aired earlier this week, Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly harassed openly gay Colorado House Speaker Mark Ferrandino (D) over the legislator’s opposition to Jessica’s Law, an act mandating a minimum of 25 years and a maximum of life in prison for first-time sex offenders.
O'Reilly targets the openly gay Speaker as the express reason the bill failed, despite the fact that advocates from across the criminal justice spectrum united in opposition to the bill. Moreover, the Colorado District Attorneys' Council, the Colorado District Attorneys' Council, Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Colorado Office of the Public Defender agreed Jessica's Law isn't necessary.
In the ambush interview, O’Reilly Reporter Jesse Watters cites inflammatory and graphic stories to bait Ferrandino, who attempts to clarify his position before he’s cut off.
Read Fox News' transcript of the combative exchange and view the clip below.
WATTERS: You're not protecting the kids from sexual predators in passing Jessica's Law. Why is that?
FERRANDINO: Well, no DA's. The DA has actually opposed Jessica's Law. So have victim rights groups in Colorado. In 2009, the DA has come out in opposition to the bill.They haven't supported it still. We have very strong laws.
WATTERS: You actually don't have strong laws because let me give you a few examples. 800times a guy just sexually assaulted a seventh grader and just got one year of work release. Ok? Another guy.
FERRANDINO: I can't speak.
WATTERS: Another guy molested --
FERRANDINO: Excuse me.
WATTERS: -- 10 kids at a day care center and only got two years in prison.
FERRANDINO: I don't know your specific cases you are citing.
WATTERS: Are you ok with those sentences?
FERRANDINO: Those sentences aren't right if that's what -- I have to look at the details of those cases. But, the cases in Colorado and from all the DA's I've talked to. All the people in criminal justice think that the laws we have are strong enough and are tougher than Jessica's Law.
WATTERS: Well how come just recently a 41-year-old soccer coach repeatedly raped a 13-year-old girl and only got two years in prison?
FERRANDINO: Specifically, I still do not know the specifics of the cases you are talking about.
WATTERS: 44 other states --
FERRANDINO: -- I'm sorry.
WATTERS: Passed Jessica's Law. 44 other states have Jessica's Law and you guys think you are smarter? Is that true?
FERRANDINO: No. I think we know what's in Colorado's best interest.
O’Reilly returns from the interview segment, alleging Ferrandino is standing in the way of the bill out of more sinister motives. O'Reilly calls Ferrandino's moral character into question, alleging the openly gay Speaker would legislate to protect LGBT residents, but not children.
“He put it into a committee that he knew was going to kill it, yet the same guy that you are looking at, he's with gay marriage, he's a big gay marriage guy … There he is,” said O’Reilly on his show.
O’Reilly has a history of spewing anti-LGBT rhetoric on his show. In 2010, he equated a family with a gay son to terrorists.