Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson told fans at the Rock the South Festival in Cullman, Alabama, Saturday that "everyone knows what sin is," but according to the Robertson family patriarch, one thing that does not count as a sin is having sex with underage girls. At least if you marry them first.
The comments followed earlier statements by Robertson that surfaced back in December in which the Duck Dynasty star advised:
"Look, you wait till they get to be 20 years old the only picking that's going to take place is your pocket. You got to marry these girls when they are about 15 or 16. They'll pick your ducks. You need to check with mom and dad about that, of course."
On Saturday, he did not back down from his view that 15-and-16-year-old girls make the best wives, saying, "You don't wait for 'em to be 20 yrs old to marry 'em. That's too old."
The Duck Dynasty personality also offered his dating advice for southern men, saying that "rednecks" should "woo" their young prospective brides and that a southern man ought to "find a woman he can stand, who'll pick his game."
Indeed, Robertson can be accused of various things as the result of his advocacy for what would appear to be statutory rape in many states, but hypocrisy is not on of them. Robertson married his own wife, Kay, in 1966 when he was 20 and she was just 16. The couple started dating when the former Kay Carroway was 14 years old — at a time when Phil Robertson would have been 18.
In Louisiana, 16 is legal age to marry, although 15 is not, at least not without a court order. For a girl to marry at age 16 requires her parents to appear with her in person when applying for a marriage license, however.
Every state requires women to have reached at least 18 years of age before they can marry without parental or court permission. In Nebraska, the minimum age is 19 and no one under 17 may marry with or without permission. Oregon also prohibits teenagers under 17 from marrying.
Robertson also made reference to his infamous GQ interview which appeared last year, in which the Duck Dynasty protagonist made what were perceived as derogatory comments about gays.
"Everybody knows what sin is. Somebody asks me about a specific sin, I just quoted a Bible verse and everybody said I was a mean old man," Robertson said Saturday. "I'm actually a nice man. I'm trying to help those poor souls and turn them to Jesus."
The Duck Dynasty star credits his turn to religion for rescuing his own marriage in the 1970s when, by his own account, he was an angry drunk who once walked out on his family before seeing the light.