In Maggie Gallagher’s recent debate with Andrew Sullivan at the Cato Institute over whether there is a place for gay people in conservatism and conservative politics, the following exchange took place:
Sullivan: Can you name a single gay person who agrees with you?
Gallagher: Yes… I told you, I have them. They work for me.
Sullivan: Name them.
Gallager: Well no, I’m not going to name them. Because I’m not going to out them.
Sullivan: Why not? Earlier you said you don’t want to out an openly gay person?
Gallagher: As being anti-gay marriage, I’ll let them do it. I’m not outing them as being gay, I’m outing them as being on my side.
Not very many, but I do know them…
She goes on for a while giving illustrations of secret confessions of support and emails.
But setting aside Maggie’s flustered blunder and momentary honesty (she never admits to being “anti gay marriage”, only in favor of retaining blah blah blah), the important point that Andrew identified is that even considering the large number of conservative gay men and women, and even considering that our community is very diverse in age, culture, attitudes, religion, and perspective, no one is willing to publicly support Maggie Gallagher and her campaign against their rights.
So who, then, are these hand full of gay people who are secretly “anti-gay marriage”, in Maggie’s words. And why is it so important that she “know them.”
I’ll answer the second part first.
I believe that Maggie thinks of herself as a good person. She doesn’t want to acknowledge that she is engaging in deliberately hurtful, unjust, and discriminatory behavior. She doesn’t want to think of her motivations as being based in bias, animus, and religious supremacy.
Behind all of her “don’t call us haters” mantra is a real fear that she, truly, might be acting out of less than admirable instincts. She doesn’t want to even consider that possiblity, so it is the one thing that she finds most objectionable.
So it is extremely important that Maggie know people who can confirm to her that she isn’t hurting them. If I read her correctly, in order that she not see herself as being homophobic, she needs to believe that some gays – the ones who truly value the country and not their own selfish interests – agree with her. So, like every politician who doesn’t want to be seen as evil, she now “has gay friends”.
But who are these mythical gay friends that we never ever seem to meet?
Well, we do now have an answer in part. From none other than the National Organization for Marriage, of whom Maggie is the voice and face.
This comes from the amicus brief that NOM filed to support Proposition 8 in Perry v. Schwarzenegger:
Even at least a few gay people oppose gay marriage (see, e.g., “Gays Defend Marriage,” at http://www.gaysdefendmarriage.com), and we welcome their participation as fellow citizens in our shared mission.
Oh, yes, I kid you not. Maggie’s “gays that agree with her” are epitomized by David Benkof. Yes, a celibate convert to Orthodox Judaism who spent a brief period trying to convince the world that he was just an ordinary gay guy who was concerned about marriage. Yep, the same one who is “gay” or “bisexual” or “not gay” or anything else he thinks will be convincing at the moment.
Yes, Maggie’s gays – or at least the one she presents – are sad, sad creatures indeed.
(hat tip to reader Mel, with whom I incorrectly argued about whether this exchange took place)