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Late '90s Maggie: Fed govt. shouldn't be a weapon (until George W. Bush gets in office)

by Jeremy Hooper

In a syndicated column published in March of 1998, Maggie Gallagher said the following about a lower court ruling that sided in favor of equality as it applies (or at least should apply) to the Boy Scouts:


Uhm, okay. But the only problem for Clinton era Maggie? Pushing for federal interference is exactly what she'd move on to do with her career only a few short years later! Because let's be honest: In modern-day America, no attempt to use the federal government against a certain group of people has been any more militant, fear-inducing, agenda-laden, or costly that the push for a federal marriage amendment. A push that Maggie not only supported and continues to support, but one for which she testified before the Judiciary Committee (while failing to mention that she herself was on the Bush administration's payroll).

The FMA may not have been against any one gay organization directly -- but it was against all of them collectively!

The problem, as with so many far-right presentations, is one of terminology. Maggie set up this Boy Scout situation as being a competition between "promoting homosexuality" and "promoting a traditional conception of sexual virtue." But the truth, of course, is that "promoting homosexuality" is simply social conservative code-wording for anything that helps gives LGBT people a fairer shake, and "promoting a traditional conception of sexual virtue" is anything that keeps heterosexism alive. So the real "battle," then and now, is one between acceptance of the world's full picture vs. acceptance of only the parts that one find personally pleasing. Had Maggie accurately assessed this lay of the land, then it'd be easy for people to understand that the government interest, both in terms of scouting and marriage, is one of equal access/non-discrimination and not "promotion." But that kind of fair-minded assessment is not what Maggie chose to use then, nor is it what she chooses to use now. And this deliberate obfuscation is perhaps the most major "culture war" issue at hand.

But Maggie was right about one thing: She didn't need to add the parenthetical element about not dreaming of using the federal government to stop what she calls the promotion of homosexuality but that the rest of us refer to as fairness. What she instead needed to do was give her selfish marriage desires a rest back when there was still time! She forfeited that opportunity, instead going on to head up a group for whom interference with the attempt to "promote homosexuality" is the sole goal. Sad.

**Maggie's full column: This is justice? [United Press via Boca Raton News]


*UPDATE: 1998 seems to have been a formative year for Maggie's burgeoning capacities for interference. Check out the following 11/98 snippets, wherein Mags begins cultivating her side's still-in-place strategy of (a) detaching their marriage-stripping efforts from the concept of banning, and (b) reframing the debate so that it doesn't look like they are condemning anyone:


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Your thoughts

Here is what I find to be interesting. For anyone who has noticed the tone of her more recent writings, there is a slight (and I do mean slight) more respect for the gay community. She rarely uses the word "homoSEXual" like so many of her counterparts do in order to put more emphasis on the sex part.

In these earlier writings, I get more of a sense of "high-and-mightyness." When she talks about how she's labeled a bigot for her views, could it be because of these writings, and she decided to tone it down more recently to prove to the world that she's not a bigot?

Hasn't she also said many times that she's not against gay people, she just wants marriage to be protected? Hmm, not really feeling the love from 1998!

Ugh, I need a Zima!

Posted by: Bearchewtoy75 | Feb 17, 2010 12:34:22 PM

I think it's very important to bring this stuff from the 80s and 90s to light, from the days before their current "poisoned honey" strategy was fully formed. It's very revealing to see their cynical house's foundations being poured and the walls going up. It needs to be waved in their faces as often and publicly as possible.

Remember, we will never convince them. They know they're lying, and in fact they enjoy lying to our faces and knowing they're hurting us. Maggie is right when she says she doesn't hate us. She just takes pleasure from cruelty, at making helpless things suffer, like a child torturing a frog.
That is the alpha and omega of her motivation.

Instead, we're speaking to the large silent audience of normal people, who by and large don't like cruel psychopaths. It reminds them of the ones they've met, the abusive boss, the conman, the child rapist, the kid who burned a kitten alive to watch it die. This is what they are, and everybody, EVERYBODY needs to know.

Posted by: marsmannetje | Feb 17, 2010 1:42:00 PM

"The FMA may not have been against any one gay organization directly -- but it was against all of them collectively!"

Maggie is attempting to argue that her side is seeking to affirm those things that are "good", while not overtly condemning something that she considers to be "bad". But, that's a false argument. Laws which "affirm" marriage between one man and one woman, are written that way such that they would pass a facially neutral test. By wording the law in that "affirmative" fashion, it passes an insubstantial facially neutral test.

Wording the law such that it "bans same-sex marriage," would not be facially neutral, as it singles out a class of people for differential treatment, and would immediately trigger heightened scrutiny in court. Of course, the underlying intent was most definitely to ban same-sex marriage, but since it is "facially neutral", it requires that a more substantial case be brought in order to prove that heightened scrutiny is appropriate.

So, her flowery words about affirmation and "good" are just lies to gloss over the fact that the wording was such that it passed a facially neutral test, where the intent of the law was anything other than affirmative or good. So, since they couldn't write a law that was "against" anyone or any group, they had to write a law that "sounds" like it applies to everyone - even though it doesn't.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Feb 17, 2010 9:41:08 PM

Maggie Gallagher appears to be channeling Anita Bryant these days. It’s hard to tell if she really believes half the stuff she says. I think she and Brian Brown are just in it for the money. Their incorrectly named “National Organization for Marriage” solicits donations at its website. Maggie has another hate-gay-for-pay website but I forget the name. There, too, she pleads for money to “defend marriage”. All while touting the benefits of marriage (longer life, greater health and more wealth) for couples and children, as if gay couples and THEIR children didn’t exist!

What’s next for Maggie? Well, once she’s finished crippling families led by gay couples, she’ll move on to something just as ambitious. Advocating that black babies be denied immunizations? Recommending that the elderly be euthanized at age 85? Stay tuned.

There must be a lot of money in defending the indefensible. Here’s a woman whose research shows that, all other factors being equal, children are much better off when their parents are married, rather than unmarried. Yet, inexplicably, hideously, she insists that the children of same-sex couples be denied the many benefits that having married parents bring! She may be a Yale graduate (like George Bush!) and a devout Catholic but that doesn’t mean she’s not a monster. What else do you call someone who actually advocates a social policy (marriage discrimination) that harms children?! What’s next for Maggie? Advocating that black babies be denied immunizations?

Posted by: Kevin | Feb 18, 2010 11:37:44 PM

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