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12/10/2009

Maggie's talking points (now with 8x more bullsh*t!)

by Jeremy Hooper

Maggie Gallagher, desperate to rip the train of history off of its naturally progressive path in order to justify her modern day discrimination, has come up with eight reasons why marriage equality is supposedly not an inevitable.

This writer, determined to remove the unnecessary and hurtful obstacles so that all human beings may someday be able to know peace, has gladly taken on Maggie's new OctoBomb.

Let's begin:

Maggie's Top Eight Reasons Why Gay Marriage Is Not Inevitable

1. Nothing is inevitable.

We are talking about the future here. It's weird to have "reporting" that something that has not yet happened will certainly happen. The future is never inevitable.

Maggie's first mistake is also her biggest (and one she/we will revisit throughout this post). The underlying problem: Her seeming belief that we are talking about "the future," even though marriage equality (I refuse to call it 'gay marriage') is already here! Realistically. Tangibly. To have and to hold. It's here, it's queer -- many people are used to it.

How do I know this? Well here, have a look:

200912100759-1

200912100801
200912100802

Yes, that's right: I, a man, am legally married. To a man. And I have not (yet) perfected time-traveling technology. Both I and my husband exist here in the present.

So it's not the reporting that's weird, like Maggie suggests. What's truly weird is the way she has, of late, taken to referring to marriage equality as if it's some crazy conceptual notion. Especially considering that this is a year that we began with two marriage equality states, and are ending with (at least) five.

Moving on...

2. Young people are not as unanimous as most people think.

In California, the young-adults vote split 55 percent to 45 percent. Is it so hard to imagine 5 percent of those young people changing their minds as they move through the life cycle?

This is such bogus statistical logic! Because yea, of course some percentage of current young voters will change their mind towards the discriminatory. But it's absurd to act as if they will move away in great numbers. This is a generation that is coming to know same-sex marriage as a non-issue. A generation that has always known and embraced openly LGBT celebrities. There is simply no comparing the current crop of teens and twentysomethings with those that come before.

And of course the incoming younger populations are sure to be even more accepting. Plus we know that voter apathy (which kills us in younger populations) also decreases with age. And of course older Americans, who on this issue are the unfortunate victims of their time, will be replaced with the younger. And so on, and so on.

Maggie acts as if this one crop of voters are the only ones who will move through life, with all other factors will remaining stagnant. That short-sighted view is her second mistake.

**UPDATE: It should also be noted that CNN exit polling showed 18-29 year-olds coming down at a 61%-39% margin, not 55/45.

3. The argument from despair is bait and switch.

They are trying push the idea that gay marriage is inevitable, because they are losing the argument that gay marriage is a good idea.

Mistake number three: Suggesting that the "inevitability" argument is something new, and that it's born out of some devious strategy. In truth: Those of us who have been fighting for LGBT rights have always been saying that our fair and decent treatment is inevitable. That's because it is. And when we say it now, it's not because we are in such a state of "despair" about our chances (again, remember that we are up three states this year). The reason why we continue to make this claim is because we genuinely think, based on a number of factors, that it continues to be true!

The idea that we have lost on the "good idea" argument is also hogwash, primarily because it's not the line that has ever been in the lead role of this epic play. Maybe some have used marriage equality's virtues as their leading argument. But as an organized movement, this certainly hasn't been the case. As a movement, our primary argument is that marriage equality is a FAIR, RIGHT, EQUITABLE, CONSTITUTION, CIVIL idea. And in fact, we've made a major point out of disconnecting the conversation surrounding our marriages from whether or not society thinks they are "good," since we believe that our rights should not be dependent on public opinion. That's something 90%+ of LGBT activists can and will agree on.

4. Progressives are often wrong about the future.

Here's my personal litany: Progressives told me abortion would be a dead issue by today, because young people in 1975 were so pro-choice. They told me there would be no more homemakers at all by the year 2000, because of the attitudes and values of young women in 1975. Some even told me the Soviet Union was the wave of the future. I mean, really, fool me once shame on you. Fool me over and over again . . . I must be a Republican!

Mistake numero quatro: Using silly personal anecdotes to discredit a movement. Were there individuals who said all of these things to Maggie at various times? Maybe. Probably, even. Just as there are people who told this writer that I would never get married (I am), that America had too strong of a defense system to have our own planes used as weapons against us (we didn't), and that George W. Bush would lead this country in the right direction (he didn't). People say things.

With every claim that Maggie says graced her ears, we could find people of that particular era who made the exact opposite arguments. Just as now you can find both progressives and conservatives (or at least moderates) on both sides of the marriage tea leaves. What matters is not what Ann Coulter or Frank Rich might individually say on a particular day -- what matters is the conclusion provided by a complex, reasoned, objective analysis of all of the factors. And on marriage equality, any who is honest with his or her self is going to have a hard time seeing "Adam and Even not Adam and Steve" as a long-lasting win.

5. Demography could be destiny.

If there is one force that directly contradicts the inevitability argument, it is that traditionalists have more children. Preventing schools and media from corrupting those children is a problem, but not necessarily an insoluable [sic] one. Religous [sic] groups are increasingly focused on the problem of how to transmit a marriage culture to the next generation (see the USCCB's recent initiatives).

Maggie's fifth mistake: Putting too much stock in her thoroughly faith-based movement, and the sustainability of their attempts to muddy the church/state waters.

Yes, Maggie's staunchest supporters might tend to have more children. And yes, equality-hostile religious groups (USCCB stands for United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) might be focusing on how to propagate their own ideas for how to live a good, Christian family-oriented life. This is their right in a religiously free nation. More power to them. Genuinely.

But here's the thing: We aren't talking about RELIGIOUS MARRIAGE. Increasingly, people are starting to see the difference between civil marriage and the always ancillary component that is church solemnization. And that's what we on the pro-equality side really want. In terms of our civil rights: Well, we couldn't care less if every 'traditionalist" chose to follow Michelle Duggars' pioneering lead and decided to have their own eighteen kids and counting. What we care about is that our civil rights are separated from Michelle Duggars' religious opinions!

Oh, and since Maggie is always harping on about the supposedly mean-spirited "bigot" claims that supposedly define the pro-gay movement: Well, now might be a good time to talk about Maggie's thoroughly offensive claim that America's schools and media are hellbent on "corrupting" children. That's offensive to anyone who works in schools and the media (a class that includes Maggie). And it's beyond offensive to pro-fairness people, who Maggie is calling "corrupted" simply because they support the human fabric for all of its stitches. What gall, Gallagher!

6. Change is inevitable.

Generational arguments tend to work only for one generation: Right now, it's "cool" to be pro-gay marriage. In ten years, it will be what the old folks think. Even gay people may decide, as they get used to living in a tolerant and free America, they don't want to waste all that time and energy on a symbolic social issue, anyway. (I know gay people who think that right now). I am not saying it will happen, only that it could. The future is not going to look like the present (see point one above). Inevitability is a manufactured narrative, not a fundamental truth.

Mistake #6: Acting as if a fundamental civil right and Lady Gaga are the same thing.

Sure, some much younger folks might support marriage equality simply because it seems "cool." But there are far more people, of every demographic and every walk of life, who support marriage equality because it's RIGHT. Yes, some things will change. But the constitution won't. The existence of LGBT people won't. The rights of citizenship won't. The crucial church/state and minority rights issues won't. The skinny on our equality will be in fashion long after skinny jeans move into the bellbottom wing of the sartorial nursing home.

It may be for Maggie to see marriage equality as a fad. But the fact that this sort of belief could ever even cross her mind shows how fundamentally she fails to understand (or at least admit) how crucial this fight is to pro-fairness Americans. It's not some fun little game we're playing to bide our time between "American Idol" seasons. OUR LIVES ARE AT STAKE!

7. Newsflash: 18-year-olds can be wrong.

Should we really say "Hmm, whatever the 18-year-olds think, that must be inevitable," and go do that? I mean, would we reason like that on any other issue?

First off: The young support is obviously not limited to such a small scope. When we look at support from younger Americans, the current range in which we hold a fairly reliable lead spans from about 18 (and younger) to 35. So it's just silly to look only at newly-abled cigarette buyers.

But beyond that: No pro-LGBT person's inevitability argument hinges solely on young support! We also look to the legislative and judicial support, the major sail-winds from all of the leading intellectuals who the far-right loves to diminish as nothing more than "cultural elites," sweeping support from professional organizations, the increasing number of champions in the business world, the constantly narrowing gap in public opinion, etc. The young voter support is only one piece of a much larger puzzle.

So Ms. Srivastav's seventh mistake: Supposing that any of us are actually reasoning in a way that's limited to new high school graduates!

8. New York's highest court was right.

From Hernandez v. Robles:

The dissenters assert confidently that "future generations" will agree with their view of this case (dissenting op at 396). We do not predict what people will think generations from now, but we believe the present generation should have a chance to decide the issue through its elected representatives. We therefore express our hope that the participants in the controversy over same-sex marriage will address their arguments to the Legislature; that the Legislature will listen and decide as wisely as it can; and that those unhappy with the result — as many undoubtedly will be — will respect it as people in a democratic state should respect choices democratically made.

Oh this one's really rich! Maggie "I've never met a court who I wouldn't dangerously decry as being 'activist'" Gallagher turning to one lone court decision to supposedly support her claims!? That's good comedy, really.

What about the Iowa court (stacked with Republican appointees)? What about New Jersey in '06? What about the California ruling that Maggie & Co. overruled with a tyrannical majority vote? These were all major victories for our side, setting some pretty great precedents. And it must be noted that ALL of these rulings came after New York, with some of the justices surely learning the unfortunate lessons from the NY ruling, and the reasoned pushback that followed its short-sighted birthing!

It's also pretty interesting that Maggie would even turn to this little snippet from Hernandez, considering her cited chunk contains this line:

We do not predict what people will think generations from now, but we believe the present generation should have a chance to decide the issue through its elected representatives.

That's right: Decided through the elected representatives, not through "the people" via a direct referendum. Even this court, as part of a really bad ruling, recognized that if this nation is going to have the chance to weigh in on a matter like this, then this voice is to come through the representatives that Americans send to office. The human rights decision is not to come via the extremely hurtful campaigns that Maggie forcefully backed in both CA and ME!

So there ya have it: 8 talking points, 0 substance. Another productive day at the office, Maggie!

*Maggie's list: Is Gay Marriage Inevitable? [NRO]

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Your thoughts

Wow, you are a far braver and more thoughtful person than I am. It appears that most of her "points" are variations of "Those stupid kids will grow up and see our point of view." Except that many of today's young adults will be used to same-sex marriages, their friends' queer parents, etc. Except, of course, that young adults who are currently conservative Christian or just see queerness as "icky" might grow out of that, too. (I began my 18th year as a conservative Evangelical and ended it with another girl's tiny engagement ring on my finger, because we thought we'd get to marry in Hawaii after college graduation. I am not kidding.) For the same reason, I love the argumentium ad Duggerium at #5. Some of those kids will have a lot to rebel against!

The progressives weren't all wrong about the changes for women, either. Yeah, there are homemakers, but those women expect to have their own lines of credit and be able to pursue work outside the home as an option. We have female secretaries of state, CEOs, race car drivers, and, oh, influential political activists! A 9-year-old girl I know and love fully expects to win the Stanley Cup one day, and few people tell her it can't happen. I think things have changed *slightly* since 1975, thank the Gods.

This is a little off the point, but I like how Connecticut printed its marriage licences so you can choose the word that's right for you and your relationship. Amazing how difficult some anti-gay activists will make that sound.

Posted by: GreenEyedLilo | Dec 10, 2009 9:25:01 AM

Was anyone able to verify the polling data in number 2? According to CNN's exit poll, the spread of 18-29 year olds was 39 percent to 61 percent. I bet you can guess which number was opposed.

Perhaps NOM did there own exit poll outside of a Mormon Church.

Posted by: numbers man | Dec 10, 2009 9:34:30 AM

Maggie says 'Even gay people may decide, as they get used to living in a tolerant and free America, they don't want to waste all that time and energy on a symbolic social issue, anyway.'

She can't believe it's about symbolism. She just can't. Arguing with these people is as bad as arguing with creationists; at some point the stupidity just grows so dense that it collapses in on itself and the anti-gay zealot is revealed as a liar.

Posted by: Baron Scarpia | Dec 10, 2009 11:19:32 AM

That line really stuck out to me too, Baron.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Dec 10, 2009 11:22:50 AM

Oh my glorious gods! Has Maggie ever studied Critical Thinking and Logical Fallacies, because her 3rd. statement (as with all of them, of course) wreaks of a Logical Fallacy?! Jeremy, if you'd ever like to draw upon some specific definitions of fallacious logic when debating an opponent, I highly recommend the following academic sites dealing with that subject:

* http://www.iep.utm.edu/fallacy/ (My favorite!)
* http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/
* http://www.csun.edu/~dgw61315/fallacies.html

Posted by: Wade | Dec 10, 2009 11:29:41 AM

"Even gay people may decide, as they get used to living in a tolerant and free America, they don't want to waste all that time and energy on a symbolic social issue, anyway."

This is now the second (at least) time that the Magger has suggested that marriage equality is inconsequential. Remember that she said that the gay media treats this issue "as if it matters." Now she's saying that it is a "symbolic social issue, anyway." The obvious inference from that she doesn't believe the drivel that she is spewing forth. She has found a group of "donors" who are more than willing to keep her in the moo moos to which she has become so accustomed. And whatever the rationale of those donors is, the entire issue is just a paycheck to her.

I happen to believe that the rationale of her donors (the whales at least), is to keep a "non-issue" percolating in the small minds of the hate-filled bigots, to distract the minions away from what they are actually hoping to accomplish. I say "non-issue" because ultimately, to the 90% of Americans who will never be negatively impacted by marriage equality, it is a non-issue. By distracting the independent-thought-challenged, they can trick them into electing their candidates, even though voting for those candidates is otherwise the most self-detrimental action that they could possibly take.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Dec 10, 2009 1:46:22 PM

I love how she brings up abortion, yeah, its still big news. Because the GOP makes it big news to get you morons to vote for them! Notice how despite being in power several times since Roe v. Wade the republicans have never given anything but lip service to banning abortion? because if they actually did they wouldn't be able to campaign on it anymore.

Which sadly is the approach democrats seem to be taking with gay rights.

Posted by: wackadoodle | Dec 10, 2009 1:59:22 PM

"a problem, but not necessarily an insoluable [sic] one"

Hmmm... Maggie thinks that this problem can be dissolved in water. Which might lead some less kind people than me might suggest that Maggie go take a long walk on a short pier.

As for the opinions of 18 year olds, Maggie may not have noticed (or may not have the math skills), but about 52% of Californians in the age group 18 to 44 opposed Prop 8. In fact, had the voters consisted of only people aged 64 or younger, it would have been too close to call.

And mathematically, If NO CURRENT VOTERS shifts towards supporting marriage; and if those 18 to 29 year olds shift TOWARDS discrimination by 5%; as long as the newly incoming voters in the 18 to 29 year group are what they are now, marriage equality is inevitable.

Posted by: Timothy Kincaid | Dec 10, 2009 2:40:56 PM

"Even gay people may decide, as they get used to living in a tolerant and free America, they don't want to waste all that time and energy on a symbolic social issue, anyway."

So "a tolerant and free America" will happen eventually. Why is she opposing it when she obviously knows she will lose in the end?

Posted by: Wyzdyx | Dec 10, 2009 3:21:20 PM

We do have more support from the younger community, but at the same time there is a lot from older people too. I don't know one person who doesn't think gays should be allowed to marry. I'm sure they are around here somewhere, but none of them have expressed that to me. I live in Missouri too, so you would think there would be more anti-gay, but that has not been my experience.

Posted by: Tony | Dec 10, 2009 7:15:12 PM

Maggie Gallagher is a sad, pathetic person who only derives joy from her attempts to rob others of it. She's most probably going to die bitter and alone. I almost feel sorry for her.

Posted by: Christopher | Dec 11, 2009 4:21:47 PM

When she does die bitter and alone, I will go dance on her grave and leave a hot steaming present for her.

Posted by: Mykelb | Dec 28, 2009 4:01:27 PM

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