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12/07/2010

Maggie's advocacy: A 28-year fear of 'be back in thirty minutes'?

by Jeremy Hooper

I recently heard a theory about Maggie Gallagher which suggested the National Organization For Marriage doyenne is super-obsessed with marriage matters because she believes, based on her own experience, that men are generally/ genuinely terrified of marriage. The theory went on to suggest that since Maggie has her own Catholic views on homosexuality and since she holds a personal belief that most straight men are repulsed by gay sex, she in turn surmises that same-sex unions do and will serve to further alienate heterosexual men from matrimony.

The theory could be right or it could be off-base. But it does actually make a lot of sense, if one scours Maggie's own version of events with the sort of fine-toothed comb that I've put to them.

Maggie has talked at length about how the father of her oldest child, a fellow Yalie who Maggie describes as having had a "troubled past", abandoned her and her unborn son in 1982. According to Maggie, she was on her way home to Oregon to have her baby among family and friends, when right before she was set to leave, the father stepped out amid a claim that he'd "be back in thirty minutes." But he didn't return home, leaving Maggie to give birth sans partner:


[Maggie Gallagher at Franciscan Univ. (2/2/10)]

Apparently there were some visits afterwards. But then in 1986 -- again, by Maggie's own version of events -- when the son was three and Maggie was already working at the conservative National Review, the father came back into the picture (with girlfriend in tow) and 6A00D8341C503453Ef0120A687Acc5970Bsaid he couldn't be part of the child's life at all. Neither Maggie nor son have heard from him since (though Maggie does admit to Googling the bio dad, finding that he's now a married surgeon in New Hampshire with at least one additional child).

In her exploratory speeches, Maggie regularly ties this personal recollection in with her burgeoning Catholic faith, conservative consciousness and public engagement, so there's no doubt that it was all highly formative for the developing "culture warrior."

As you heard nth above audio, Maggie also gives likes to give pointed talks about how the adults surrounding her at this time never encouraged the young couple to marry ["Not my parents, not his parents, not him, not my friends, not the psychologist my mother sent me to, not the adoption counselor I spoke with -- nobody...The intensity of the concern was that we might make a bad marriage, no concern at all about the idea that being an unwed mother was a problem" (speech at Franciscan Univ., 2/2/2010)]. So there's also the strong suggestion that this personal experience left her with the belief that many adults in general (not just men) see marriage as the more terrifying, more ancillary option. Modern "culture war" watchers know that this projected and bemoaned complacency is a key view in Maggie's current fight against same-sex marriage. It really does seem like a focal point was born right alongside the son.

Then couple these views with what we know to be Maggie's views on gays in general (or at least the view she wishes to stir up among her supporters):

-5/14/2001, Maggie uses Dr. Robert Spitzer's study in a way that goes against his own wishes and findings, calls homosexuality a "sexual dysfunction": "I believe there is rather powerful evidence that human beings are a two-sex species, designed for sexual rather than asexual reproduction. If this is true, then the absence of desire for the opposite sex represents, at a minimum, a sexual dysfunction much as impotence or infertility. Human beings seeking help in overcoming sexual dysfunctions deserve our respect and support (and may I mention, President Bush, more research dollars?)." [Source]

-3/20/2000, Maggie defends Dr. Laura: "In a simple biological framework abstracted from all religion and morality, homosexuality is like infertility. It is a sexual disability preventing certain individuals from participating in the normal reproductive patterns of the human species." [Source]

-6/30/2008 on "Catholic Answers Live": Said that according to the Catholic faith, both gays and their supporters are committing "several kinds of sins."

-8/9/10 on Janet Parshall's radio program: Said that she sees homosexuality as "unfortunate", and said that gays can "always control [their] behavior":

-Said she initially found gay marriage to be one of a set of issues "so dumb you don't have to talk about them." [speech at Franciscan Univ., 2/2/2010]

-She can often be heard using language that discredits gay love, like the way she dismissively talks about "two dudes" wanting to get hitched or the way she laughs when gays are compared to domesticated birds.

When considering the sum of the parts, you'd seem to have a perfect storm for turning conservative game-playing into a career. A perfect vehicle for making good money as a public intellectual. A perfect scapegoat for Maggie's own experiences with marriages and straight men. A perfect psychological catharsis, played out at the expense of gay people's own lives, loves, and associated rights.

Or maybe she's a secret beneficiary of "Here Comes The Bride" royalties, which are invalidated when the song's played in a pluralized or gender-altered form. Who knows?

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