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With marriage fight lost, Maggie Gallagher (Srivatav) moves to more neighborly writing

by Jeremy Hooper

With the discriminatory cause that defined her professional life now all but settled (by her own admission), longtime anti-equality activist Maggie Gallagher Srivastav has found a new creative outlet. The National Organization For Marriage cofounder has joined the staff of her local community's newsletter, where she writes profiles of her Alexandria, VA, neighbors as well as a monthly real estate report:

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[Pinewood Lake HOA]

No word if Maggie's political life ever spills over into this forum. Though I do here she recently raged against a homeowner who tried to put a Daisy and an Iris in the same flower bed, insisting that every household must include only one mum at a time.

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Read: HRC tracks American pro-discrimination activists' international flights

by Jeremy Hooper

Over the past few years, as much attention has turned to the global LGBT rights fight and the often draconian threats that remain, a once little known group called the World Congress of Families has risen up as an odd little "all-star team" of American pro-discrimination activists eager to expand their reach. And unlike the U.S. Congress, this non-elected ban of self-appointed policy shapers is actually having a startling amount of success.

Which is why we need to pay attention. It's good to see the Human Rights Campaign keeping tabs:

HRC report on World Congress of Families

(h/t: Towleroad)

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Video: Right-side-of-history activists rally in Chicago (#7thCircuit #HoosiersInLove)

by Jeremy Hooper

Today in Chicago, couples from Wisconsin and Indiana head to Chicago's Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, where they will make the case for basic fairness under the law. Last night, in that same Windy City, was another chance to make that came case in the court of public opinion; here are two clips:

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Far-right still pretending limited nondiscrimination law opens whole new can of frosting

by Jeremy Hooper

Of the many situations they have failed to grasp over the years, the anti-LGBT far right's failure to understand nondiscrimination law and proper compliance to the same is certainly one of the worst. Take these latest musings from a longtime foe of 'mo-kind:

Here’s a hypothetical analogy for you to consider: Suppose a Christian couple planning a marriage went to a Jewish baker and requested a wedding cake decorated with a cross. And suppose the Jewish baker felt uncomfortable with that idea. Should he forced to do so? I don’t think so. Nor can I imagine any Christian couple wanting to use the coercive power of the state to do that. They would simply go to another baker. That would be the logical, non-tyrannical thing to do.

Here’s another hypothetical scenario: Suppose a Jewish couple chooses a homosexual photographer to take pictures at their wedding. Among the things they require the photographer to do is to take a photo of them before a banner emblazoned with the following scripture verse: Genesis 2:24 – “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Maybe the photographer feels uncomfortable and even spiritually condemned with this requirement. Should he be forced by the state to do it because failing to accept the assignment would be tantamount to violating the Jewish couple’s “sexual orientation” or even their religious convictions? I don’t think so. Nor can I imagine any Jewish couple wanting to use the coercive power of the state to do that. They would simply go to another photographer. That would be the logical, non-tyrannical thing to do.

When “tolerance” becomes intolerance, we have bigotry.

When “diversity” becomes state-enforced conformity, we have religious persecution.

Joseph Farah, founder and editor of WND (formerly WorldNetDaily)

First hypothetical: Obviously a Jewish baker doesn't have to make a cake with a cross (or with bacon pieces or on Sabbath or...) if that's not a kind of cake that he or she makes. A Christian couple doesn't have the right to demand a certain shape or color or style that the bakery doesn't offer, the same way a same-sex couple cannot demand a pride flag cake, a wedding pie, or something else that the bakery in question doesn't happen to make. The issue in these nondiscrimination cases is not about style or selection. The issue is that a specific item that the bakery does absolutely and unequivocally make (e.g. a wedding cake) is denied in every way, shape, and form.

In the second situation, the gay photographer probably would have to take the picture described. After all, if he or she is already taking the photos, then the client and the business owner have presumably come to terms. The photographer has agreed to the job and contracting paper work has likely been signed. The photographer certainly doesn't have a right to discriminate on the basis of religion, so yes, he or she would most definitely have to take the shot. The photographer might first suggest alternatives or he or she might even take a really shitty shot so that it's unlikely to ever see the light of day. But no, I can't imagine a direct repudiation of the couple's religious wishes would hold up in court. I'd most likely side with the religious couple in this case, whether my opponents believe that or not.

The anti-LGBT side keeps trying to talk their way out of and/or trip us up within these nondiscrimination cases that have become such debate fodder over the past few years. The truth is that they are really quite straightforward (in more ways than one) cases that are pretty darn easy to understand. Which is why we never lose in court: because the matter or whether or not you can or cannot pointedly discriminate if you operate a business or some other public accommodation is not really that open of a debate, at least in areas that have responsible protections in place. The only reason these situations seem more complex than they are is because of the noise.

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GLAAD: Upcoming conference proves how rudderless, off-message, self-defeating NOM has become

by Jeremy Hooper
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Upcoming conference proves how rudderless, off-message, self-defeating NOM has become [GLAAD]

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From NOM co-founder's new book: Gay couples as disqualified from marriage as twelve-year-olds

by Jeremy Hooper

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 At 9.34.50 AmIn his new book, Conjugal Union (cowritten with Patrick Lee), National Organization For Marriage co-founder Robert George makes many arguments that, as any perceptive person would except, attempt to frame his deeply Catholic views about same-sex couples and our marriages into acceptable basis for public policy. But this one, repeated a few times over, stuck out to me:

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So basically this is just an extension of the procreation argument. Although there have been cases of girls becoming pregnant as young as five-years-old (!), the likelihood of pregnancy‚ especially a viable pregnancy—before twelve-years-old (the average age young women start menstruation) is slight. The obvious distinction George is making here is one that is 100% wrapped up in his insistence that marriage policy be intwined with reproduction.

But of course that is wholly untenable in an American where civil marriage licensing is governed by many factors, yet a desire and/or ability to have a biological child is not one of them. In this America, we do set the marriage age at eighteen because that is the generally accepted age of adulthood for many crucial rights. You can vote at that age. You can fight and possibly die in war. School becomes voluntary. You can become an organ donor and make your own end of life decisions. In fact parental control is relinquished in most every way, at least legally. At this age, which we set as the onset of true adulthood, a civil marriage contract (with religious ceremony always being optional, for everyone, in all cases) is one of the rights/privileges/benefits we sensibly bundle with this milestone birthday.

It is the height of arrogance for Mr. George to suggest that my husband and I—tax-paying adults who are way past eighteen, legally married for many years (and together for many before that), with a daughter to whom we are exceedingly committed, as we are to each other—are no more qualified than a pair of sixth graders. It's also gallingly arrogant for him to suggest that two eighteen-year-olds are more qualified by the sole virtue of being heterosexual.

But again, this is an adult man who leads with his deeply convicted and unmatchably conservative grasp on canonical law. All of his marital views are guided by that prism. His secular arguments are just things he says as a way to back into his chosen belief system. Even if the Princeton professor's marital view (i.e. discrimination) is shrouded in rich ivy, I find his advocacy to be reliably, childishly, and woefully simple. And reliably weak.

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Video: Preacher Michael Wilson calls for amendment to imprison gay people

by Jeremy Hooper

With all other proposals going nowhere fast, this preacher is taking a new approach toward stopping gay equality. In this scenario, we get thrown in jail and are forced to do hard—hot, sweaty, throbbing—labor:

The truly sad part is that I could legitimately believe some far-right House Republicans getting behind this. Heck, Gormert (R-TX1) might sponsor the thing.

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Maggie 'always-the-victim' Gallagher did nothing to earn her anti-gay reputation

by Jeremy Hooper

Maggie Gallagher has admitted she sees homosexuality as "an unfortunate thing" and advises gay people that "you can always control your behavior." She also once described homosexuality as " infertility. It is a sexual disability, preventing certain individuals from participating in the normal reproductive patterns of the human species." And when it comes to her morality, she has confessed that she 6A00D8341C503453Ef014E88832970970D-1believes both gay activists and our straight supporters are "committing several kinds of very serious sins." To name just a few of her slights over the years; there are many more.

And then, of course, is her role within the fight itself. She championed efforts that literally took tangible, desired, crucial rights away from tax-paying citizens. In doing so, she worked with and actively courted the whole of anti-LGBT America, from moderate thinker to radical opponent of all things gay. Maggie has proudly sidled up to groups like the Family Research Council (she'll again appear at their Values Voters Summit next month), has spoken out in favor of "ex-gay" groups like JONAH, and has rallied alongside undeniably animus-driven activists. And let's not forget those brutally honest strategy documents, cobbled together during her time as NOM chair, that vowed to "drive a wedge" between minority populations.

But forget all of that. Maggie is yet again the innocent whose "opponents" attempted to make a "caricature" out of her:

During my years leading the fight against gay marriage, there were so many efforts to paint a picture of me as motivated by anti-gay hatred, and there were so many people hoping I would respond in kind. Some who opposed gay marriage even criticized me for refusing to strike back. They saw my gestures of respect for gay-marriage advocates as a desperate attempt to placate, rather than as a refusal to become the caricature my opponents hoped to make me.

I love how these anti-equality activists think we're just out to get them or something. It's such a weak sidestep to sidestep their own wrongdoings. It's also quite egotistical to think that think you are important enough, separate from your own actions, to merit such attention.

Look, there are few people who have written more about Maggie Gallagher's work than I have. But two key things about that:

  1. I have *always* focused on her work and not her personal characteristics. I've never even called her "a bigot." That's not my style.
  2. Everything I know about her, I know from her own words and deeds. That's all I have to go on.

If my coverage of Maggie came across like an attempt to caricaturize, then it's likely because her work as a straight woman who dedicated a large swath of her life and a lion's share of her political legacy toward fighting a minority population's equal civil rights struck more than a few people as a wacky endeavor. Let's be honest: That cause is a very parody-able one. Oh, and when you create ads like the NOM "Gathering Storm" piece that came out at the height of Maggie's time with the organization she co-founded, you don't do yourself any favors. A lot of people find the over-the-top fear mongering unintentionally funny.

Maggie might see herself as the height of respect for not responding her critics. The better path, however, would've been to not do the very real and very hurtful things that she did—she did them—to earn her reputation. I actually think doing crappy things toward gay people and then feeling like you don't have a responsibility to respond to those same gay people is actually an act of disrespect.

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