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09/30/2011

'The curious moral authority of [one who collects paycheck for shunning] gay men'

by Jeremy Hooper

In a column that reads a bit like an emotional breakdown after years of stirring up divisive tension against certain kinds of people, the modern anti-equality movement's most visible figure, Maggie Gallagher, ponders her role in civil rights history. Here's a snip:


I have pondered on the hatred I have generated, as a symbol of resistance to this new morality, in the gay community.

I do not think of gay people as my enemies, but as my fellow citizens, neighbors and sometimes friends, with whom I agree on many things and disagree on others, including the nature, meaning and public purpose of marriage.

I walked into the heart of the gay marriage debate to defend one great principle of truth: Marriage is the union of husband and wife because children long for their mother and father.

But this the gay elites cannot tolerate -- not the idea that anyone can see our Christian moral tradition as good.

To the gay rights movement, a strong moral confidence in the goodness of our marriage tradition is in itself the core moral offense, which requires disciplining, punishing, silencing, shunning.

Why? So that legitimate pity for the gay man, and his suffering as a child, can be turned against the moral authority of chastity, for that system of sexual ethics that begins not with our desires but with our responsibility to discipline and elevate them.

THE CURIOUS MORAL AUTHORITY OF GAY MEN [Maggie's syndicated column]

The main problem here, and with Maggie in general? That she completely misrepresents the roles, the stakes, and her years of activity pertaining to this issue! Let's get real here: We are talking about someone who has said and done some pretty "YIKES!"-inducing things. From calling homosexuality an "unfortunate thing" and "at a minimum, a sexual dysfunction much as impotence or infertility," to suggesting gays "can always control their behavior" and calling on a sitting President to give more research dollars to "ex-gay" research, Maggie has not shown good citizenship, neighborly behavior, and especially not friendship to gay people. Heck, she flat-out told me, personally, in an email exchange, that she would like to overturn the court case that allowed my husband and I to marry in Connecticut. Which is to say: She told me she'd like to divorce me, just as she'd like to divorce every legally married same-sex couple, if she had the power to do so. To her that might just be her "defending truth," but to those of us who live out our truths as gay individuals, it is much, much more. And much worse.

But of course in true Maggie fashion, she puts the onus on "gay elites" ("Populism, yea, yea!"), suggesting that those of us in the modern marriage movement cannot "tolerate…the idea that anyone can see our Christian moral tradition as good." Again: A complete and utter distortion of reality! The truth is that marriage equality supporters are, by and large, some of the BIGGEST supporters of religious freedom in the whole political spectrum. But by "religious freedom," I of course mean TRUE religious freedom, not the variety of which Maggie speaks, which allows her stated good of "taking over the world for Christ" to govern every citizen in this supposedly church/state-separated nation! The problem is that when we stand up and say that Maggie's Catholicism is not a suitable basis on which to deny loving same-sex couples their civil equality, Maggie, in order to score political points, twists this to mean hostility towards Christianity.

Oh, and this last point about religion is even more galling when one considers NOM's most prevalent, most costly campaign to date. Remember this "charming" little flyer accusing David Weprin of defying his own faith?

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Yeah, me too. And I also remember the robocalls and various other ways they pitted Mr. Weprin against his own religion. And they did this why: Because Maggie and NOM are just so tolerant of people who stand for their own personally held religious principles? Or what, maybe the rules different when the faith is non-Christian?

As I said in the beginning: Maggie's column this week reads somewhat like a breakdown. Well guess what? I'm also pretty damn broken down! I am sick of watching people like Maggie says and do ridiculously divisive things that deny my equal citizenship and attack my very moral character, then run and hide behind spin revolving around "morality" and "tradition" and "truth." If Maggie would own her truth -- the real one that she has putting out to the world for eons now -- then she would probably more understand "the hatred" (her words) she has generated. But as long as she insists on spinning these responsibility-shirking fantasies geared towards her own victimization, she will only see that which is convenient to her narratives, be they personal or political.

Which is actually her right, to live within whatever constructions she wishes. However, she doesn't get to determine the public's perception. And she doesn't get to control moral authority, simply because United Press continues to offer her a syndicated column.

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*Oh, and what's with that last line? Is this talk of "pity for the gay man," the "moral authority of chastity," and a "system of sexual ethics that begins not with our desires but with our responsibility to discipline and elevate them" what it sounds like: A call for gay men to either live "heterosexual" or celibate lives? It would, after all, fit right in with her 2003 dictum for gay men to "Pick a girl, love her, make a family."

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