Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Maggie Gallagher ducks questions, insults young voters, and affirms gay marriage during interview

Recently on a Maryland talk show, News Talk with Bruce DePuyt, Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage was interviewed regarding not only marriage equality in Maryland but also the decision by the Obama Administration not to defend DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) in the courts.

She threw out a lot of comments and talking points but tripped herself up a few times and actually affirmed gay marriage on one occasion.

Some quick points about the interview:

At 2:12, Gallagher said she is sure that if the bill is passed in Maryland allowing same-sex marriage, a referendum would overturn it. She claimed that NOM's internal polling shows that folks support stopping gay marriage 54 to 38 percent.

Of course Gallagher did not reveal that NOM got into a bit of trouble with that poll. According to Erik Hartley of the Capitol Newspaper, NOM posed the question in a specific way to get more support on their side of the issue:

 . . . NOM asked it this way: "As far as you personally are concerned, should marriage be between a man and a woman, or should it also be available to same-sex couples?"

Hmm. Why the phrase "as far as you personally are concerned"? Perhaps to appeal to people's visceral discomfort with gay people? Note that the question does not ask about the proposed law; it asks about values -- "as far as you personally are concerned" -- and how you think the world "should" be.

A more factual based poll actually showed that Marylanders favored gay marriage.

At 3:22, Gallagher says that it's not a good idea to ask young voters what they think about gay marriage. Her exact words were:

On an issue like marriage, it's not a good idea to poll the 18-year-olds and do what they think. I think we need some grownups here.

Of course she said this because a majority of young voters favor marriage equality. Gallagher's comments are spooky in that she echoes an ongoing trend to potentially disenfranchise young voters.

At 3:55, DePuyt point blanks asks her how has gay marriage hurt the institution of marriage in general. It leads to an excellent exchange in which Gallagher makes the case for marriage equality by acknowledging that gay marriage is a relationship between two loving people.

When DePuyt makes her aware of what she has done, Gallagher not only backtracks but implies that gay couples are not monogamous. And then she pulls out the "polygamy" card.

And if that's not enough, she pulls out the "gay marriage will lead to awful consequences for the rights of Christians" card by citing a case in Great Britain of a couple who were told that they could not be foster parents because they would not "affirm" homosexuality.

However, that case (in which some lgbts have actually voiced support for the couple) has nothing to do with gay marriage. According to Robert Piggot of the BBC:

The court discriminated between kinds of Christianity, saying that Christians in general might well make good foster parents, while people with traditionalist Christian views like Mr and Mrs Johns might well not. Such views, said the judges, might conflict with the welfare of children.

In other words, the court was concerned about potentially placing an lgbt child in a home which would not affirm that child.

Then Gallagher brings up a recent situation in Illinois in which the state is investigating whether or not religious groups can turn away gay foster parents. Gallagher terms this as a "result" of the civil unions bill which just passed in that state.

She omits the fact that the state is merely investigating  because these groups are receiving public funds.

In another snippet of the interview,  viewer (a good friend of mine) sent in a question which Gallagher could not answer. It has to do with an infamous claim on a mailer which NOM sent throughout Maryland claiming that gay marriage is being "taught to kindergartners" in Massachusetts.

Gallagher's answer (or non-answer) speaks for itself:


Gallagher claims that "gay marriage advocates" are saying that this claim isn't true, but again she is not being honest.

The original assertion that this claim is untrue came from the Pulitzer-Prize winning site PolitiFact, which said the following:

Bottom line: The National Organization for Marriage mailing says that Massachusetts public schools teach kindergartners about gay marriage. The wording, including the present tense verb, gives the impression this is happening now, in many schools.

But the group’s only evidence is two incidents five years ago. It’s possible that somewhere, in one of the 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts, other kindergartners have been taught about same-sex marriage. But NOM couldn’t cite any other examples. We find its statement False.

Gallagher continues to stumbles through an answer, telling DePuyt that he should ask NOM's president Brian Brown about the claim.

But shouldn't she know the answer? She may not be NOM's president, but she is speaking for the organization and therefore should have considerable knowledge of whatever talking points the organization pulls out to imply about the so-called negative consequences of gay marriage.

And by the way, she doesn't even say what's wrong with children learning about gay marriage or same-sex households (which by the way they do anyway because many of their classmates come from same-sex households).

All in all, Gallagher's interview amounts to lies, fear tactics, and bad hypothetical points.  And like all of the other times, these lies, fear tactics, and bad hypothetical points may yield success for her and NOM. But based on how she stumbled through parts of this interview, Gallagher may soon need to seek a new line of work.

Wouldn't that be nice?

It's always about 'the booty' to the religious right and other Tuesday midday news briefs

Pay attention folks. While we are giving fact filled testimony about why marriage equality is important to us while at the same time debunking religious right talking points:

Full text of my Colorado Senate committee testimony on civil unions (Daniel Gonzales of Box Turtle Bulletin)

The opposition is giving wild testimonies about sex and "the booty:"

Colorado Senate committee hears testimony about the human anus (Rosina Kovar, an at-large director for the Eagle Forum)

So what's the problem again?

And in other news (if you haven't gotten too nauseated as of yet):

Massachusetts: Worcester NAACP elects openly gay man to serve as its president
- TELL me that this isn't so cool!

The Most Deranged ‘Ex-Gay’ You’ve Seen Since The Last One You Saw - Second verse, same as the first - an "ex-gay" blaming their personal decisions to abuse drugs, etc. on the lgbt orientation.

WA bill recognizes out-of-state same-sex marriages - Not bad. Not bad at all.

NOM routinely denies personal animus. Their commenters say otherwise - Cause you just KNOW that Lenin and the Bolsheviks were gay.

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Porno Pete LaBarbera channeling Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck has nothing on "our friend" Peter LaBarbera when it comes to insane conspiracy theories.

For example, examine his take on a recent article about lgbt legislators. The article clearly states that the election of these legislators is helping to garner success for the lgbt community in the fight for gay marriage:

Of America's 7,382 state legislators, only 85 are openly gay or lesbian. They are, however, playing an outsized and often impassioned role when the agenda turns to recognizing same-sex couples with civil unions or full marriage rights.

In Hawaii and Illinois, gay state representatives were lead sponsors of civil union bills signed into law earlier this year. In Maryland and Rhode Island, gay lawmakers are co-sponsoring pending bills that would legalize same-sex marriage. In New York, a gay senator, Tom Duane, is preparing to be lead sponsor of a marriage bill in his chamber later this session.

. . . The gay lawmakers have impact in two important ways. Their speeches, often evoking personal themes, can sometimes sway wavering colleagues, and they can forge collegial relationships even with ideological foes through day-to-day professional and social interaction.

And LaBarbera knows who is "to blame" for this situation - the media. According to him:

. . . the media instead plays up stories of homosexuals to push that agenda. "It's really emotional manipulation," he exclaims. "They're saying that you should make decisions on public policy just because they're positively embracing homosexuality. We all know people who are embracing sin -- yet we don't change our view of the sin because of that." He cites such things as pornography, alcohol, and drug abuse.

LaBarbera adds that members of the liberal press also display hypocrisy by painting homosexuality in a positive light, but lambasting ex-"gays" who have been able to leave the lifestyle through a relationship with Jesus Christ.

That's right. Never mind the fact that these legislators are talking one-to-one with their colleagues about the need for pro-lgbt legislation, never mind that they are bringing a much-needed perspective in their floor speeches, and never mind that they are presenting their partners and families in important social interactions.

To LaBarbera, the successes of lgbt legislators is the "fault" of the media spinning a conspiracy so diabolical that it could have only hatched out of the mind of a James Bond villain. 

The irony is that the title of the article  featuring LaBarbera's ramblings is More evidence -- media 'playing up' homosexuality.

It's evidence alright - evidence that LaBarbera obsesses about gays and lesbians than most people that I know. And evidence that the man needs help.

It's not really his fault though. In order for him to keep up his shtick, LaBarbera can't entertain the notion that lgbts are normal human beings rather than some pawns in a plan to "destroy" American values.

If he did entertain this notion, his head would probably explode.

Related post:

Peter LaBarbera - the self-destruction of an anti-gay activist 

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