Maggie Gallagher has been on quite a tour this week, declaring the fight against marriage equality to be over. Why she’s doing this is anyone’s guess, but her statements have been interesting to say the least. In a long, meandering blog post for the American Principles Project, Maggie gives her assessment of just how close to death their movement is, describing anti-gay conservative activists as in a state of shock. Let me see if I can try to help:
Right now most people who believe in the classic understanding of marriage are in shock, they are awed by the powers now shutting down the debate and by our ineffectualness at responding to these developments.
The temptation to shout and yell and stamp our feet in ineffectual ridiculousness is understandable, but it is to be resisted.
Maggie, no one shut down the debate. The debate raged for years upon years, and your side lost. One major turning point was when your side was called upon to make your case in court, and that’s when it all fell apart. Instead of relying on verifiable truth, your side relied on what your religious ideology told you was the truth, all evidence to the contrary be damned. Courts see that, and the American people see it in increasing numbers every day. That said, we agree that the shouting, yelling and foot stamping is both ineffectual and ridiculous.
The version of America we were born into is no more. For the first time in American history being a faithful Christian (or Jew or Muslim) now calls into question in the public square in a new way one’s good citizenship.
I see the victim card you just played. Your religious freedom is fully intact, but yes, I see that fundamentalists and anti-gay Catholics are having to adjust to a world where they have to play by the same rules as everyone else. You all got away with a lot back in the day, but no one sees your cohort as the arbiter of morality anymore.
The question now on the table is: will orthodox Christianity (and other traditional faiths), be stigmatized and marginalized as the equivalent of racism in the American public square? Will Biblical morality be wiped out as an acceptable public position in America?
Or will we regroup, rebuild as a subculture, and survive to become the possibility of a new foundation in the future?
Yes, severe anti-gay bigotry will be stigmatized as the equivalent of racism, because the two ideologies truly are of a kind with each other. This will happen for many reasons, but one of them is that, even among conservatives, anti-gay bigotry is dying out. No one will stop you from expressing your positions, but please understand that the First Amendment does not protect you, I or anyone else from being mocked, or from people simply choosing not to listen, as Peter LaBarbera learned recently when he tried to take his bizarre song and dance to a community college in Ohio.
Maggie goes on to recount the story of Charles Cooper, the attorney who fought for Prop 8, but whose views on marriage equality are evolving now that his daughter is engaged to a woman Cooper describes as wonderful. Maggie’s comments are, to say the least, highly insulting to the Cooper family:
I received many emails from people who were angry and upset by his comments, but if he were here in front of me (and I hope he reads this) this is what I would say to Charles Cooper:
“Thank you for your hard work, and your service. I had no idea you were working this hard, for so little benefit to yourself and your career, while simultaneously managing a family crisis like this. Thank you for being faithful to the end to your client and our cause. And I wish God’s blessings on you and your family.”
I would say this, even though I do not see how someone faithful to the Biblical or the natural law underlying it, can host a gay wedding. (More on this in another letter).
Maggie can’t see it because, regardless of the fact that her side has always used the BS “pro-family” moniker, they are not and never have been about anyone’s real family. They are fighting for an ideology that runs completely counter to the reality of how human beings live. Charles Cooper is not having a “family crisis,” Maggie. While it may have been difficult at first, he seems to be absolutely thrilled to assist his daughter in celebrating her love with her wife-to-be. Perhaps Cooper had never had firsthand experience with gay people and believed the religious right’s lies about us. Perhaps he had a “come to Jesus” moment when he realized that the lived reality of his daughter was diametrically opposed to the crap he spewed in court during the Prop 8 hearings. We don’t know what exactly transpired, but we do know that he’s choosing his own family right now, as opposed to some imagined notion of family that only really exists in the minds of anti-gay activists.
However, I will give Maggie credit for the fact that she seems to be trying to insert the idea of love into the conversation:
A movement able to withstand what is coming will have to face the Love problem first. Anything we say, anything we believe, we are going to have to be willing to say it not only with a generic gay person in the room, but as if to a beloved gay child.
Try it before you judge Charles Cooper.
Maggie goes on to discuss Brendan Eich’s resignation from Mozilla and the defeat of the anti-gay “religious freedom” bill in Arizona, and I don’t agree with much she has to say, but it’s an interesting read, if only to see what’s really going on in the mind of a woman who was, up until recently, one of the most public faces working to deny LGBT people equality in the United States of America. I encourage everybody to read it.