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An Open Letter to Maggie Gallagher

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Maggie you called me out yesterday in the National Review for referring to your comments about marriage equality as “monstrous.” Sorry, but they were. And continue to be.

Here’s what I said:

I’ve been really understanding of Maggie Gallagher since meeting her. I may vehemently disagree with her on every point, but I did think the rhetoric could become more civil. Less name calling, more substance. But honestly, her latest just ticks me off to no end.

“A society that is serious about marriage would gently stand up to gay people and say ‘not this, not now.’ Changes in law are hard to undo, once they are institutionalized. I did not decide to debate gay marriage, gay-marriage advocates did. I responded to the challenge.”

Wait our turn, Maggie? On civil rights? While teenagers kill themselves each day because they feel less than? That’s condescending and heartless. Monstrous, actually.

Maggie Gallagher

When we met a few months ago at a reception following a gay marriage debate you had with Andrew Sullivan, you were really quite charming, and we had a perfectly affable conversation on matters mostly unrelated to marriage equality.

I have endeavored since that meeting to be more civil in discussions about your advocacy and have become more sensitive to (and distressed by) the personal attacks I sometimes see directed at you.

I’ve tried to stick to what you say, while attempting to understand what you mean, since they are two entirely different things in most cases. You’re a master of knowing your audience, and you were honestly an engaging person to talk to at that Washington & Lee reception. We agree on nearly nothing, but I took from that evening that you were a human being, and deserved to be treated as such. I still believe that.

But the things you say are monstrous. Particularly because they put a polite and kindly gloss on something that at its heart is very ugly and does damage to a lot of people.

“Not this, not now?” Sorry, but marriage equality is NOT an affront to civilized society, and when you hold it out as such, you make it harder for gay youth who through no fault of their own are stuck in communities and families that say they and their relationships are “less than” their friends who are straight.

When organizations that you have been key in guiding like the National Organization for Marriage plan to encourage children of gay parents to speak out against them, you hurt real families. When NOM planned to divide this country based on race, you hurt an even wider audience, opening wounds that are yet to heal and go back hundreds of years.

Your words, however civil on their face, create fear, division, and distrust. When the affiliated Ruth Institute publishes snippets of essays by anti-gay folks like Michael Brown, and then link to stories hinting at gay men being pedophiles, you knowingly foment the prejudices of others far less “civil” than you. This is uncivil. This is monstrous.

You’re like those sweet little ladies from Arsenic and Old Lace. So charming… and yet serving up poison in their tea. Their behavior was monstrous too.

There’s a calculated pattern to the way you fashion yourself the victim here. Jeremy Hooper at Good As You captured it perfectly in discussing “the two Maggies.”

You play to the audience you’re faced with, and you’re perfectly charming to the side you’re facing, while stirring up as much animosity as possible. Then if someone calls you out on what you say, you choose to label yourself a helpless victim, who just happens to get booked on CNN and MSNBC regularly to spread divisiveness to a wide audience while quietly publishing hate to the right.

That’s not a victim, that’s a power player, and honestly, I can almost respect that. But I don’t have to let it go unchallenged, and I have absolutely no qualms about calling it monstrous.

I’m certain that we’ll meet again, Maggie. And when we do, I’m sure we’ll each have a brownie like we did in Virginia, and engage in a lively, polite discussion, because that’s what adults who disagree do. But I won’t be drinking your tea with it.

© After Elton.
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9 more reader comments:

  1. Bitch had better never cross my path.

    Posted on Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 9:10am
  2. Her and John Corvino have a debate-style book coming out soon on same-sex marriage

    Posted on Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 9:14am
  3. fat bitch with no friends and to much time on her hands

    Posted on Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 9:30am
  4. Calling names and insulting people aren’t bettering the LGBT community, stop it.

    Posted on Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 10:37am
  5. hate is not a nice thing

    Posted on Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 1:19pm
  6. i find it increasingly difficult to deal with people like her. i have had much experience in doing it, sadly, but i do not want to spend the rest of my life challenging the likes of her. she is an ignorant, ill researched, ill informed, malicious liar. whatever glibness she employs to spread her particular brand of venom, she is a liar. she has taken pages from the anita bryant homophobic rant song book and set them to her own tunes. chanting, derisive, hateful music which deserves to be permanently silenced. she is a liar. she deserves no credence, or attention. she is a bigot and liar.

    Posted on Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 1:39pm
  7. MOO MOO.

    Posted on Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 5:56pm
  8. I had to read her research for a graduate seminar on gender, sexuality, and families. It was an end-of-quarter “look at how bad this is” assignment. From a purely academic standpoint, her theoretical and methodological frameworks are incredibly flawed. For example, she treats marital status as a causal variable with the same power as race, class, and gender, which is a complete misunderstanding of causal order and, you know, TIME. It’s an embarrassment that her book with Linda Waite (“The Case for Marriage”) is a frequently cited work.

    All of that’s not even getting at her ethical problems, which are probably the reason her “scholarship” is so flawed: manipulation and popularity are incredibly important to her message. The civility and rhetoric she brings to the table are informed by a deep misunderstanding of the thing she’s fighting against, whether intentional or not.

    Posted on Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 10:19pm
  9. equality is for every american, not a select few

    Posted on Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 11:15pm