Maggie Rules

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A few years ago a highly visible and influential member of the Christian Right appeared on one of the cable news shows talking about homosexual marriage. He said that homosexuality was harmful to society and to the individuals who practiced it. A week later this same man appeared again on the same topic only this time he said opposition to homosexual marriage was not about condemning homosexuals but about protecting children who need moms and dads, something homosexual couples can never provide. Sometime between his first appearance and his second, he was visited by one of the wisest social analysts in the country, Maggie Gallagher of the National Movement for Marriage.

Maggie Gallagher has almost single handedly changed the pro-marriage movement and in the process has given it perhaps its best and only chance of saving marriage from being permanently remade in America – and therefore the world.

Christian conservatives – as in the story above – have traditionally spoken about homosexuality in language that could be construed as judgmental. But this approach does not resonate in a culture where homosexuals have been mainstreamed in television, in movies, and around your neighborhood.

What is harder to argue with, in this scientific age, is science. And the social science data is voluminously on the side of man-woman marriage. The great divorce experiment proves it. Whole libraries have been written about the profound harm done to children because of divorce. A great primal scream has emerged in popular culture from the children of divorce. Maggie says children need both mothers and fathers in the home. Why go through with this experiment on children one more time? We already know the result.

This single insight, the connection between one failed experiment and the new proposition of homosexual marriage, has changed the marriage debate. No longer are pro-marriage proponents simply troglodytes. They are not judging and condemning homosexual couples. They are on the side of social science and the children. Brilliant.

The next point has knocked the very powerful homosexual establishment back on its heels a bit: the question of religious freedom. Because of the deep theological opposition to homosexuality in many churches, there is an inevitable conflict between the rights of homosexuals and the rights of believers. A Methodist Church on the Jersey Shore that refused to rent their space for a homosexual marriage came under fire from the authorities. A Christian photographer in California who refused the business of a homosexual couple also came under legal pressure. Homosexual spokesmen point out that such instances of religious freedom end when services become public accommodations and therefore cannot be offered in a discriminatory manner. Which brings us to Maggie’s latest stroke of genius.

Maggie points out that the arguments of the homosexual advocates will inevitably seek to follow the track of the civil rights movement. What happens to people who still hold racist views? They are shunned, driven from the public square. They lose licenses to work. In short, they are pariahs not welcome in polite society.

The homosexual movement says insistently that their cause is exactly the same as the campaign for civil rights. While most blacks find this comparison repugnant and are among the most reliable supporters of marriage, Maggie points out that those who oppose homosexuality will come to appear no better than racists. They will be discriminated against. They will lose jobs and in some cases be hounded in public. This is happening already. Look at the treatment of those who were publicly exposed as financial supporters of California’s Proposition 8. This will happen to you, your mother, your grandmother.

Maggie herself is constantly vilified on homosexual websites. Google her name along with LGBT and you will read page after page of mockery and hate against this woman. They attack her message, her associations, her funding, even her looks. They hate her profoundly because she has at least slowed the juggernaut that is the homosexual movement, one that has billions of dollars behind it along with the power centers of our culture.

Maggie sees hope, though, and it came in the most unexpected place, a beauty pageant. She has described what she calls the Carrie Effect, the effect that Miss California, Carrie Prejean had on the nation and on the debate when she chose what Maggie called “truth over tiara,” saying marriage is for men and women only. The great achievement of the homosexual movement has been the inevitability argument: “You should all give up because homosexual marriage is inevitable; history is on our side.” But then Carrie Prejean stood up and spoke. And the vile, vulgar hate heaped on her gave Americans a glimpse into the future of anyone who simply believes that marriage is for men and women, and for children. From that act of resistance and in what followed, public support for homosexual marriage dropped a whopping nine percent. There is hope still.

Maggie is not the only one toiling in this unforgiving vineyard. There are many others and they should all get credit for telling the truth in a hostile environment that sometimes even includes death threats. But should we finally win, much of the praise should go to Maggie Gallagher and she should win all the awards, starting now.

Austin Ruse is the President of the New York and Washington, D.C.-based Center for Family & Human Rights (C-Fam), a research institute that focuses exclusively on international social policy. The opinions expressed here are Mr. Ruse’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of C-Fam.