After A&E lifted its suspension of Phil Robertson, I wrote it would be “smooth sailing” for Duck Dynasty “unless they say or do something really stupid or if there’s old video of Phil Robertson praising the likes of David Duke.”
OK, Phil Robertson didn’t praise David Duke, but a video from 2009 has surfaced (via People Magazine) in which he advised a crowd of men that they ought to marry girls at the age of 15 or 16 rather than wait until they turn 20.
I think Jeff Lord might have been a wee bit hasty in calling Phil Robertson “an American hero.”
Now I am well aware that Robertson married Miss Kay when she was only 16. They have been married for nearly 50 years. Good for them. But what’s good for them isn’t necessarily good for everyone else. Phil and Kay Robertson are the exception which proves the rule.
I am also well aware that it is possible in this country to marry under the age of 18 either if you have permission from your parents or legal guardian (a point Robertson did make in his remarks) or through family/juvenile/probate court or some combination thereof depending on the state. In Robertson’s home state of Louisiana, 16 and 17 year olds require parental consent and those under 16 require authorization from the courts.
Of course, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. With that in mind, if we’re prepared to take 39-year old screenwriter Dustin Lance Black to task for having a relationship with 19-year old diver Tom Daley then we ought to equally be prepared to take Phil Robertson to task for telling 39-year old men to marry 15-year old girls.
Do I think A&E should suspend Robertson again? Absolutely not. Let the public decide whether they want to watch Duck Dynasty or buy their merchandise. But somehow I have a feeling that conservatives will be less enthusiastic in defending Robertson’s freedom of speech this time around. In which case, we conservatives should choose our heroes a little more carefully.