What happened in Maine was sad. What makes it even worse is Maggie Gallagher’s gloating.
Gallagher is president of the National Organization for Marriage. NOM is pretty proud of itself for Maine, considering they contributed nearly $2 million to repeal the law that made marriage equality a reality there.
In a Nov. 5 column, Gallagher sang the praises of the antigay right and denigrated the pro-equality No on 1 campaign.
“Here’s the first thing this victory means: The $4 million spent to pass gay marriage in Maine was wasted,” she wrote.
That’s easy for her to say. In reality, the issue is far more complex. Andrew Sullivan said it best in a Nov. 4 Daily Dish post.
“The [No on 1] campaign organization, by all accounts, was superb. The money was there. The enthusiasm was there. The turnout was spectacular in an off-year,” he wrote.
So why didn’t we win? Fear.
The antigay folks, Sullivan wrote, “play straight to heterosexuals whose personal comfort with gay people is fine but who sure don’t want their kids to turn out that way. One way to prevent kids turning out that way, the equality opponents argue, is to ensure that they never hear of gay people, except in a marginalized, scary, alien fashion. And this referendum was clearly a vote in which the desire to keep gay people invisible trumped the urge to treat them equally.”
So should we give up hope? No, Sullivan says. “In my view, the desperate nature of the current tactics against us, the blatant use of fear around children (which both worries parents and also stigmatizes gay people in one deft swoop) are signs that what we are demanding truly, truly matters.”
But that’s not how Gallagher sees it. “Even Americans in liberal states do not believe that two guys pledged to a gay union are a marriage,” she wrote. “Politicians can pass a bill saying a chicken is a duck and that doesn’t make it true. Truth matters.”
First of all, I don’t see what turducken has to do with marriage, gay or straight. Secondly, truth matters, does it? Funny, because truth wasn’t a big concern for the Yes on 1 folks. “Vote yes on 1 to prevent homosexual marriage from being pushed on Maine children,” their TV ads warned, as if marriage equality meant inevitable gay arranged marriages for Maine children. In fact, every single one of their TV ads focused on kids and schools as though the real issue being voted on was whether to turn every public school in the state into a Homosexual Learning Academy.
“We do not believe gay marriage is a civil right; we think it is a civil wrong,” Gallagher wrote. “And we do not appreciate the increasingly intense efforts to punish people who disagree with gay marriage as if we were racists, bigots, discriminators or haters.”
Oh, quit your whining. If you don’t want to be seen as a bigot, then don’t be a bigot. If you “don’t appreciate” people calling you a “discriminator” after you strip them of their rights, then don’t fuck with their rights. To deny gay and lesbian people the right to marry is discrimination. You won the right to discriminate, plain and simple. At least have the nerve to own it.
D’Anne Witkowski has been gay for pay since 2003. She’s a freelance writer and poet (believe it!). When she’s not taking on the creeps of the world, she reviews rock ’n’ roll shows in Detroit with her twin sister and teaches writing at the University of Michigan.