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Maggie Gallagher offers up some “very special talking points”

November 23rd, 2011 [General, Marriage Equality]


While GLADD is urging folks to come out to their families at Thanksgiving, Maggie Gallagher of NOM fame (you remember – the gathering storm that brought us some of the best commercial parodies of all time?) offers up some helpful tips on smacking down your gay relatives if they try to talk about their own lives at the dinner table.

Summary: Step 1: Tell them marriage is between a man and a woman for a reason (procreation argument, yadda yadda yadda). Step 2: Refute the charge of bigotry by saying that it’s not bigoted to treat different things differently; it’s just common sense. (I’m sure that argument will go over well). Step 3: Demand mutual toleration of each others’ sincere moral opinions (even though you have the moral high ground), and then state that it’s unkind and intolerant to suggest that you’re a bigot or a hater. Repeat Step 3 incessantly until your gay relative shuts up or until there is pie.

Now I’m sure there is an argument to be made (most likely by Ms. Gallagher herself) that these same steps might apply (with obvious content edits) to gay people talking to their relatives about their own lives – i.e. state the point, refute claims of narrow-mindedness against opponents, and then request mutual tolerance and respect in light of differing opinions. But I would argue that mutual tolerance and respect is not the compromise in this situation. It merely maintains the status quo of discrimination and asks us to be accepting of our own oppression. You don’t get to say, “Can’t you just respect that I believe you are inferior and will legislate to the extent I am able to keep you in a legally-inferior position?” and expect me to say, “Oh, sure, that sounds like a fair compromise.”

Mutual toleration and respect require that individuals be on equal footing. If you want mutual toleration and respect, let us get married and then disagree with it. Don’t funnel money and manpower into passing discriminatory laws to strip us of our civil rights and then expect us to be respectful and tolerant of your “moral” stance.

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2 Responses to “Maggie Gallagher offers up some “very special talking points””

  1. I just saw an episode of Mad Men where Betty is talking to her black maid about the King marches, and she just sighs and says, “You know maybe the fact that these people are causing so much trouble is a sign that its just not supposed to happen yet.” The implication is that “these people” are the source of all their own problems. I think that the fair Maggie is doing something similar here – she doesn’t WANT to take this stand, we’re forcing her to by asking her to vote for our civil rights. I find it very hard to buy her narrative of the young mother backed into a corner by an unreasonable gay (or ally) relative. Its all about reframing the victim and the persecuted.

  2. Yes – it’s similar (but not identical) to the way many people are assuming that the Occupy folks are in the wrong and/or breaking laws because they are getting arrested / beaten / pepper-sprayed.

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