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Anti-Gay Activist Maggie Gallagher Defends El Coyote’s Margie Christoffersen

Timothy Kincaid

December 12th, 2008

gallagher.jpgMaggie Gallagher, President of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, is one of the leaders in the effort to deny gay citizens equal access to marriage laws. Her statements in the past have shown that Maggie finds efforts to sway public opinion to be more important than telling the truth. In an National Review Online article this week she continues that trend.

Gallagher seeks to demonize the gay community and uses the example of Margie Christoffersen and the response by El Coyote patrons as an example of the “McCarthyite” spirit of supporters of marriage equality. And facts certainly weren’t going to stand in her way.

Take her initial claim:

Marjorie is just one of 89 people who work for El Coyote.

Is she? Really?

There are absolutely zero regular customers, restaurant critics, or local color writers who would have described Margie in this manner – prior to the Prop 8 situation. Marjorie is just one of 89 people who work for El Coyote in the same way that the Pope is just one of a billion Catholics.

Yet to make her case about the evil of the pro-marriage crowd, Maggie said it anyway. Because that lie supports the point she really wants:

This is a totally new tactic by the way. Boycotts against businesses who donate to a cause or mistreat their customers have long been an accepted part of the American democratic practice. But targeting an entire business because one person associated with it made (in their personal capacity) a donation to a cause is brand new. It’s essentially McCarthyite in spirit. Gay-marriage activists hope to make you unemployable if you publicly disagree with them.

But there is no truth in Maggie’s assertion that individual-related boycotts are somehow “new” or outside the “accepted part of the American democratic practice”.

Yes, some successful boycotts, such as that against the Mongomery Bus system, were due to institutional policies. But there certain have been many boycotts over history because of the actions of one person, often outside of their capacity as an “employee”. For example here are two that have been conducted by the community:

  • In the late ’70’s, gays led a boycott against Florida Orange Juice because of their spokesman, Anita Bryant, and her anti-gay activism. Bryant was dropped in 1979.
  • Also in the late 70’s and through the 80’s Coors Beer was boycotted by gay bars because of the political contributions of some members of the Coors Family. The Coors Brewing Company is now one of the companies most supportive of their gay and lesbian employees and the gay community at large (though some family members remain politically conservative).

And gays are not alone in individual-based boycotts. There have been wallet-voting efforts made against a whole host of other companies ranging from Carl’s Jr. to Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream because various subsets of the population did not like the political views of individuals associated with the company.

Conservatives even went so far as to talk about boycotting Starbucks because of a gay individual was quoted on a cup. And it is not uncommon for viewers of various stripes to refuse to see movies which feature actors with whom they disagree politically; I’m willing to bet that even Maggie Gallagher watches her expenditures in just that manner.

Maggie Gallagher has absolutely no basis for claiming that targeting El Coyote and Marjorie Christoffersen is something new. She just thinks that saying so will stir ill will towards gay people and others who support marriage equality. She wants to accuse us of trying to make those who disagree with us unemployable. She wants to demonize us and continue feeding Proposition 8’s campaign of fear.

Those who read Maggie casually may not see immediate evidences of her contempt and disdain for those to whom she wants dictate. Maggie loves to wrap her calls for discrimination in cloaks labeled generous, kind, and ordinary. But at the basis of every self-righteous and indignant statement lies a willingness to say anything – no matter how far divorced from the truth – to advance her moral crusade. And that she writes skillfully does not make her articles any more benign or less dishonest.

She would never say it; she’s far too clever. But her writing makes clear: Maggie Gallagher wants her readers to hate you. And she’s willing to lie to acheive that goal.



December 12th, 2008 | LINK

Maggie’s fond of making reasonable statements she then proceeds to carry to unreasonable extremes. Here’s one fine example:

“Gay marriage is not primarily about marriage…. It is about inserting into the law the principle … that sexual orientation should be treated exactly the same way we treat race in law and culture…. ”

She’s right. I do not want just marriage, but civil equality as well; so-called ‘gay marriage’ (as opposed to simply ‘marriage’) has been the means with which we hope to achieve this equality. But then in the same excerpt she resorts to hysteria-inducing rhetoric like this:

“The next step will be to use the law to stigmatize, marginalize, and repress those who disagree with the government’s new views on marriage and sexual orientation.”


Sorry, Maggie. I have no such plans to repress you and your majority. Believe it or not, I want the right to get up in the morning and NOT count the ways in which I’m oppressed. I want access to the same benefits straight couples have at the federal level. I want the right to fill out forms at banks and car dealerships and the DMV without getting into ugly arguments about why there’s no box to accommodate the reality of my relationship with my man. I want people like me in every state in this country to go to work without worrying about whether or not they can be fired simply for being truthful about who they are. One day, some day in the future, I’d like to be able to walk down the street holding my man’s hand in public without it being perceived as a transgressive, political act. I want to live my life freely every day and be able to take it for granted – just like you do.

That’s my big gay agenda, Maggie. And look – you’re nowhere in it. It’s actually not about you. Imagine that.

Nevada Blue
December 12th, 2008 | LINK

The Anita Bryant boycott was one of my first acts of protest. I was 13, and inspired by my female pastor at church camp.

a. mcewen
December 12th, 2008 | LINK

That is the crux of Gallagher’s entire argument regarding marriage equality.

BLAH BLAH BLAH “Gays think that anyone who doesn’t agree with same sex marriage are bigots: BLAH BLAH BLAH.

December 12th, 2008 | LINK

“This is a totally new tactic by the way. Boycotts against businesses who donate to a cause or mistreat their customers have long been an accepted part of the American democratic practice. But targeting an entire business because one person associated with it made (in their personal capacity) a donation to a cause is brand new.”

This is getting ridiculous, we need a soundbite.

They continue to frame this as though all they did was donate to, or vote for a “proposition,” or a “cause” as she puts it, and then suddenly, from out of nowhere, these “radical gay activists” are organizing against them, arbitrarily, and for no reason at all!

By donating to, and voting for that proposition, they voted against PEOPLE, human beings. And if their “cause” is such that it requires them to legally define a select group of people as their personal punching bag, then their cause is not only immoral, but it’s personal.

The words “proposition,” “cause,” “democratic process,” “the voters spoke,” are all meant to take the personal aspect out of it, and we need to be able to elucidate that, like retorting with:

“Proposition” to deny protections
“cause” to harm others
“the voters spoke” against other voters
(Ok, I’ll have to work on the “democratic process” one.)

But now that I think about it, these are all just takes on the “majority rules” canard, AKA tyranny of the majority.

That phrase needs to be made a household name, and there’s the retort.

December 12th, 2008 | LINK

Maggie darling – you live in New York. You wouldn’t know decent Mexican food if it were set in front of you (whether the server was gay or straight).

El Coyote serves crappy food. The appeal of the place was cheap margaritas and the feeling that you were welcomed there by the staff.

That ‘welcome feeling’ disappeared after Marjorie made her donation. Why go to a restaurant for crappy food alone, especially if management (part of the family that owns the place no less)feels that way about you?

So Maggie, if you’re so damn supportive of El Coyote, then YOU can fly across the country and have dinner there.

December 13th, 2008 | LINK

It was Gallagher’s rhetoric slight-of-hand that wrongly painted legal marriage for same-sex couples as a threat to adoption agencies. From Banned in Boston:

To operate in Massachusetts, an adoption agency must be licensed by the state. And to get a license, an agency must pledge to obey state laws barring discrimination–including the decade-old ban on orientation discrimination. With the legalization of gay marriage in the state, discrimination against same-sex couples would be outlawed, too.

paul J stein
December 13th, 2008 | LINK

The Boston Tea Party set the tone for this nation. Why should gay Americans stop now in the goal of unfair taxation. We get no benefit from taxes paid that subsidize marriage and the benefits provided to the parties involved. Take our money, and then get told to “Go to the back of the bus thank you”. F**k That!

December 13th, 2008 | LINK

We can’t let any of these religious bigots scold us for boycotting El Coyote, because according to management, religious groups are also boycotting now because El Coyote donated money to gay causes. Frakking hypocrites!

Timothy Kincaid
December 13th, 2008 | LINK

Anti-gay folks never went to El Coyote anyway.

Sportin' Life
December 13th, 2008 | LINK

I don’t feel demonized by this at all. We should be proud that we stand up for ourselves and have little tolerance for the rationalizations, excuses, and sob stories of people who want to prevent us from being able to care for the people we love–by law. The more attention our ability to fight back gets, the better.

Now, who else is on that list of donors?

December 13th, 2008 | LINK

Of course, but now they’ll stay away, but with more conviction.

Here’s another update about the restaurant. Notice how Margie is upset about what’s happening to her, but doesn’t show a speck of regret for the 18,000 marriages she annulled. And she doesn’t seem too broken up about those nonstop attack ads that vilified the customers she supposedly loves that her $100 helped pay for.,0,5995847.column

David C.
December 13th, 2008 | LINK

Ok, Sportin’ Life, here you go:

A much bigger target and Prop 8 donor for all of us to boycott .

And, here is a nearly complete list of business and organizations that supported passage of Prop 8.

Everybody help themselves.

December 13th, 2008 | LINK

This is the most obnoxious part of the La Times article.

“Archila said he and other employees voted no on Prop. 8 and gave money to the legal challenge. As someone who came to the U.S. 30 years ago from El Salvador, Archila said, he’s always cherished this country’s right of free speech and the diversity of opinion.

“You can express yourself as a citizen,” said Archila. “Not everyone has to believe the same things.”

I can’t believe a journalist wrote this. It’s bad enough that most people have little to no understanding of the First Amendment. As a journalist, you really ought to be ashamed if you don’t understand it. The writer of that column is clearly implying that gay people don’t think Margie has a right to free speech or diversity of opinion. Not one person has said Margie should be fined by the state or incarcerated for expressing her views. The thing these people never understand, is that “free speech” simply means the government can’t punish you for your opinion, or censor your speech. It doesn’t shield you from criticism or (legal) responses from other citizens. Margie’s act of free speech was to donate to Yes on 8. Mine was to stop eating at El Coyote. See? Diversity of opinion has been achieved, so the column writer’s phony hand-wringing about free speech being in peril can stop already.

December 14th, 2008 | LINK

And here’s the sort of framing that pisses me off from the LA Times article:

“But I didn’t like what I was hearing about the vilification of Margie Christoffersen and others in California being targeted for the crime of voting their conscience.”

Prop 8 supporters weren’t simple voting their conscience. And they’re not being punished for a private act or for their personal beliefs.

They’re being targeted because they meddled in other people’s private lives by supporting Prop 8. Boycotted business owners complain that their livelihoods are being threatened. Well, they should have thought about that before they decided to mess with the livelihoods of gay people by supporting a measure that affects property rights, insurance and social security benefits, and medical decisions.

Timothy Kincaid
December 14th, 2008 | LINK


Steve Lopez is not exactly a journalist. He’s a columnist who, in my experience, isn’t very careful about his facts.

This bleeding heart for the victim (whomever he as assigned as victim) is pretty typical of his writing.

Robert Goodman
December 15th, 2008 | LINK

O.k. I just had to comment on this. Let’s talk about one, Maggie Gallagher!
I did a little internet searching on this woman after I saw her on a recent Dr. Phil show. What I leared was, this woman, who claims to support “traditional marriage” and is pointing the finger at everyone and telling them how to live: 1) got knocked up in college (A SIN, the last time I read the Bible), had at least one child out of wedlock (ANOTHER SIN), either refused to marry the father or he refused to marry her, then lived FOR 10 YEARS as a single mother! What a hypocrite! If this was the 17th century and we were REALLY practicing “traditional marriage” Ms. Gallagher would have be a social outcast, living in shame with a big scarlet letter A plaster across her ass! We don’t have to take anything from this woman. All of these Yes on 8 people are full of shadows and hate. All we have to do is move the interrogator’s spot light from us TO THEM…AND THEN WATCH THEM SWIRM!!!

Timothy Kincaid
December 15th, 2008 | LINK


Please provide a source for your information about Maggie Gallagher.

Robert Goodman
December 15th, 2008 | LINK

Hi Timothy. Here are just a few. For more, just go to Google and type “maggie gallagher” + “single mother” Warm regards, Bob

1. Maggie seems to be really obsessed with the “sex makes babies” mantra. She revealed why when debated Dale Carpenter at the Cato Institute back in 2006. We reported on it here:
“Maggie Gallagher told her personal story at the Cato Institute forum in June. It seems that she had premarital sex, was impregnated, and was unable to convince the father to marry her. Her feeling of victimization as a single mother is what drives her mission to return the institution of marriage to its former role as authoritarian regulator of all sexuality. If same sex couples are denied the dignity and security of legal recognition, and GLBT people are demonized in the process, that’s just collateral damage…”
Comment by Jonathan — June 19, 2008 @ 3:11 am

Timothy Kincaid
December 15th, 2008 | LINK

thanks, Robert

December 16th, 2008 | LINK

I’m not sure why Robert would have provided those appallingly-broken links to googlecache instead of to active posts, but here’s the fixed link to my post on Maggie Gallagher redefines marriage.

Though I think there’s no need to dig for complex psychological reasons: others besides Gallagher have declared that marriage = the ability to have babies together.

Robert Goodman
December 17th, 2008 | LINK

Dear Jesurgislac,

In answer to your question, I provided the links that came up on Google. My intension was to be helpful to our mutual cause. I am a counselor, and obviously, not a computer expert. Frankly, I felt hurt to read your characterization of my efforts as “appallingly-broken links.” I understand that emotions are high right now, and people have a lot of justifiable anger. Let’s be careful, though, to not direct that anger unnecessarily onto each other. That is exactly what our opponents want.

Re: your next point, I think it is very important that we understand our opponents psychologically. This gives us insights we need to create and utilize strategies that are effective in managing them. This is one of the big mistakes of the “No on 8” campaign. Our leadership did not understand our opponents and we lost, at least in part, as a result. More important than this, though, we need to change the nature of our fight. For too long we have allowed ourselves to be on the defensive. This needs to change. Instead, we need to be scrutinizing our opponents and then using the same weapons (“tradition” and the Bible)they use against us on them. This is what African-Americans did in the Civil Rights Movement, and it worked.

Finally, I read your blog. You are very smart, and have a lot to contribute. I really hope we can work together to achieve our mutual goals. For me, that is full equality for all GLBT people throughout the world.

Warm regards,


December 26th, 2008 | LINK

You and your anti gay organization have become hate mongers by intimidating and destroying people just because of their beliefs…. without a doubt, history has shown you will lose that battle. I suggest a more subtle approach if you want to enter the mainstrem. In the words of Ghandi, hate has never, ever won in the long term. Think about it- is that not amazing?

Tom in Lazybrook
December 26th, 2008 | LINK

But being nice and sweet certainly isn’t doing us any good. So some of us are going to try being a little less nice. And a LOT less patient.

BTW, isn’t Maggie Gallagher the same woman who took undisclosed CASH payments to write ‘independent’ articles supporting her secret donors? Wouldn’t that make her pretty much a discredited writer?

Timothy Kincaid
December 27th, 2008 | LINK


No I don’t think she took cash.

She was paid by the Bush administration to support his “healthy family” programs in her column and in testimony before Congress. She failed to disclose this, and when she was confronted she tried to pass it off as an accident and that she would have supported them anyway.

So yes, she has long since lost all integrity and is pretty much discredited. But I think your details were a bit off.

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