Maggie meltdown

“Political movements can–sometimes at great human cost and with great output of energy–sustain a lie but eventually political regimes founded on lies collapse in on themselves.”

This would be a pretty good description of the current state of the anti-gay industry, as it pulls out all the stops in its effort to stop the march of history toward justice. Unfortunately, the quote is from Maggie Gallagher (most recently known for the widely ridiculed National Organization for Marriage advertisement, not to mention for cluelessly and hilariously naming her new anti-gay campaign “2M4M”). Instead, she is apparently referring to the “lie” that systematically dehumanizing a group of people and demanding the right to discriminate against them makes one a “bigot.” Accusations of bigotry are indeed strong words – it could be that Maggie has just carelessly overlooked the fact that her GLBT neighbors, co-workers and relatives are flesh-and-blood human beings like herself. I really don’t know. But I do know that she is having an embarrassing public meltdown.

Having already used the hyperbolic “Armageddon” to describe a potential loss of Prop 8 in California, what can activists like Maggie possibly call Iowa, Vermont, and all the other states lining up to enact marriage equality? What name do they have for the yawning chasm that now separates their denial of variability in sexual orientation from the views of the generation that will be running things in a few short years? James Dobson made an attempt, and it contained the words “we” and “lost.”

Not Maggie. She still believes that she can and should have her viewpoint protected, not from censorship, but from marginalization. She won’t, she can’t, admit that she is just on the wrong side of history. In order to convince herself otherwise, she plays the victim, the brave freedom fighter speaking up for all those who are “enormous untapped energies” for her cause but don’t know it yet. The fact that her behavior has made her a laughingstock then becomes evidence that her fantasy is reality: It’s not that public opinion has changed, she explains; “what’s changed is the punishment the gay marriage movement is inflicting on dissenters, which is narrowing the circle of people willing to speak. This is a very powerful movement, no question. Nobody understands that better than I do.” And when playing the victim isn’t adequate to the task, she seems to have no problem with just making up her own conclusions; the battle isn’t lost, she says, because “in the March 12 CBS News poll two-thirds of Americans agree with us.”

Does she mean this poll?

Although six in 10 Americans think some form of legal recognition is appropriate for same-sex couples, only a third of Americans think those couples should be allowed to marry.

Another 27 percent of Americans support civil unions for same-sex couples, while 35 percent thinks there should be no legal recognition of same-sex relationships at all.

Since Maggie doesn’t support any civil status for the life partnerships of same sex couples to the extent that they “intend to approximate the design, qualities, significance or effects of marriage,” it appears that only a shrinking 35 percent fringe of Americans actually agrees with her. That inconvenient fact didn’t fit the argument she was making, though – so never mind. More poll results:

Americans are somewhat more supporting of gay marriage or civil unions than they were in 2004. Then just 22 percent supported gay marriage and 40 percent said there should be no legal recognition of same-sex relationships.

An eleven point shift in support of marriage equality since 2004 represents no change in public opinion? In what universe? But my favorite line has to be this:

Really, this marriage idea has been around for a long time. I think it has legs.

Well, yes. We think so, too. The public declaration that two people are now a family, and are from now on to be treated as such rather than as two unrelated individuals, and to have that declaration celebrated with reverence by one’s community, family, and government is very powerful. It’s precisely because the idea “has legs” that equality in marriage will do nothing but strengthen it. That will prove to be true regardless of the energy wasted on kicking and screaming about it.

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