Monday, May 4, 2015

Maggie Gallagher's Gish Gallup - a porous poor us while neck deep in doo


Maggie Gallagher is full of crap.

On Friday Gallagher wrote a woe-is-us letter to Anthony Kennedy. It wasn't really a letter (it was a piece in the National Review) and it is doubtful that Justice Kennedy knew of its existence let alone read Gallagher's missive. Another thing likely occurred on Friday. The justices of the United States Supreme Court conferenced, voted on the marriage cases and assigned the opinion. But getting back to Gallagher she starts with a monumental Gish Gallop:
The forces for gay marriage are powerful. You have been their hero in the past, when gay people were not so powerful. The tables are turned now, as I think is clear to everyone. The LGBT community has built a powerful cultural, legal, and political movement. They are not helpless or friendless. They do not need you to distort the Constitution to win the right to live as they choose. We who believe in the traditional understanding of marriage do need your help. We live at a time when our livelihoods are under new attack, when our standing as equal citizens is under attack, when the system of ideas and the deep human realities that gave rise to marriage for millennia are now being dismissed as mere bigotry, as irrational, incomprehensible hatred.
Dissecting one paragraph begets a treatise on intellectual dishonesty.

The “power” of the LGBT equality movement is derived from being on the right side of the issues and the right side of history. Before Gallagher postures as an underdog, it is probably worth noting that we have been up against the full weight of the Roman Catholic Church. In fact we are still battling the enormous might of the Church. Then what follows is classic Maggie bullshit as she indulges in the notion – stated as fact – that a ruling for marriage equality represents a distortion of the Constitution. At the same time she gets in that “right to live as they choose” as in “choosing the homosexual lifestyle.”

Let's talk about “we who believe in the traditional understanding of marriage.” Gallagher really means people who are not only opposed to same-sex marriage but those who would impose their beliefs on everyone else. Yes, those folks – those religious extremists – are going to be subjected to some ridicule.

Then we get to the ubiquitous self-manufactured victimhood. A handful of conservative Christians have chosen to violate anti-discrimination ordinances having nothing to do with marriage, by the way, and have been prosecuted accordingly. That does not equate to “livelihoods under attack.” If livelihoods are under wholesale attack it would be those of gay employees of Catholic schools. “Standing as equal citizens under attack?” Maggie is amazing. An exquisite level of chutzpah is required of someone to falsely complain of her inequality as she is attacking marriage equality.

We are left with ideas and realities “dismissed as mere bigotry, as irrational, incomprehensible hatred.” No Ms. Gallagher. No. Gallagher as co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage, along with Robert George, were singularly interested in advancing the agenda of the Catholic Church to affect public policy. The Church has absolutely no right to attempt to impose its rules on anyone other than its voluntary adherents.

Catholics might feel it “irrational” if a group of politically connected rabbis forced Jewish dietary laws on the general public. In this case we are dealing with civil rights. Interfering with those rights because of what amounts to what some perceive as superstition is going to cause some people to feel that opponents are bigoted, or even haters. If you don't like the temperature of the water the solution is to adjust the tap.

Whew. I got through the first paragraph. Only five more paragraphs to go. To save us both some time, I am going to treat the remainder of this polemic in summary form. You can reasonably assume that Ms. Gallagher is neck deep in the same bullshit.
Let me offer you four reasons why you should reject the idea that marriage equality requires all states to treat gay unions as marriages.

1. It is not true that same-sex and opposite-sex couples are equal. …
The legal term is “similarly situated.” Notwithstanding the dim view of the Catholic Church on our unions this issue was seemingly settled in United States v. Windsor. The justices decided that Edie Windsor was a surviving spouse for inheritance tax purposes just like any other surviving spouse. The justices reached this conclusion without consulting with any members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
2. The equality line will require continual policing, because it is based on an untruth about human nature. …
I have read the entire tedious paragraph thrice. It makes no sense whatsoever. Its conclusion is the tired, unimpressive and unpersuasive conclusion that same-sex marriages are not marriages because they don't crank out kids. “Policing?” In what form or by whom? Ugh.
3. This policing of the equality line will fall the heaviest on those most committed to the older view of marriage, that it is deeply rooted in the reality that society must bring male and female together to make the future happen; that marriage is more than a relationship, it is a social institution with purposes larger than the intentions of the young couple in love, that it exists to channel erotic love in such a way that men and women can live together across the gender divide, and share the task of loving and raising their children. …
The run-on sentence makes this no more convincing. Aside from the fact that Gallagher is just repeating herself she conveniently ignores the fact that gay couples are raising children. That those kids are not the product of the couple's love making is irrelevant. And so is Gallagher.
4. Finally, dear Justice Kennedy: Government cannot confer dignity on our relationships. …
This relates to a comment made by Justice Kennedy during oral argument. Gallagher is partially correct. However, the government can – and should – confer dignity on the relationships of committed gay couples by recognizing the simple truth that they are the legal equivalent of opposite-sex marriages.

In the words of Hamlet, Ms. Gallagher, “Go thy ways to a nunnery.” I concede that quote is a bit out of context and Mr. Shakespeare had something different in mind for Ophelia but you get the idea.

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