March 28th, 2013
06:10 PM ET
9 years ago

Rush Limbaugh concedes conservatives 'lost' marriage debate

(CNN) – Conservatives who oppose same-sex marriage must accept that they’ve “lost the issue,” radio host Rush Limbaugh argued Thursday.

“This issue is lost,” the conservative firebrand said. “I don't care what the Supreme Court does, this is now inevitable - and it's inevitable because we lost the language on this. “

Limbaugh went on to assert conservatives “lost the issue when we started allowing the word ‘marriage’ to be bastardized and redefined by simply adding words to it.”

“Marriage is one thing, and it was not established on the basis of discrimination,” he continued. “It wasn't established on the basis of denying people anything. ‘Marriage’ is not a tradition that a bunch of people concocted to be mean to other people with. But we allowed the left to have people believe that it was structured that way. “

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the legality of same-sex marriage earlier this week.

Another notable conservative, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, said on Tuesday that same-sex marriage advocates have a more convincing argument than opponents, who do nothing but rehash scripture to make their point.

"The compelling argument is on the side of homosexuals," O'Reilly said Tuesday on Fox. "That's where the compelling argument is. 'We're Americans. We just want to be treated like everybody else.' That's a compelling argument, and to deny that, you have got to have a very strong argument on the other side. The argument on the other side hasn't been able to do anything but thump the Bible."

O'Reilly has previously stated he takes a libertarian view on the issue, and repeated Tuesday night that it's a decision that should be left up to the states. "I support civil unions. I always have. The gay marriage thing, I don't feel that strongly about it one way or another."

Filed under: Rush Limbaugh • Same-sex marriage
soundoff (400 Responses)
  1. jc vance

    Demographics turned this issue, not semantics, rhetoric or syntax. The tipping point was reached and the dominos fell. Mr Limbaugh is correct in saying the issue is finished though, it' time to move on to something that's still on the table.

    March 29, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  2. Trisha L

    This is GREAT!! As long as the conservative Right keeps believing they are only losing because of "language" they are impervious to changing tactics or any outside influence. they are a hermetically sealed system. It guarantees they will disappear in a short time. Wonderful. Wonderful. Wonderful. Keep it up Rush. You're right!! You go get'em!!

    March 29, 2013 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  3. caesarbc

    This just means that Rush is behind the Tea-Party stance (i.e. Rand Paul) on this... which is further alienating the GOP institution. Keep the infighting going baby! Until the GOP denounces Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, they will perpetually lose elections.

    March 29, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  4. bill dunn

    if marriage is such a sacred thing, then why doesn't the right scream and yelll and abolish abortion. If the bible says let no man put marriage asunder why are half of them divorced? If we are to run the country according to what the bible says then it would be a crime to be rich, to get divorced etc. etc. Why are the bible bangers so selective?

    March 29, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  5. Vence

    Dear Mr.Limbaugh....This is just the beginning!

    March 29, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  6. Wiscovasi

    I have never agreed on anything Bill O'Reilly had to say and don't hope to in the future, but on the issue of gay marriage, I find common ground! Gays and lesbians must have all the rights and previleges as heterosexuals have in marriage and integrate them fully in our society but do not call that "marriiage" on paper. America is great at inventing -can we come up with a new one-word for "marriage of gays and lesbians" quickly?

    March 29, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  7. nameit

    Probably a good name that we should coin for same sex partners is "garriage". Give them the same rights as the married couple but label them differently.

    March 29, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  8. wonderabout

    Marriage in the U.S. .... all marriages are civil unions- period – what you call them is secondary. Pastors or whatever they are known as in different settings can and have denied performing the 'rite of marriage'. And no matter who or where a couple is "married" the one officiating has to sign a marriage license that is then sent to the state or county, depending on the laws of that state. Marriage is a legal contract for the sole purpose of civil matters.... property mostly, taxes, end of life decisions, etc..... all done 'by law'.... The lack of this type of contract effects both straight and gay couples.... We all need to get back to basics here and stop muddying the waters!

    March 29, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  9. Sid Airfoil

    To conservatives like Rush and Newt, marriage is between one man and one a time.


    March 29, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  10. L.J. Rhodes

    No, Rush. You lost because banning marriage equality is discriminatory. It's just blatantly, patently wrong. You didn't lose any language on it. The truth was just finally heard about it. If conservatives failed to do anything, it was to censor us. It was to eradicate us, so that we wouldn't be able to tell the truth. THAT'S why we're winning. Because we're right, and we didn't keep our mouths shut about it.

    March 29, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  11. Billcody


    If this is all about love .. then let's get rid of the tax benefits of marriage and let's see if this is still about love. I have no problem with equal rights ... but don't call it marriage .. Marriage is a religious sacrament between 1 man and 1 woman PERIOD. If gay people want civil unions 100% behind that
    It's a religious sacrament? If you are religious it is a sacrament. What about those people who don't get married by a preacher/minister/priest? Is it a sacrament if you are not religious? As far as I can tell you do not need to put your religious affiliation on your marriage license. If that is the case, then what if the difference if two consenting adults of the same sex want to get married?

    March 29, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  12. NurseLi143

    It is laughable for those who don't respect the sanctity of marriage to try to prevent others from obtaining the right to marriage. Rush and Newt et. al. are arguing that marriage is sacred amongst their own histories of adultery, philandering, divorces, etc. while trying to deny others of whom they simply disapprove, their right to many legal protections under the law. They have indeed already lost – on so many levels

    March 29, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  13. Wayne

    Merely a talking point! It was never anything but a talking point to provide the glue that attracts religious fundamentalists and those with discriminatory beliefs to the GOP for the purpose of accumulating VOTES! The party of hate will dissolve as the SCOTUS chips away at the nefarious laws that GOP majority has passed and people will eventually realize that they have been had by these charlatans bait and switch tactics that benefit only the rich and result in the decay of our economy.

    March 29, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  14. southernwonder

    with rush limba and other conservative talk heads on the radio incessantly 24×7, how can they get the language wrong? what do they want to say that they have not said in every which way millions of times?

    personally, i, without the "benefit" of hearing rush, don't think two persons of the same sex can have a family life and a responsible living together in a common bond in a way a traditonally married couple can. it is not possible for me to comprehend that level of commitment can be made naturally between two persons of the same sex. may be that's my limitation, not their reality. at any rate this really gets into the arena of freedom which brooks of no impositions from any quarter. at macro level, however, this is a losing proposition for america because muslim societies and countries, which respect no freedom, are multiplying fast while same sex marriage in america, which already has less a less declining white population, will keep our population down. at some point we gotta think in terms of preservation of the western civilization, for this is one thing you can't outsource.

    March 29, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  15. Tyler K

    I am gay and I don't believe same-sex marriages should be legalized. Marriage is a union meant to signify a partnership between two people who will mate and continue the species. Unfortunately, our government and society connects certain rights to marriages today that they do not allow for gay partners, which should have long been the debate. 'Marriage' is a religious term, and should be held to religious standards. A 'marriage' should hold no weight in a political mindset, certain rights should not be given to married couples if they are denied to another couple simply based on their standing.

    March 29, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  16. bill dunn

    Rush is just wonderful, especially for the Democratic Party. They should pay half of his and O'Reillys salarties. The more they spout their nonsense the more it is guaranteed that the GOP will never win another national election. So many GOP spokespeople and leading pols continue to put their feet in their mouths its just pathetic. Marco Rubio and Rand Paul both say that they will filllibuster any new gun laws legislature in the Senate. Go right ahead. Fillibuster against an idea that 90% of America agrees with, thats a great career move. I think they are still reading the same polls that had Romney a landslide winner. Keep it up boys, Hillary is just laughing in her rocking chair. You are making it so easy for her she might not even have to campaign.

    March 29, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  17. NurseLi143

    I hope Justice Thomas will consider that his own marriage to a white woman was illegal in many states during his lifetime. Equality under the law should drive his vote, but we'll see...

    March 29, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  18. Timothy C

    Heterosexual marriage was created as kid-insurance; it protects a man's parental rights and a woman's parental needs. The age of birth control made heterosexual marriage optional. The age of artificial insemination made homosexual marriage optional as well. It's probably inevitable.

    March 29, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  19. Hong Tong

    Well if we allow same sex marriage, we should also allow polyandry, polygamy and polyamory. These people are consenting Americans and we should not control their lives. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. I'm personally not gay or anything nor do I agree that it's normal, but the government should stop involving in people's private lives. And we should also abolish special tax previleges that come with marriage.

    March 29, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  20. Surfer George

    Isn't it sad that providing equal CONSTITUTIONAL rights for EVERYONE constitutes a "loss" for "Conservatives?"

    March 29, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  21. Rosslaw

    So if the extreme right wanted to make all gays wear pink stars on their coat sleeves the main question then is just whether to publicize it by twitter or tweeting, right? And of course right-wingers see no irony in listening to Rush in the first place on marriage (3 or 4 marriages-no "procreation") since he's the brains of the outfit.

    March 29, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  22. ironman59

    Lush is the last person on earth that should be talking about the values of marriage. He is on #4 so clearly he has no idea how it works in a hetro situation let alone gay marriage. It is just him doing more spin to keep the mindless sheep who follow him in line.

    March 29, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  23. NSL

    It's only a word. It doesn't have magical powers. Everyone should be able to use the word.

    March 29, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  24. sjlucas

    Marriage is a subject about which Mr. Limbaugh should be an expert. He's been married 4 times. Now the sanctity of marriage, that is something he suspect he has no clue about.

    March 29, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  25. Fair is Fair

    @ Tom Paine –

    Ancient historians generally accept the events in Genesis from Abraham forward as factual (from a perspective of time... "events" (the Genesis flood, etc.) are certainly faith based. Moses came 400+ years after the times described in at the end of Genesis (which was hundreds of years after Abraham). Abraham was described as being "married" to Sarah... thus this mention of "marriage" predated Christianity by 3000 years or so. Again, these time frames are generally agreed upon by ancient historians.

    March 29, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
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