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Audio: Maggie's subtle slightings

by Jeremy Hooper

Sometimes Maggie Gallagher's comments are more brazen, like when she admitted she sees homosexuality as "unfortunate", telling gays they can "always control [their] behavior" and suggesting that it's offensive to gays to not subject their lives and loves (and right) to "moral critique". Or when she revealed her religious motivations, talking about the "several kinds of sins" that both gays and their supports commit every time they support marriage equality. Or when she wrote that "the absence of desire for the opposite sex represents, at a minimum, a sexual dysfunction" and pressed then-President Bush for more "ex-gay"research dollars.

But other times the National Organization For Marriage chair makes more subtle attempts to change the debate. Here are two examples:

You know what else isn't mentioned in the constitution, Maggie? MARRIAGE! In general. AT ALL! And yet courts and legislatures, both conservative and progressive, have examined the subject throughout time, opening and closing doors for both marital good (dropping miscegenation laws, keeping age requirements in proper check) and ill (DOMA, constitutional gay bans). To suggest that a subject must be explicitly mentioned in a constitution in order to be examined or scrutinized is, at best, disingenuous. Wantonly, intellectually deceitful at worst.



See what she does here? Maggie intentionally positions the husband and wife as this unquestionably great good whose bond is responsible, loving, and moral, then juxtaposes it with "a guy who wants to remain in a sexual union with another dude." We've heard it so many times before, that's it's undeniably a rhetorical tactic. The "guy" and "dude" labels are meant to slight. The mention of sex is meant to contextualize gays as focused only on their orgasms. The whole thing is meant to stigmatize.

And Maggie does all this, from the overt to the subtle, because she largely gets away with it. As far as pure strategy goes, who can blame her?

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