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NOM reboots Maggie's gay suicide post, still ignores NOM-cultivated climate

by Jeremy Hooper

To make some sort of a point about teen suicide and clean hands, NOM is reposting a column that Maggie Gallagher wrote last fall:

Last Friday NOM Chairman Maggie Gallagher was confronted by two representatives of "Get Equal" who repeatedly accused her of causing the deaths of gay teens (watch the video of Maggie's response here).

This is a good opportunity to repost a column Maggie published last October addressing exactly this charge..

Click for the repost: Follow-Up: Does Gay Marriage Prevent Gay Teen Suicide? [NOM Blog]

So that being the case (and because this writer is currently celebrating Passover with the fam and in need of a lazy post), this site will now do the same. Here's the response we offered to Maggie's original post, back on the autumn '10 day that she initially published it:


*Originally posted 10/20/10:

Maggie's forecast calls gays a 'gathering storm'
-- yet we're asked to overlook her atmospheric pressure?

Maggie-GallagherIn her latest syndicated column, Maggie Gallagher uses her one specific gay rights crusade, marriage inequality, to say that rhetoric like hers bears no responsibility for the climate that fosters anti-gay bullying, harassment, or tragic situations like suicide. And as "proof," Mags cites the gays who are still suffering in places like same-sex-marriage-having Massachusetts:

Massachusetts has been tracking gay high school students for a decade using the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

LGBT teens are roughly four times as likely as other students to have attempted suicide in the last year.

They are also about twice as likely to report being in a physical fight at school, three times more likely to say they were injured by a weapon, and almost four times as likely as other teens to say they missed school because they felt physically unsafe.

These kinds of negative outcomes are consistent with the idea that anti-gay bullying is mainly responsible for the higher suicide rate among gay teens. But as I kept reading, I kept finding the pieces of the puzzle that don't seem to fit the "it's homophobia pulling the trigger" narrative.
Forced sex, childhood sexual abuse, dating violence, early unwed pregnancy, substance abuse -- could these be a more important factor in the increased suicide risk of LGBT teens than anything people like me ever said?

The deeper you look, the more you see kids who are generally unprotected in deeply tragic ways that make it hard to believe -- if you are really focusing on these kids' well-being -- that gay marriage is the answer.

And that's exactly what the Youth Risk Behavior data also show: In 2001, gay teens in Massachussetts were almost four times more likely to have attempted suicide (31 percent vs. 8 percent). In 2007 -- after four years of legalized gay marriage in that state -- gay teens were still about four times more likely to attempt suicide than nongay teens (29 percent vs. 6 percent).
FULL PIECE: DOES GAY MARRIAGE PREVENT GAY TEEN SUICIDE? [Maggie's syndicated column, via Yahoo!]

Right, there are certainly other factors that go well beyond marriage. But here's the deal: While Maggie may focus her career on marriage, in particular, her rhetoric is not wholly about marriage. Much of Maggie's work cuts right into the cores of LGBT people! In the past Maggie was more aggressive about it, like in 2001, when she referred to homosexuality as a "sexual dysfunction" whose reparative therapy deserves research dollars:

5/14/2001, Maggie uses Dr. Robert Spitzer's study in a way that goes against his own wishes and findings: "I believe there is rather powerful evidence that human beings are a two-sex species, designed for sexual rather than asexual reproduction. If this is true, then the absence of desire for the opposite sex represents, at a minimum, a sexual dysfunction much as impotence or infertility. Human beings seeking help in overcoming sexual dysfunctions deserve our respect and support (and may I mention, President Bush, more research dollars?)." [Source]

Or in '00, when she presented gays as abnormal members of the species:

3/20/2000, Maggie defends Dr. Laura: "In a simple biological framework abstracted from all religion and morality, homosexuality is like infertility. It is a sexual disability preventing certain individuals from participating in the normal reproductive patterns of the human species." [Source]

But there's also plenty to fault in Maggie's modern day stuff with NOM, where she's pointedly told gay people that they "can always control" their "unfortunate" behavior:


*AUDIO SOURCE: In The Market with Janet Parshall -- 8/9/10 [Moody Radio]

Or the time she talked the "several different kinds of very serious sins" that both gays and their straight supporters are supposedly embracing:


*Source: Catholic Answers Live -- 6/30/08

Or there's the pure callousness that comes out when she "humorously" likens gay people to castrated domestic cocks:

(click to play audio clip)
[*SOURCE: Iowa's WHO radio, Jan Mickelson's show]

And so on, and so on. The point is: The anti-gay climate is not a piecemeal, issue-by-issue kind of thing. There is progress and acceptance, and then there is rejection. Maggie and NOM are on the wrong side of that equation.

It is 100% impossible and 101% illogical to disconnect Maggie's one stated crusade, marriage, from the larger "culture war" of which she is a MAJOR part. Yes, Massachusetts has marriage on the state level. But state-level marriage does not eliminate the centuries of anti-gay/heterosexist baggage that has been cultivated here in America! Even in the most progressive enclaves, the forced differentiation is still in play. And Maggie Gallagher is certainly not working to combat that. On the contrary.

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