The Rise and Fall of the National Organization for Marriage

Maggie warns: Telling people they’re unworthy of peace, love, rights not as safe as it used to be

May 21, 2012, by Jeremy Hooper

  • On July 24, 2011, the day that same-sex marriages began in New York City, hundreds of local couples seized their chance to obtain a marriage license.  On that very same afternoon?  The National Organization For Marriage bussed in supporters to march in the streets of Manhattan for the sole purpose of opposing those same citizens' unions.
  • In California during the summer of '08, 18,000 same-gender couples peacefully married, enjoying the newfound freedom afforded to them by the constitutionally sound opinion of an independent judiciary.  During that same summer?  The National Organization For Marriage waged a multi-million dollar war against the loving equality in the Golden State's midst, telling those couples (and all prospective same-sex couples) that their rights as taxpayers can and should be overruled by the faith-motivated whims of a 50% + 1 vote.
  • In North Carolina during the spring of 2012, citizens were asked to vote on an overreaching effort to change the state's most precious governing document so that it's an even more lock-solid repudiation of certain people's freedoms.  During that campaign?  The National Organization For Marriage teamed with what is truly one of the most over-the-top teams to ever go up against LGBT equality—a campaign where even the person at the head, Tami Fitzgerald, was on record admitting that she doesn't want to "'mainstream' homosexual lifestyles."
  • In multiple other states over the past decade (including this current election season), civil rights are forced onto the ballot by folks who think that their personally-held religious views in regards to LGBT people's moral fitness should trump this country's shared body of civil rights.  During all of these campaigns?  That National Organization For Marriage takes the lead role, working every single angle the organization can dream up in order to instill within a state's LGBT (and aligned) population that indescribably uncomfortable post–election day feeling that comes from being told certain citizens' rights are (a) subject to a popularity contest, and (b) deemed too toxic for neighborly support.

So considering the above, you'll have to forgive me if I, upon reading quips like the following that the National Organization For Marriage's cofounder included in her latest "Culture War Victory Fund" piece, can't help but choke on the galling assertion that America's anti-equality crowd is the one facing dangerous "toxic" labeling:    

Hearing only one side,  people begin to believe there’s something wrong with their views opposing gay marriage, that they are alone.
Every time a Carrie Prejean is vilified for simply opposing gay marriage, ordinary Americans learn: it’s dangerous to speak out.  Their common sense views are now “toxic.”

Maggie Gallagher

Dangerous?  Carrie Prejean got a book deal within months of her brouhaha.  She's now legally married to a pro football player.  I'm thinking if she ever even saw her gladly-solicited "scandal" as a storm, then she certainly feels that she weathered it, and with a higher profile than she ever would've under any normal Miss USA runner-up scenario.  And if she truly wants to get her heartfelt beliefs out to the public, then Carrie is surely glad for the considerable attention that she received.

LGBT people, on the other hand?  We, along with our supporters, are told on a daily basis that we are toxic—personally, politically, professionally, and more.  And ours is not a "fifteen minutes of fame" situation from which we can withdraw, moving back into the warm confines of our supportive circles.  This is life for us.  When we are deemed toxic by citizens marching in the streets on our wedding days or voting against us at any one of the polls, we have real world pitfalls attached to that "toxicity" that go far beyond anything a TMZ camera crew might say to us.  

And Maggie Gallagher?  She has, quite sadly, been at the forefront of all of this ill feeling, stirring it all up for the sake of her own political profile and personal profit!

Maggie adores the victim role—that is not news.  But as she jumps from Point A to Point Me in her attempts to overlook the truly maligned population that suffers so fully within this far-right-instigated "culture war" context, I can't help but believe that people are really starting to see right through the charade.  The truth is that there is one "side" that's living and loving in the way that they should, while there is another set of forces that's simply unwilling to accept that certain kinds of humans have grown and matured in the way they were meant to have developed.  Taking the freedoms associated with LGBT people and positioning them as toxic is the through line that binds all anti-equality advocacy, regardless of whether that positioning is explicit (as with groups like the American Family Association) or more willfully masked behind pragmatic politics (like most of NOM's state ads whenever an election nears).  As our world moves forward in its one decided, inevitable direction, I have to believe that folks are going to question someone who wants to lead the fight that produces so many tears while at the very same time claiming she is the one cowering in a corner.