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A Maggie little Christmas

by Jeremy Hooper

This writer had already stopped work for the day, gearing up for a night of holiday gaeity. But as I was preparing to don my gay apparel, an email came in that annoyed the jingle eggs right off my frosty antlers.

The email was from one Maggie Gallagher, who was sending around a standard NOM e-blast, shaming same-sex marriage and its supporters. I found the email gross, here two days before Christmas. So I immediately wrote back and said as much:

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What then followed was one part overdue catharsis, one party needed therapy, one part fascinating/frustrating "culture war" experiment. Enjoy:

(please excuse typos on both ends)
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Yes, she just said that she wants to legally divorce me. Oh yea, Merry Christmas. Riiiiiight.

Martha Stewart Weddings, Winter 2010 (15th anniv. issue):
click for full size)

**SEE ALSO: Our full wedding album: 6/13/09
(**Photo credit: JAG Studios)

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Your thoughts

Maggie thinks no one has a right to complain about the harm she's attempting to cause them because she characterizes it as a "disagreement" and says she's not a hater or a bigot.

Posted by: Priya Lynn | Dec 24, 2009 1:42:45 PM

Exactly, P.L.

While NOM's obvious goal is to stop marriage equality any and everywhere (which of course dehumanizes gays in the process), their ancillary goal is to change the script on this whole debate. Maggie knows *exactly* what she's doing. We have to be even more outspoken against this obvious tactic.

Posted by: Marcihno | Dec 24, 2009 1:59:23 PM

So who is Maggie's husband Raman? What are his views on her campaigns? What are his views on their (in her words, "so-so") marriage? How does he like their marriage being characterized that way? Where are the interviews with him?

Posted by: Doug | Dec 24, 2009 3:52:09 PM

Hey Doug, Raman Srivastav is an Indian name, so he's either a Hindu or a Sikh. Wonder how he feels about taking Catholic and LDS Church money to feed his kids.

Posted by: Mykelb | Dec 24, 2009 4:43:14 PM

I'll tell you again. I know the Shepards. I know the primary detective on the MS murder case PERSONALLY.
I also know several of Matt's friends and attended THEIR ceremony in Casper.

All of them knew Matt better than anyone, or the case better than anyone.
And there is NO DOUBT: Matt didn't 'make a pass' at the two trailer trash humps that murdered him.

THEY came armed with a large caliber gun and they outnumbered Matt. THEIR intention was clear and after they left Matt tied to that fence, they went on and assaulted TWO other people, putting one in the hospital as well.

And Matt, already having been assaulted a few times before then, wouldn't and couldn't provoke anyone deliberately.

I'm sick of people like you, who can't let go of the idea that Matt WAS an innocent person, minding his own, who became the prey of someone else.

I'm sick of people like you continuing the stereotype that gay men in particular are so predatory beyond self control and self preservation.

Your credibility to say nothing of your interest is worthy of a toilet flushing.

Posted by: Regan DuCasse | Dec 24, 2009 4:58:09 PM

I would give my left nut to be a fly on the wall in her house just see what the relationship between her and her husband is like--the same man whose last name she refuses to use.

Posted by: Bearchewtoy75 | Dec 25, 2009 2:48:48 AM

First off - Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to EVERYONE!

Second - in Maggies last email, she refers to the "right to marriage". It reminds me of those pundits that say "there's nothing in the constitution that gives a right to gay marriage". Well, where does it say ANYTHING about marriage. If gay marriage isn't constitutionally protected, how the hell can straight marriage be a constitutional right? Has anyone ever asked people like Maggie THAT question?

Everyone has the right to free speech - it's one of the things that make our country great. And I would even wager that free speech should be considered when making policy/law. But NOT when that free speech limits and opresses the rights of a group of people!

I appreciate anyones convictions and defend their right to those convictions, but it doesn't mean I have to respect the person. And I don't respect Maggie or anyone on her side of the fight. They are mean. They are cruel. And yes - they ARE bigots.

Posted by: John in MN | Dec 25, 2009 1:07:01 PM

I agree with your strong feelings and the anger that the commenters express here. But there's something very striking in your e-mail exchange: she professes -- whatever her sincerity in saying so -- to support our "general rights of citizenship" save one.

If that's the case, make her prove it. Hold her accountable to her faux compassionate statements -- particularly when she and her side have no problem using those statements to achieve their own political goals. (Think of the anti-equality side's television ad at the end of the Maine referendum campaign professing to support targeted legal reforms to address certain of the problems LGBT families face, making full marriage equality supposedly unnecessary. Or the current promise by several of the Republicans in the New Jersey state legislature to strengthen several aspects of the civil union statute in the next legislative term ... as an excuse not to vote for full equality now.)

But this isn't simply about calling out an opponent on her -- I'll be charitable and say "potential" -- hypocrisy. We need to make her put her money where her mouth is and support those legal reforms -- like employment and housing nondiscrimination laws, or hospital visiting rights and medical directive reforms -- that will bring us more of the "general rights of citizenship" she purports to be behind. It is what Equality Utah did in its Common Ground Initiative, working after Proposition 8 to hold the LDS church leadership accountable for its professed support of various legal protections short of marriage -- and which led to the church's advocacy in favor of Salt Lake City's new antidiscrimination law, without which the law would not have passed. Did that make up for the LDS Church's opposition to full civil marriage equality? Of course not. But are LGBT citizens in Salt Lake City better off as a result of the passage of an antidiscrimination ordinance than they would be otherwise? Of course they are.

Unlike most of us reading these comments, you have open channels of communication with several of the leaders of anti-equality organizations, and you actually do engage each other, even if those engagements are frustrating. I respectfully suggest using your these channels -- and, frankly, your relationships with some of the prominent people on our side -- to begin a higher-profile campaign to hold anti-equality activists accountable to their promises to support legal reforms short of marriage. It's not a substitute for the whole enchilada, but it can be a way to get other very necessary reforms in place.

And, of course, if Gallagher and the NJ Republicans and the others do not follow through on what they profess -- well, then, what a nice way to publicize those broken promises and highlight their hypocrisy.

And happy belated Channukah.

Posted by: Jon F | Dec 25, 2009 2:50:40 PM

Merry Christmas Maggie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSBNURD7uKQ

Posted by: marsmannetje | Dec 25, 2009 3:14:41 PM

wow, thank you sooooo much for telling her personally what so many of us think. You called her on her BS, and the more she wrote back, the more she showed what she really believes. She'd love to nullify your marriage. Wow?!

Posted by: Daho | Dec 25, 2009 4:15:58 PM

Timothy Kincaid brought up this question in A BTB comments section and I think it bares repeating here:

Considering everything that Maggie has done, said, and tried to do ---- what's left that would qualify as hate in her eyes?

Seriously, what would hate look like from Maggie Gallagher if what we're seeing doesn't qualify? What more could she possibly be doing to get over that line?

Posted by: Jason D | Dec 25, 2009 11:57:40 PM

Warm Holliday greetings from Sweden and thanks Jeremy for your excellent blog! I have been following it for the past couple of years and find it one of the best ones out there in the equality spectra. Congratulations to your marriage too and I wish you and you husband all the best for 2010 and don't ever stop fighting for what is right!

Posted by: Bjorn | Dec 26, 2009 6:39:34 AM

Not only is she a repellent hatemonger, but she's also amazingly inarticulate, a pathetically inept debater, and a terrible typist. How did this women get into and graduate from Yale?

Posted by: Ted | Dec 28, 2009 5:20:12 PM

Great post, Jeremy and I'm glad I found your website (through Queerty). I have emailed with Maggie throughout the year and suffice to say she has her argument down pat. She must know deep down that she will lose and be on the wrong side of things.

Just had lunch last week with my pal Chad Griffin of the American Foundation for Equal Rights (the group behind the Olsen and Boies Prop 8 trial that starts 2 weeks from yesterday). It's gonna be awesome and it's going to change everything in Maggie's little world.

Posted by: Clark | Dec 29, 2009 10:50:14 AM


I live in CT, and I literally cried with joy when the Court ruled in favor of marriage equality. I called my 15-year-old daughter, who's a lesbian, to tell her, she was attending her school's GSA meeting, and she shouted out the news. I heard much cheering and clapping in the background.

As a CT resident, I know there was little pushback from the bigots. It's just not that big a deal here in CT.

And this is not just a Catholic, or even a Christian issue. In a bizarre move, some Orthodox rabbis in NJ have sided with the religious right and come out against marriage equality. It amazes me that Jews, of all people, would aid fundamentalist Christians in their desire to codify their religious views into law. How self-defeating and stupid is that? When the Christian fundamentalists decide to mandate school prayers to Jesus, what are the Orthodox rabbis going to say then? How are they going to argue that that's any different? (I'm Jewish.)

It makes me insane when people use their religious beliefs as an excuse to discriminate.

Like you, I can't claim to know why Maggie Gallagher does what she does. Her actions are certainly reprehensible, and it's hard not to think she is, at heart, a bigoted, mean, vicious would-be inquisitor. But I do think you're doing the right thing in taking on the results of her rhetoric, and avoiding dealing with why she does what she does.

I also think that as more kids feel empowered to come out at a younger age, their parents will push back more against homophobia. My ex-husband and I were always for equal rights for everyone, which is probably why my daughter felt comfortable coming out to us at 14. Before she came out the bigots angered me, now I want to physically harm them. I think that parents of gay people need to speak out more, and louder. I know some do, but it seems to me that the parents are a huge untapped resource. One thing I know is do not get between a parent and his/her kid.

My 78-year-old mother is all for marriage equality too. Sadly, my daughter tells me that too many younger people are homophobic.

I'm sorry for the long post, I think you can see this is something I feel very passionately about, and it's hard to contain my feelings.

It's very, very, hard not to fight hatred with hatred. Sometimes I do give way to it. But I do think, for all the setbacks, we're winning.

Keep up the great work, Jeremy, and mazel tov on your marriage. Remember this about Connecticut: Come for the beauty, stay for the equality.

Posted by: Katie | Dec 29, 2009 2:44:16 PM

Hi, I am a friend of Jacklyns, and have followed your beautiful for some time. I hate people like this Maggie person!! The "definition" of marriage as of 2010 should read: The legal joining of two individuals that love each other and want to share the duties and responsibility of the constitution of the state they live in.

All anti gay people should get a hobby:)

Posted by: Paul McNerney | Dec 30, 2009 10:18:11 AM

Congratulations on your marriage, Jeremy! Looks like we have something in common--I married the love of my life in Canada in 2007 and that is something that hateful bitch and others like her cannot take away. I suspect it's eating them up that they cannot do much if anything about Canada and I live to see the day they cannot do anything about it in the U.S. as well.

Maggie Gallagher is one sick woman and I mean that literally. Sorry if your marriage sucks, Maggie, but that's not our fault. You have problems in your life, but do you address them? Nope. Far easier to blame gay and lesbian people and spew hatred towards us, trying to make our lives hell because yours so obviously is. You say that you don't hate GLBT people but even when I see your loathesome picture, I can sense the hate coming off you like fog on a moor. Oh and sweetie, do something about that awful die job--it just makes you look more like the witch you are.

Posted by: Ioan | Dec 31, 2009 10:17:36 AM

This is fascinating. I thought I was the only one having a personal conversation with Maggie. I've made essentially the same arguments with her, and she sticks with it for the most part. One thing that might help us understand her (public) opinion is her debate at the CATO institute. If you can stand listening to/watching the whole thing, it's kind of fascinating to watch the machinations she has to go through to get to her point. (link: http://www.cato.org/event.php?eventid=2935 )

I just got NOM's end-of-year fundraising appeal, which made me nauseous just reading it. And I told her so. No reply yet; this is me holding my breath.

What I've found in my conversations with her is that she has no real connection to those she attacks. I told her I likened what she does to a bomber pilot dropping bombs on a village, but never going back to that village to see the incredible damage and shattered lives she leaves behind. I've also found that she really dislikes being told that she's hurting people, and probably doesn't believe it.

The one thing that stands out most in that debate, though, is that she says she believes that man+woman+children is the "ideal." As a Jew, I'm very, very wary whenever someone tells me what the ideal way of being is. Hitler had his own ideas about that. And Maggie is an unlikely poster child for anything according to her definition of ideal. She was a single mother for 10 years. She's married to a non-Christian, non-white man. Heaven knows how her poor children are getting by.

But hypocrisy is what they live by over there at NOM. "Do as I say, not as I do." That didn't work when we were in third grade, and it certainly doesn't work now.

Posted by: Dan Kaufman | Jan 1, 2010 9:18:34 AM

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