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03/19/2013

Where in the World is Maggie Gallagher?

by Jeremy Hooper

201303191050-1You would think this would be her shining moment. Maggie Gallagher was talking about the so-called Defense Of Marriage Act (which she found too "timid") back when few other conservative writers cared to dedicate the time. During Prop 8's initial season, Maggie was the most visible face connected to the fight. And of course she is a co-founder of the National Organization For Marriage, the organization that pretty much controls the marriage fight for the other side.

But here, a week away from the Prop 8 and DOMA cases going before the high court and thus injecting the marriage movement with its highest profile yet, Maggie is completely M.I.A. The "protect marriage" movement's grande dame hasn't posted to her National Review blog since March 4, and she hasn't contributed to her eponymous website since March 9. There haven't been any major press mentions nor public appearances. She has done a college debate or two with professor John Corvino, but those are paid gigs that are more about paying a bill and promoting a book than they are about shaping public opinion. In terms of public opinion, Maggie's radio silence is deafening. With major developments from CPAC to Sen. Rob Portman to Hillary Clinton playing out all around her, Maggie has let news cycles pass by without so much as a peep. Peculiar, to say the least.

Maggie is also notably absent from the speaker roster that NOM has lined up for its upcoming marriage march. The organization has announced nineteen speakers, including most of the major NOM players. No Maggie, however. Sure, there's still time, but one would think that if you're NOM and you're trying to rally the diehards, you'd very quickly and loudly sign up the one person who is most responsible for the organization and who will surely go down in history as the overall movement's most public face. But no. As of now, seven days out, NOM is moving forward with a Maggie-less march.

I find this fascinating, frankly. This is someone who has been hyper-focused on this particular conversation every step of the way. Same-sex marriage is to Maggie what chlorophyll is to my desk plant: it both colors her public profile and sustains her professional existence. I'm finding it hard to see this silence as a choice without some reason attached.

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