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02/08/2012

One last thing about the Maggie Gallagher article...

by Jeremy Hooper

While I think Mark Oppenheimer's profile manages to ably walk that tough line between revelatory and fair, if there's one place I would push back a little it's in regards to the bit of a pass that some in the piece grant to Maggie when it comes to her views on gay people. While Maggie does admit to the journalist that she, as a Catholic, would tell a gay person that he or she should not be having sex, there are other parts where her views against gay people themselves are either couched, muted, or completely overlooked. And while I agree that Maggie is largely pragmatic in her words and does take strides to focus on the issues rather than the people -- something I respect, in fact -- I have seen and heard a few things that I just can't ignore.

For instance, Maggie has called homosexuality an "unfortunate thing" and "at a minimum, a sexual dysfunction much as impotence or infertility." Not sure 6A00D8341C503453Ef014E89Ab5Ea0970Dabout you, but I, as a gay man who wants to foster understanding about sexual orientation, have a tough time looking past that.

Maggie has also suggested that gays "can always control their behavior," and even called on a sitting President to give more funding to scientifically-shunned "ex-gay" research. Again, I have a tough time as seeing that as purely political, don't know about you.

Then there is the Catholic factor. Maggie has not only said she would want gay people to not have sex, she has also said that even people who support marriage equality are committing "several kinds of very serious sins." On this one, I don't even really have a hug problem with Maggie's personal faith, something to which she is more than entitled. The problem I have her is that Maggie, like most of NOM's key staffers, never acknowledge that this is what is underlying their views. In truth, Maggie and co-founder Robert George should have called NOM something like Catholics For Marriage Protection. But they instead opted for the secular-sounding National Organization For Marriage name, which has confused this whole debate.

And then there's also the matter of association. Even if Maggie is juxtaposed against groups like the Family Research Council in Oppenheimer's article, the truth is that she has appeared on the FRC's stage as recently as this past year. In fact, NOM's years of alliances and outreaches connect them to any number of people and groups who have said the most over-the-top things imaginable, and oftentimes there is only the slightest degree of sunlight separating NOM from the proudly hostile voices.

So again, while I do think Maggie is unique in her engagement and even would say that she, unlike some of her fellows, does sincerely want to be and be seen as a nice person, she does still have her own, undeniable record. There's no reason to deny that.

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