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Posts for August, 2013

New Jersey: Maggie Gallagher Gets It Wrong

Rob Tisinai

August 21st, 2013

Maggie has finally weighed in on New Jersey’s law banning reparative therapy. She’s been holding off: “I will read the bill Chris Christie signed carefully before I issue any statement, if I do.”

Apparently Maggie didn’t read it carefully enough. She now says:

Governor Chris Christie has just put his name to a bill that uses the power of government to strip both parents and teenagers of the right to seek competent, professional help to live their life in accordance with their own values. The bill does not ban a specific kind of destructive therapy; it is a blanket ban on any licensed counseling professional helping any teenager who does not wish to act on gay (or transgender) desire. Not only efforts to change orientation but efforts to change behavior are forbidden, under penalty of law.

Governor Christie just endorsed a law that thus excludes many gay teens who wish to live in accordance with Bible-based values from the circle of care; he has outright banned chastity as a goal of counseling. [emphasis added]

Maggie’s careful reading was actually quite sloppy. I guess she’s alarmed by this part of the bill’s wording:

“sexual orientation change efforts” means the practice of seeking to change a person’s sexual orientation, including, but not limited to, efforts to change behaviors… [emphasis added]

If Maggie stopped reading there, then it might have sounded like a ban on chastity counseling. But if she’d kept going she’d have read section 2.b. in full:

except that sexual orientation change efforts shall not include…counseling that…does not seek to change sexual orientation.

In other words, therapists are allowed to try and change patients’ behaviors (gay or straight), as long as they don’t try to change patients’ sexual orientation (gay or straight). Christie has in no way “outright banned chastity as a goal of counseling.”

I can’t say that Maggie is deliberately lying. The bill’s structure is a bit confusing. Really, though, Maggie’s paid to get these things right. But she didn’t, so get ready to hear this grievously wrong talking point again and again.

 

It’s Only McCarthyism If We Do It

Jim Burroway

July 12th, 2013

That’s what Maggie Gallagher seems to believe:

Gay marriage advocates are trying to build up a boycott of Ender’s Game because of Orson Scott Card’s personal views on marriage. It seems very strange to me that so many artists and people on the left are supporting the idea that to make art in the mainstream you have to have the right political opinions. This used to be considered the heart of McCarthyism: loyalty oaths for filmmakers as the condition for working in the film industry. (These were imposed by the industry, not the government, remember, in response to public pressure).

It was just a little more than a year ago that the National Organization for Marriage, of which Gallagher is board chair, called for a boycott of Starbucks. I’ve grown to believe that organized boycotts are almost always futile in achieving their aims. That said, I do believe that we are all free to spend our money however we choose. I don’t purchase gasoline at Exxon on Mobil, and I don’t shop at Wal-Mart. And if the gross receipts for Ender’s Game opening night are going to be looked at as some kind of an economic referendum for Card, then I can safely say that I won’t be seeing the movie. It’s my money, and I just don’t feel like paying Card a dime of it, and I hope none of my friends or family members will either.

But if they do — if they want to see the movie because they loved the critically-aclaimed book, or because they’re interested in the star power of Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley, Aramis Knight, Hailee Steinfeld, Jimmy Pinchak, Viola Davis, and Abigail Breslin — then that’s no skin off of my nose either. Evil people are capable of producing great art, and it’s not axiomatic that their personal evil compromises that art, although I also think that it’s rare for that to occur. I’m not familiar with Ender’s Game to know whether it is tainted with Card’s vindictive viewpoints or not, although I am aware that it does infect other books that he wrote later.

But where I draw the line is here: ten years ago, Card wanted my very existence made criminal. Five years ago, if California had decided to legalize my marriage, he wasn’t just going to disagree with the outcome. He vowed “to destroy that government and bring it down.” So we’re not talking about a civil discussion over afternoon tea. Card has portrayed these issues in a stark struggle-to-the-death choice: it’s either us or him. And now he and his allies are crying foul because some of us are taking him at the very standard he established.

But in the final analysis, this isn’t a question of art or politics. It’s a question of commerce, as Gallagher helpfully clarified today:

But here’s what I believe about boycotts:

It’s fair to boycott a corporation as a corporation for something that corporation does as a corporation.

I think it’s unfair, destructive, and wicked to boycott a whole corporation because of the personal beliefs of one member of that corporation.

I think its repellent to boycott or blacklist an artist because of his personal views. It’s the heart of McCarthyism to me.

That said, people are free to buy tickets or not if they feel differently.

McCarthy, it must be remembered, was a powerful U.S. Senator who threatened to bring the power of the Federal Government down on Hollywood if it didn’t purge “communists,” however McCarthy alone chose to identify or define them,  from its midsts. That’s very different from citizens urging fellow citizens to refrain from buying something.

But setting aside Gallagher’s historically myopic view of McCarthyism, I think her attempt to draw a distinction around Card as an artist is unrealistic. I don’t see many homophobes going to a Lady Gaga concert, and I do see a lot of anti-gay activists denouncing pretty much whatever she does. When k.d. lang came out, she was met with boycotts of her records by country music stations across North America. Outside of the LGBT political arena, we can all recall the backlash against the Dixie Chicks when Natalie Maines took a distinctly anti-Bush stance at a 2003 concert in London. But despite the backlashes, art was never repressed. Card, Gaga, k.d., the Chicks were then and still are free to make their art with whatever points of view they see fit.

But when they sell it, we enter the land of commerce, and we are all free to decide whether we want to buy what they’re selling. And my money just won’t go from my pocket to Card’s. It’s as simple as that.

Our Opponents Do Not Understand Their Own Argument (and that’s how they like it)

Rob Tisinai

May 28th, 2013

I’m starting to think opponents of same-sex marriage talk to their followers and themselves the way I talk to my dogs.

Long ago I began saying to my Shepherd-mix Lucas, “Who is you? Who is you? You is you!” while roughly scratching his neck or flanks. It has no meaning but it doesn’t need one. The tone of voice is all that matters. It’s just a reassuring noise I make.

Maggie Gallagher offers much the same in the National Review, answering the question, “How does same-sex marriage affect marriage’s relationship to procreation, given infertile couples may marry?”

She begins with a pre-emptive warning:

I have made this argument repeatedly. I understand you either disagree with it or can’t hear it.

I see a third option right away: I can hear what she’s about to say, but I don’t disagree with it, because I don’t understand it. It has no meaning, and I’m no longer sure it’s meant to. I can’t say I disagree with something that’s no more than a meaningless reassuring noise.

Here it is:

Childless and older couples are part of the natural lifecycle of marriage. Their presence in the mix doesn’t imply anything about the relationship between marriage and procreation. They’ve always been there.

Let’s start with “the natural lifecycle of marriage.” What on earth does she mean? So many undefined terms: natural and lifecycle and even marriage — does she mean individual marriages or the institution itself? Alas, she merely drops this proposition as if it were self-evident when it’s really just opaque.

Perhaps (and this is the only sense I can make of it) she means it’s not unusual for specific married couples to go through periods of time in which they have no children, and then do have children, and then are too old to procreate. But of course that would have nothing to do with the question she claims to address, which concerns couples who are infertile or old for the entirety of their marriage, for whom these traits are not merely part of their marriage’s “lifecycle.”

And of those couples, can you truly say:

“Their presence in the mix doesn’t imply anything about the relationship between marriage and procreation.”

Of course not. Their presence “in the mix,” their eagerness to marry, the joy we feel for two 75 year-olds experiencing new love — all these things tell us that marriage is not solely about procreation, or even necessarily about procreation at all. Her statement to the contrary is so clearly false that it makes even less sense than me telling Lucas, “You is you!” which at least has the virtue of being true.

Finally, this:

They’ve always been there.

I have no idea what she means to establish. This is the part making me wonder if she’s referring not to individual marriages but to the institution itself, in which case…two things. First, she needs to back waaay up and explain what she means by the natural lifecycle of marriage as an institution. And second, she needs to recognize that if infertile and old couples have always been part of that institution, then procreation has never been a necessary part of the institution.

So her entire paragraph is meaningless. In her next paragraph, she goes further and establishes that even she doesn’t understand what she’s saying.

I went around saying for years “marriage matters because children need a mom and a dad” nobody ever said: that’s not true because infertile couples can marry. Never, not once. Sexual union of male and female who are co-parents in itself points to affirms, and regulates an ideal.

Of course no one has ever given Maggie that reply. It would make no sense. However…if Maggie were to say, “The only reason marriage matters is because children need a mom and dad,” it would be perfectly appropriate for us to answer, “That’s not true because infertile couples can marry.”*

And in fact, we do say such things to her. In fact, that’s the point of the question her whole argument is supposed to be answering.

And here’s where we get to Maggie’s fundamental flaw. She fails to see the enormous difference between these two statements:

  1. Responsible procreation is an important reason for marriage.
  2. Responsible procreation is the only important reason for marriage.

The first statement is true, but doesn’t rule out marriage for old, infertile, or same-sex couples.

The second statement might rule out such marriages (and if so, then all such marriages), but no one actually believes it — not even Maggie Gallagher.

Folks like Maggie, though, tend say #1 and then pretend they’ve established #2. It’s the only way they can make an argument people might agree with, might find plausible if they don’t look at it too closely, might endorse as long as it stays at the level of reassuring noise.

So I’m struck again by how Maggie opened her article:

I have made this argument repeatedly. I understand you either disagree with it or can’t hear it.

That’s ironic and appropriate. We’ve answered her argument repeatedly, but she literally cannot hear it. Why not? Because she does not understand her own argument, and until that’s fixed, she cannot possibly hear our reply.


*We might also point out the she’s never been able to prove or even offer evidence that children need a mom and dad. The closest she’s ever come is to show kids do best in a stable, loving home with two committed parents.

Maggie’s column retires

A Commentary

Timothy Kincaid

January 3rd, 2013

For seventeen years, Maggie Gallagher has written a bi-weekly column hosted by Universal Uclick on matters of family from a conservative, mostly Catholic perspective. Yesterday was her last.

Gallagher has been a nationally syndicated columnist for over 17 years; Universal Uclick launched her first column in June of 1995. She began publishing a column twice a week, but for the last three years has written a column once a week. Maggie is particularly known for writing about life, sex, babies, marriage, and culture–culture war topics but with a civility and grace that seeks to explain, not denounce.

And, until recently, that’s a fair assessment. When I began blogging at BTB, I understood Maggie to be a gracious person motivated by a firm belief that a culture based on the teachings of her church was to the advantage of all. There were, and are, haters aplenty – but Maggie was not someone I considered in that category.

But she was writing at that time for the team that appeared to be winning. All the points on the scoreboard were on her side and its not so hard to be magnanimous to the folks you just stomped all over.

But political will has shifted. Equality is now the presumed eventual winner. It’s harder to be nice.

And it’s also tough to become the face of the enemy. To be considered Hater-in-Chief when you do not see yourself in those terms at all. Maggie went into the marriage battle believing that she was on good terms with gay people and simply had the opposite side in a civil debate over how best marriage should be constructed. She found herself the most hated woman since Anita Bryant.

And, I believe it got to her. Her speeches picked up tones of bitterness and anger. And as the issue became increasingly personal, Maggie’s activism shifted from supporting the existing exclusions in marriage to opposing gay rights generally and, at times, gay people. She became what her critics said she was.

And that is sad. Not only for her but for us.

As the nation moves on the path to fuller inclusion, we are all best served by opposition that is driven by principle rather than animated by animus. Our arguments are best honed on the rebuttal of those who seek not our destruction but simply want what is best for the nation.

And that is what Maggie was at one important point on our journey.

Yes the end of Maggie’s column is another victory for equality. It is one more indication that the war is won and now we are just fighting the battles that lead to terms of peace.

But it is also – to me anyway – a sad thing. I think our culture was strengthened by her firm voice and it was, indeed, the presentation of our opponents’ best arguments that allowed us this victory. She stated her best case, and spoke with courage and passion, but ultimately the nation heard her clearly and rejected her view.

Maggie will continue writing and speaking. But is is a shadow of her confident period. Now there is defeat in her eyes and desperation in her encouragement. Her time has passed and her voice has been quieted.

What ELSE Might They Be Wrong About?

Rob Tisinai

November 15th, 2012

Oh, it’s time for some fun. When Obama endorsed marriage equality back in May, the National Organization had something to say about it. It’s time to glance back at those statements and see just how well NOM understands America. I’ve bolded some of the juiciest bits in case you’re short on time, but the full quotes are worth reading, especially if you’re feeling especially schadenfreudy.

Let’s start with this headline, glorious in its certainty:

SSM Will Cost Obama Re-election Bid

The Obama campaign is beholden to gay marriage financiers and is counting on an energized base to carry him to victory this November. But it’s an approach that is likely to backfire, alienating large parts of the constituency that carried him to victory in 2008…President Obama’s announcement is likely to spark a divisive battle over same-sex marriage in the Democratic Party platform this summer. Same-sex marriage will be a defining issue in swing states, especially states like Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida and Nevada where state marriage amendments are threatened by President Obama’s position.

NOM gave us this quote from their favorite political consultant, full of sagacity and wisdom:

Frank Schubert: Obama’s Gay Marriage Gambit A Pinball Loser

The left is jumping for joy at their accomplishment, forcing President Obama out of the closet on gay marriage. Their celebration will be short-lived, though, because they have very likely cost him the presidency. The presidential election is not going to be decided in states like California where George Clunie and Nancy Pelosi are cheering President Obama’s gay marriage “evolution,” but based on how voters in a series of swing states cast their ballots – states like North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Colorado and Nevada. President Obama and his buddies on the left have thrust the issue of same-sex marriage front and center in these swing states. How is that going to play? Not well for Obama.

Here’s NOM in all its foot-stamping determination:

NOM Promises Pro-Marriage Americans Will Defeat Obama This November For Abandoning Marriage

The definition of marriage was already headed for the ballot in four states this fall; now it will be one of the defining issues of the presidential election. No state in this country has ever voted for gay marriage. Just yesterday North Carolina voters sent a clear message that America wants to preserve marriage. We intend to win the marriage debate this November.

And you might say this one backfired on them:

Obama Abandons Marriage. Will America Stand For It? NOM Marriage News

Pres. Obama may be basking in the applause of the media, and rolling in cash from his gay millionaire bundlers, but American now has a clear choice: a president who supports gay marriage or one who stands with the majority of the American people.

How did that “clear choice” work out for you NOM?

That’s just a sampling. Browse their blog and you’ll find many more:

NOM’s Peters: Socially Conservative Democrats Will “Jump Ship” Over Obama’s Marriage Betrayal

Maggie Gallagher: Obama’s Gay Marriage Support Will Help Romney in 2012

NRO: Recent Polling Shows Romney Pulling Ahead Because of Marriage

This is sinfully delicious. NOM is currently in full damage control mode right, inventing reason after reason why they didn’t really lose on November 6. But no matter what they say now, they were simply, fully, and woefully wrong about Obama, marriage equality, and America. Instead of rationalizing away their disaster, they ought to be asking:

If we were so wrong about this, what else might we be wrong about?

But I suppose if they were that thoughtful and aware, they wouldn’t be in the business they’re in.

Maggie’s Freudian slip

Timothy Kincaid

November 7th, 2012

Writing in National Review Online, the National Organization for Marriage’s Maggie Gallagher opined with her observations about what drove last night’s election results:

The Obama electorate defeated marriage. I’m guessing we lose at least three of tonight’s four races, and maybe four of the four. We were outspent eight-to-one — and no one was willing to speak for marriage, while the whole Democratic establishment and Hollywood campaigned for marriage. Last night really is a big loss, no way to spin it.

Catch it?

“…the whole Democratic establishment and Hollywood campaigned for marriage.”

Not “campaigned against traditional marriage”, not “campaigned for articifical marriage”. No, Maggie got it right.

The Democratic establishment and Hollywood (and a whole lot of others) campaigned FOR MARRIAGE, for the integrity and dignity of a treasured institution that it not be sullied by exclusion or animus or smug superiority.

(oh, and someone slip Brian Brown a note about spinning)

The case for Romney

Timothy Kincaid

November 5th, 2012

There aren’t many good reasons for a gay person to vote for Mitt Romney this year. But anti-gay activist* Maggie Gallagher presents his best case, such as it is. She, of course, doesn’t see it as such: (National Review)

Meanwhile the GOP elites’ tactical decision to ignore social issues totally is not helping. The major Romney super PACs are “truce” PACs, refusing to run any social-issue ads at all — except the one saying Romney actually supports abortion in some cases. Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Iowa, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina — these are all states where, if voters learned how extreme President Obama is on abortion and gay marriage, it would help Romney.

Social conservatives are absent from this election. Their money isn’t being used in any visible way to organize voters. If Romney loses, this will be part of the reason why.

If Romney wins — and I think he will — look for an intense effort to finally push social issues out of the party.

I guess that would be the silver lining to hope for. Or, at least, a ‘lighter shade of gray’ lining

* There was a time when I would have held off on calling Maggie an anti-gay activist. But her rhetoric has, in the past few years, broadened from being opposed to equality due to her concerns about its feared consequences to comments that can only be seen as expressing contempt for, or superiority over, gay people. And NOM has veered into blatant homophobia and gay baiting. It’s about a half-step from being a hate group.

Maggie Gallagher: “I Need a Picture… He’s Black, He’s On Our Side”

Jim Burroway

March 27th, 2012

Louis Marinelli, the National Organization for Marriage’s former tour organizer, is updating this post with more emails illustrating NOM’s implementation of their previously secret strategy documents pitting African-Americans against fellow LGBT citizens. Those emails seem to show Maggie Gallagher’s growing obsession with pictures of black people. One email, titled, “I need a close-up photo of Bishop Battle for the newsletter tomorrow) explains the need in very simple terms: “He’s black, he’s on our side, he’s COGIC (Church of God in Christ)” Another email following a rally in Washington, D.C. has Gallagher giving this direction:

I’m told the rally was two-thirds blacks. All the photos we have up are taken behind white people. Any phot (sic) that shows the crowd as it was. Please send it to me and Eve tushnet (sic) for use in this week’s newsletter. I would also like a photo of Faunteroy for the Newsletter.

And think it should go up on the blog. Maggie

Here are two photos from the D.C. rally. It looks like Maggie heard wrong. Marinelli says more revelations are coming.

Understanding Maggie

Timothy Kincaid

February 8th, 2012

Maggie Gallagher doesn’t hate you. She doesn’t even hate your marriage. Because hate is an emotion, a passionate feeling, and emotion simply doesn’t enter into Maggie’s approach to her work. Hers is a world of thought, of commitment to an ideal, the concept of marriage, and her analytical approach to affirming its unquestionable attributes and values.

Or so finds Mark Oppenheimer in a new Slate article that seeks to understand the motivations and drives of Maggie Gallagher the author and activist and how that person differs from Maggie Gallagher the mother, wife, and friend. This is a valuable look into Maggie’s world, one that each of us should know as we continue our fight for equality.

NOM Manufactures Some Outrage

Rob Tisinai

January 31st, 2012

NOM’s blog has a new post up, with its most outrageously outraged headline ever, about NJ Gov. Christie nominating an openly gay man to the state Supreme Court:

Tell Christie to Withdraw Nomination of Pro-SSM Judge For Extremist Views Equating Christianity and Slavery

The basis for their outrage? A letter written by nominee Bruce Harris in 2009 to State Senator Joe Pennacchio about marriage equality:

When I hear someone say that they believe marriage is only between a man and a woman because that’s the way it’s always been, I think of the many “traditions” that deprived people of their civil rights for centuries: prohibitions on interracial marriage, slavery, (which is even provided for in the Bible), segregation, the subservience of women, to name just a few of these “traditions.”

I hope that you consider my request that you re-evaluate your position and, if after viewing the videos, reading Governor Whitman’s letter and thinking again about this issue of civil rights you still oppose same-sex marriage on grounds other than religion I would appreciate it if you you’d explain your position to me. And, if the basis of your opposition is religious, then I suggest that you do what the US Constitution mandates—and that is to maintain a separation between the state and religion.

Maggie Gallagher surprised me by calling this letter “intemperate” in the National Review. Really? The only problem mistake I saw was the comma after “slavery” (this is why no one invites me to parties). It wasn’t until NOMblog picked up the story that I saw her objection.

But is it valid? Does Harris equate Christianity and slavery? Of course not.

The only link between slavery and Christianity in Harris’s letter is a factual parenthetical that is factual which factually points out that the Bible in fact factually provides for slavery. Which is a fact. Harris is just pointing out something that theologians have been grappling with for centuries, including many who created Christian arguments against slavery.  It’s no crime merely to point out that these verses exist (or to warn against a glibly literal application of the Book to public policy). In fact, it’s anti-Biblical to pretend the verses aren’t there.

Harris’s letter does three simple things:

  1. It cautions against using tradition as an argument against marriage equality.
  2. It cautions, on Constitutional grounds, against using religion as an argument against marriage equality.
  3. It politely requests information on what other grounds the good Senator might be opposing marriage equality.

Bruce Harris’s letter is clear, temperate, factual attempt to point out some truths and open an honest dialog. Maybe that’s why Maggie and NOM hate it so.

Maggie’s Strategy: Denying Reality

Rob Tisinai

January 27th, 2012

I got a fundraising email from Maggie Gallagher the other day. It’s unbelievably long (as in, I can’t believe she expects people to read this whole thing). One sentence jumped out at me before I gave up on the piece.

Are two men pledged in a sexual union really a marriage?

Personally I’d answer, No.

Actually, I’d blink twice, tilt my head, squint quizzically, and then answer, No. Mostly because I don’t know many men who have pledged to each other in a merely sexual relationship.

On the other hand, suppose Maggie had asked:

Are two men in romantic relationship — who have pledged to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, from this day forward until death does them part — in a marriage?

I’d answer, Of course.

But of course, Maggie didn’t write that. She knows it would devastate her argument. She knows the only way she can win is to deny that such a commitment is even possible between two men. That’s why NOM’s website contains this false and dehumanizing assertion:

Love is a great thing. But marriage isn’t just any kind of love; it’s the special love of husband and wife for each other and their children.

‘Cause you see, two men can’t feel that kind of love. Not for each other. Not for their kids.

Maggie’s key strategy here is denial of reality. We see the same thing in different words from NOM’s resident intellectual (God help them) Jennifer Roback Morse, who claims marriage equality will reduce the institution to nothing more than a “registry of friendships.”

Again: denial of reality. And it truly is offensive. Compare it to statements like these:

  • But marriage isn’t just any kind of love; it’s the special love of two white people for each other and their children.
  • But marriage isn’t just any kind of love; it’s the special love of two non-Jews for each other and their children.
  • But marriage isn’t just any kind of love; it’s the special love of Gringich and his woman-of-the-moment for each other and their children.

Well, perhaps that last item doesn’t belong. But those first two statements are no less offensive than what NOM wrote about gay and lesbian relationships.

Okay, that last bit was kind of a tangent. My real point here is that our opponents resort to this rhetorical strategy all the time. We need to point out that it’s not just false, but self-defeating. Not just wrong, but devastating to their own argument. We need to Gingrich ourselves up (rhetorically, not maritally), stop playing defense, and turn their words against them. We need to say:

No. It’s not just a sexual union. It’s not just a friendship. And if you can’t make your case by calling things what they are, then you don’t have a case at all.

Maggie Gallagher endorses Rick Santorum

Timothy Kincaid

January 16th, 2012

National Organization for [Catholic] Marriage’s Maggie Gallagher has endorse Pope Rick, as was anticipated. In doing so, she had far less to say about his policies or qualifications than she did about the meanies who are mocking the candidate:

They will go after him not just to defeat Rick Santorum, but to smear his good name, to associate it with their own muck, to take a decent and honorable man and try literally to make his name mean mud.

Oh, Maggie, no one is trying to literally make his name mean mud! Even a box of rocks knows that.

The box of rocks is very familiar with mud and considers mud to be a good friend. But it tries to keep a garden hose handy if there is any chance of coming in contact with santorum.

Study confirms Maggie Gallagher’s claim

Timothy Kincaid

December 19th, 2011

Maggie Gallagher, the nation’s chief opponent to marriage equality, loves to claim that marriage is good for society because those who are married live healthier lives. And a new study appears to confirm that claim.

From the NY Daily News

A report published in the American Journal of Public Health shows that in states where gay marriage is legal, homosexual men visit doctors less and their health costs go down considerably.

“Our results suggest that removing these barriers improves the health of gay and bisexual men,” Mark Hatzenbuehler, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, said in a news release

Of course, Maggie only meant heterosexuals who are married. Alas.

I didn’t really need a study to know that those who are in committed relationships take fewer risks, enjoy greater contentment, and have someone there to nag them about their weight. But it’s nice to have confirmation… Of sorts.

To be honest, I don’t place much faith in this actual study. Comparing one year to another year in one clinic has about as much statistical value as guessing. But I guess it did at least show that enacting equality doesn’t lead to increased health costs – as The Peter absurdly likes to imply.

But Maggie and her NOM buddies just love statistically irrelevant studies and if she were consistent she’d see this as evidence in favor of marriage equality.

So does that mean Maggie will switch sides and support marriage? Nope. Even if this were irrefutable proof that marriage equality would improve the health of ever gay person with no negative consequences for anyone gay or straight, Maggie would still fight to keep inequality in place. Because your health is a far far lower priority than having her church get to dictate what law and culture should allow.

Maggie Gallagher Lies. Or Forgets. Or Something.

Rob Tisinai

December 9th, 2011

Maggie Gallagher ought to remember that her opponents know how to Google.

Today, over on NOMblog, she offers us this:

I would like to say personally that nothing in any argument I’ve ever made on gay marriage, rests on the idea that same-sex couples harm their own children at any higher rates than any other family form.

Really? How about this, from January 28, 2010, in which Maggie reports on a study about child abuse, a study that didn’t look at same-sex couples:

Question: What kind of family structure best protects children from child abuse?

Answer: Married biological parents. (see page 5-25).

Children living with both their mom and dad united by marriage have one-third the rate of serious child abuse, compared to children in any other family structure.

Here’s my question for Ted [Olsen] and David [Boies] as they strive to prove that Science Says same-sex unions are just like opposite-sex ones, when it comes to children.

Perhaps you are right. Perhaps alone of all the family structures science has ever studied, children living with same-sex couples do just as well as children in intact married families…

But does this study, which is one of hundreds with similar results favoring the natural family give Ted Olson and David Boies pause late at night as they assert the scientific irrationality of respect for the natural family at all I wonder? Ted and David, I’m wondering: not even a little bit?

Here we have Maggie arguing that we should think twice about gay marriage because it’s possible same-sex couples harm their own children at a higher rate married biological parents do — a possibility she admits is completely unsupported by evidence, even as she couches it in terms that make it sound likely.

Now what did she just claim today?

I would like to say personally that nothing in any argument I’ve ever made on gay marriage, rests on the idea that same-sex couples harm their own children at any higher rates than any other family form.

Google, Maggie, Google.

Hating the Sin. Not Giving a Damn About the Sinner.

Rob Tisinai

October 26th, 2011

Will is a full-time student with a part-time job. I work for a big company with spectacular benefits. And as of January 1, Will’s going to be covered under my medical and dental plans, because my firm has a provision for domestic partners.

Yay.

Our opponents often blast companies for offering such benefits, and are dead-set against having state, local, or federal governments offer such a thing.

Sometimes the objections are foul. It’ll cost too much money! It would be awful to let a straight person’s spouse die of lingering treatable cancer, but it’s just good fiscal sense to strand homos in medical hell.

Sometimes the objections are patently false, like Maggie Gallagher’s naive belief that two working spouses will each naturally take care of their own health insurance.

And sometimes the objections are just plain ignorant, as when Maggie claims that not being allowed to marry offers this super-cool benefit: “the ability to walk away from a partner’s medical debts.”

!

Wait, that’s not enough.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Maggie may be legally correct, but she’s morally ignorant.  What makes her think I value this ability to “walk away”?  Will’s medical bills — and general welfare — are my responsibility, just as mine are his.  That doesn’t change just because we’re in a same-sex committed relationship.  Is that so impossible to understand?

Our religious opponents continually claim they hate the “sin” but love the “sinner.” But it’s this sort of thing — this exact sort of thing — that shows how meagerly our opponents understand us, how little they even care to understand us, and how empty their claim is of sweetly and religiously loving us.

Not so skurrred

Timothy Kincaid

September 22nd, 2011

Once it became evident that Perry v. Schwarzenegger – the Proposition 8 trial – would be followed closely by the public and once it was abundantly clear that those supporting Proposition 8 had nothing to offer in its defense but speculation, tradition, and animus, the Proponents knew they had to do something. So they insisted that the case not be shown to the citizens, going so far as the Supreme Court.

But you can’t tell the court (or the public) that your witnesses aren’t going to witness because they will look like fools, so the Proponents came up with a unique explanation. Gays are violent threatening people and the witnesses are terrified of repercussions. (Washington Times)

“Brian Brown, executive director of the National Organization for Marriage, which campaigned for Proposition 8 but isn’t a party to the case, said he is worried about the safety of witnesses, who could include contributors, campaign staff and volunteers.

‘The question is really whether Judge Walker can put people on the stand where they can be threatened,’ said Mr. Brown. ‘It’s a question of people’s safety.’

But Brian Brown and his integrity parted ways long ago. In reality, none of the witnesses – indeed, no anti-gay activists – fear gay people. Our community is one which has been welcoming and a safe place for pretty much anyone.

Surely there is no person in this country more singularly associated with the campaign to deny gay people their civil marriage rights than Maggie Gallagher… the same Maggie Gallagher who went alone to a theatrical production this week where she knew that the overwhelming majority of people around her would be gay.
Because she knew she’d be safe.

Confirmed: Maggie Gallagher Steps Down As NOM Board Chair

Jim Burroway

September 22nd, 2011

Following an earlier Tweet from an AP reporter, the National Organization for Marriage has now confirmed that Maggie Gallagher is stepping down as board chair, and that John Eastman has been tapped for the position. According to NOM’s press release:

Dr. John Eastman is the former Dean of Chapman University Law School in California and is the Founding Director of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, a public interest law firm associated with the Claremont Institute. He has participated in over 50 cases in our nation’s highest courts, including such landmark cases as the Pledge of Allegiance case, the Boy Scouts of America case, the Ohio school vouchers case, the Kelo case involving property takings, and the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act case. Dr. Eastman is a former clerk to United States Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. He received his J.D. from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in government and political philosophy from Claremont Graduate School.

…John Eastman stated, “Marriage has quite correctly been described as a bedrock of civilization. Protecting the institution of marriage is a critically important issue, and I’m honored to join such distinguished company on the Board of such a phenomenally effective organization as the National Organization for Marriage.”

The press release also quotes Gallagher:

“I will remain on the NOM board, and continue to work on specific projects for NOM, as well as taking on some additional outside projects I’ve long deferred, such as finishing my book Debating Same-Sex Marriage¸ which I’ve been working on for Oxford University Press with Prof. John Corvino,” Gallagher added.

Maggie Gallagher Out at NOM?

Jim Burroway

September 22nd, 2011

That’s what AP reporter David Crary tweeted:

John Eastman’s bio at Chapman University is here. He’s an attorney and founding director of the conservative Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, which is affiliated with the Claremont Institute, dedicated to “restor[ing] the principles of the American founding fathers to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life. Eastman is also a former law clerk for US Supreme Court Justice Clarance Thomas. We’ll have more as this develops.

Maggie Gallagher Attends Staged Reading of “8″ In New York

Jim Burroway

September 20th, 2011

National Organization for Marriage founder Maggie Gallagher was in the balcony of the Eugene O’Neil Theater for the all-star world premiere of Dustin Lance Black’s new play “8″, which is based on the trial transcripts of Perry v Schwarzenegger, the federal court case which declared California’s Proposition 8 unconstitutional. The play featured all the major courtroom figures, with John Lithgow as Ted Olson, Morgan Freeman as David Boies, Bradley Whitford as Alliance Defense Fund attorney Charles Cooper, and Jayne Houdyshell as Maggie Gallagher. Meanwhile, Gallagher herself was sitting in the balcony, grazing away:

My friends Phil and Ronald sat directly in front of her. You can see Ronald in the top photo. They had a hard time listening to the show because along with her nerve, Ms. Gallagher brought a large plastic bag of loud food, which she rustled and munched throughout the production (she’s still got it on the way out). Perhaps she thought it was a popcorn flick she was going to. In any case, someone should have told her that it’s rude, perhaps even against the rules, to eat in the theatre.

Much of the play was taken directly from the trial transcripts themselves, interspersed with screenings from the Yes on 8 campaign. The transcripts are part of the public record, although the video recordings taken during the trial are not — yet. The reading was a fundraiser for Americans for Equal Rights, who are backing the Prop 8 litigation on behalf of California couples. Other cast members included Ellen Barkin, Kate Shindle, Stephen Spinella, Matt Bomer, Campbell Brown, Anthony Edwards, Cheyenne Jackson, Larry Kramer, Rob Riener, and many more.

Maggie Gallagher Pines for Pawlenty

Jim Burroway

August 5th, 2011

These eyes are for Pawlenty.

She also has designs on Perry. National Organization for Marriage’s Maggie Gallagher appeared on CBN to discuss NOM’s marriage pledge which has already been signed by Minnesota Rep. Michelle Bachman, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. The wide-ranging pledge (CBN’s interviewer strangely called it “narrowly-written”) calls on GOP presidential candidates to:

  • Support the Federal Marriage Amendment defining marriage as one man and one woman,
  • Defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court,
  • Apply a marriage litmus test for judges and the attorney general,
  • Appoint a presidential commission to investigate so-called “harassment” of traditional marriage supporters,
  • Demand that marriage be put to a vote in the District of Columbia.

Gallagher expects Texas gov. Rick Perry to sign the pledge one he officially announces his candidacy. But one major holdout,  Minnesota gov. Tim Pawlenty, has Gallagher pleading for his support:

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Well we will certainly offer the opportunity to Governor Rick Perry and any other major candidates who step into the race. We understand that before you’re declared candidate it would probably not be appropriate to start signing pledges. The big question is what’s going to happen with Governor Tim Pawlenty, who explicitly declined to sign NOM’s marriage pledge this week. We’re hoping the governor changes his mind because we think it’s pretty peculiar for governor Pawlenty, who has been a champion for marriage in Minnesota, to refuse to do the same for the people of America.

Gallagher is counting on victories in passing anti-marriage amendments in Minnesota and North Carolina, and expects a rollback on marriage in New Hampshire in January.

Click here to read the full transcript.

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