An Interview With Maggie Gallagher, Head Of The National Organization For Marriage

On Tuesday, I interviewed Maggie Gallagher, head of the National Organization For Marriage. What follows is a slightly edited transcript of our conversation. Enjoy!

First question, let’s just say that I don’t care much about gay marriage one way or the other — and I’m wondering what difference would it make in my life personally whether someone who is gay gets married or not? What would you say to someone like that?

Well, here’s the first answer. You know, you’re talking about changing the definition of marriage for everyone.

Here’s the second and most important answer: look at what they’re doing to Carrie. Okay, I mean look at what they’re doing to a nice girl. She’s a beauty pageant contestant. All she did was say when asked, “Hey I think marriage should be between a man and woman,” and they’re reacting and dumping on her and trying to destroy her as if she had said something shameful and controversial.

So what we need to learn from Carrie is that they’re dumping on people who believe that marriage means a man and a woman because they don’t want to debate the consequences of gay marriage. They don’t want you to think about what it means when your government adopts a law that says you’re like a bigot if you disagree with the government’s definition of marriage.

What are some of the real world consequences of that, Maggie?

We’ve already seen a parent told that public schools in Massachusetts are going to teach his six-year-old son that gay marriage is okay whether he likes it or not.

We’ve seen a Christian adoption agency driven out of business, Catholic charities in Boston (are getting out of the business) because they won’t personally place children with gay couples. Now gay adoption is the law; I mean obviously gay couples can adopt. The question with gay adoption is whether one single adoption agency can disagree with the government and act on the view that there is something different about unions of husbands and wives and the government said no in Connecticut.

In New Jersey we’ve already seen a Methodist group punished by the government, fined $20,000 because they don’t let their property be used for a gay civil union ceremony. We’ve seen a Christian physician in California who was fined by the government and the Supreme Court said, “Oh, yes, this is fine” because she doesn’t want to personally create a fatherless child by impregnating a gay couple.

We’ve seen a Christian marriage counselor in Georgia’s job threatened. She was perfectly willing to say, “Okay I don’t really think I can help this gay couple sustain their relationship because I don’t think their relationship is right. But I’ll refer them to another counselor who will help them.” That wasn’t good enough because, you know, this is a political movement with a political goal. By the way, I have to pause and say I don’t blame gay people. I don’t blame gay marriage supporters or married people. This isn’t what they want.

This is a political movement and their leaders understand that their goal is to use the law to punish people who disagree with their views on gay marriage and on gay things generally. And so I think, Carrie’s story is resonating so powerfully because it makes it so evident the underlying dynamic. You could not be kinder or more civil or more anxious not to offend than Carrie. But it didn’t matter. They’re going after her with anything they have because you’re not allowed to believe that marriage means a man and a woman in the view of the gay marriage advocates. And that’s why at the National Organization For Marriage, we have to side with Carrie.

I have to say she’s not my spokesman, I didn’t pay her for the appearance. We used clips from her pageant appearance. She didn’t cut any ads for us. She sticks up for herself — but we’re very proud that she showed up to give a big shout-out to the National Organization for Marriage on a volunteer basis because she recognizes that when you’re in this fight for marriage they come after you with everything they’ve got.

Now here’s another argument you hear a lot. “Well I’m not going to get divorced because two gay guys get married. So how can it hurt the number of people getting married? How can it decrease it?”

I don’t think it’s going to hurt my marriage — but, I think it’s going to change the definition of marriage for every person going forward and it’s going to affect young people particularly. I don’t understand how we’re going to raise young men to be good family men in a culture where the government tells them that the idea that a child has a father as well as a mother is an example of hateful bigotry — but, that’s what gay marriage is about. That’s saying if you see any difference between gay and straight, (you’re bigoted). If you can’t distinguish between these two things with regard to marriage, there is nowhere you can distinguish them. My own view is that same sex unions are not marriage. If the government passes a law that says ducks are chickens, it doesn’t make it true….

Now, Maggie, if we do have gay marriage, do you think that opens the door to other types of marriage?

My answer to that is there is no principled reason why you don’t have polygamy if you have gay marriage. …but, the real truth is go ask the guys at Harvard Law School because they’ll work it out and then they’ll impose their will on the rest of us. That’s a lesson to the gay marriage debate.

I don’t know if it’s going to lead to polygamy. It certainly could. There is no reason why it wouldn’t. Whether it does depends on what the, you know, the black robed power brokers who are running this movement believe.

Well, a related question to that, you may or may not be able to answer is what about the argument that says that there’s an Equal Rights clause in the Constitution, so isn’t it constitutionally mandated that gays be able to get married?

Let me just say that a majority of courts have already disagreed with that position and they’re not in “red” states. In New York, Washington State, Maryland, they’ve already rejected the idea that there is a constitutional right to gay marriage, but, the fundamental truth is it’s not discrimination to treat different things differently. …It’s unjust for the law to insist that people believe something that’s not true which is that same sex unions are the same as opposite sex unions. It’s not true, it’s unjust and it could have a lot of negative consequences if the government adopts a lie and requires us to believe it.

Let me ask you one more question along these lines. Intriguingly the latest argument against gay marriage from non-socially conservative people on the right is that it’s a sure fire political loser if not today then surely in a decade or so. What do you think of that argument?

The Republican Party is a mess and I’m not here to defend the Republican Party — but it’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. We lost an election because of the war in Iraq …went on too long and lost popularity, whether you agree with it or not, and an economic collapse.

…And there are always people sitting around going, “Oh, we have too many religious people in the Republican Party. ” You know what? The Democrat Party believes we have too many religious people in the Republican Party, too, and they’re working really hard to peel off a bunch of them.

I’m not here to speak for the Republican Party, but if the people who do decide that the thing to do is jettison religious voters, they deserve what they’re going to get in the election. It is the most stupid thing I have ever heard anyone say.

Now we touched on this a little bit earlier: Perez Hilton has tried to keep your latest video, which features part of his screed against Miss California, from being shown. He’s tried to get that kept off the air. He says its copyright infringement. Do you think he has any sort of case on that and please add any comments?

Oh, it’s ridiculous. …These are clearly clips in the public domain. …They’re protected under the First Amendment and we’re not worried about it — but, it shows you how afraid they are of the message.
They don’t want people debating the consequences of gay marriage and they don’t want the reality of what’s happened to get out there. So, I’m not surprised and I’m not worried. I mean they have no case — but, it’s further evidence that they want to silence people who disagree with them by any means possible.

….And the last question: one thing I’ve noticed a lot lately with what’s been going on in California and with this incident, is despite the fact that the pro-gay marriage side likes to pretend that they’re being victimized by being forced to live under the laws that have been around since the country was founded, they seem to engage in an extraordinary amount of hostile, threatening and…

I don’t want to get in a contest about victimhood because I have sympathy with ordinary gay people and the difficulty of their lives — but, what has happened since Proposition 8 is extraordinary. Ordinary Americans have had their property destroyed, their livelihoods threatened, and their business ventures attacked in a state that has full civil unions. So it has nothing to do with rights and benefits. It’s because they think marriage means a man and a woman — and no one is calling them on it.

All I’m saying is I’m not in a contest of victimhood. I don’t like being a victim. I think Carrie’s a heroine, not a victim — but, I will say watch out, look at what’s happening. This is a sign of what this movement wants to do. They want to silence, harass, oppress and intimidate because they do not want actual debate on the issue which is that gay marriages can have consequences for a lot of people.

Maggie, that’s it. Thank you.

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