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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Maggie Gallagher: As goes North Carolina, so goes hate everywhere


Maggie Gallagher is back, sounding the tocsin at National Review. She says if Pat McCrory isn’t re-elected governor of North Carolina, conservatism is doomed, and you all’ve got 69 days to stand in the gap.

How bad is it? The moon will be in the seventh house, and Jupiter aligned with Mars. There’ll be earthquakes, volcanoes. The dead rising from the grave. Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together – mass hysteria.

The lapsed, then born-again Catholic- who, during a lacuna as a “pro-life atheist” got her world view from Ayn Rand and Robert A. Heinlein, and, during the 1991 Murphy Brown TV outrage, published an op-ed called “An Unwed Mother for Quayle”-  says,

The future of religious liberty for traditional religious believers hangs on what happens to North Carolina governor Pat McCrory’s bid for re-election this November, and he is down six points in the latest CNN poll.

Just seven years ago, Gallagher, then co-chair of the fearsome National Organization for Marriage with the bristling uber-Catholic Princeton professor, Robert P. George- Naomi to her Ruth for over a decade- crowed that she had broken the back of the gay rights movement.

Now she whinges that a victory for “the Left’s interpretation that people with penises can be women, too” will be dispositive proof that conservatives have no balls:

Part of the process the Left has discovered to quickly change the culture involves, first, controlling the framing of issues in mainstream media; second, bringing in entertainment media (including sports) to validate and repeat the idea that outrageous things are being done to gay people by letting gay-marriage dissenters keep their jobs; and, three, persuading GOP elites to shut up about the issue, leaving the pathway to cultural change uncontested.

Politics is really not a separate thing from culture; it is part of the way conservatives contest, and Liberals complete, the Left’s cultural domination. Its most important cultural effect in a democracy is to determine which views are “inside the mainstream” and which are “radical and outside the pale.” Thus, persuading Republican elites to shut down on an issue has enormous cultural, as well as political, consequences. That is how “consensus culture” is created.

(Phallocentrism means a lot to Gallagher: at the article’s end she rears its ugly head again: “The particular issue in North Carolina is whether schoolgirls should be forced to shower with people with penises”).

Take away their lurid bathroom sex fantasies, Gallagher argues, and the GOP will be left a dessicated shell:

Once gay issues are out of the way the Left will use these same techniques on the other things it cares about most, hoping to reduce the Republican party to a sterile and politically impotent quasi-libertarian, pro-business economic message.

In other words, what Republicans were before 1980.

Maggie Gallagher abandoned NOM several years ago, admitting her spite-filed campaign to keep the gays in their place had failed. It now exists as a spam factory run by her successor, Brian Brown, who spits out daily money begs with up to two dozen links to his electronic donations portal. Still raising money at to pay for buses to an anti-marriage equality rally in April 2015, NOM mainly pays Brown’s reported $500,000 annual salary, and asks for more money to keep paying it.

Brown launched a laughable campaign to chose the 2016 GOP presidential nominee from its shortlist of “Champions of Marriage”- Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum and Bobby Jindal- who, coincidentally were the only four of the sixteen primary flameouts to sign NOM’s marriage pledge. Brown has so bled NOM of credibility that it is a near-zero among anti-LGBT religious leaders. Dobson, Graham, Perkins, none mention or associate with him, and he wasn’t invited to Donald Trump’s pre-convention cattle call.

Among the more epic fails of Gallagher's leadership was a Starbucks boycott campaign (they hired homos, and sold them coffee, too) for which she garnered 25,000 supportive online signatures (a pro-Starbucks group got 637,000).

During NOM’s defense of a Maine lawsuit to force the group to comply with the state’s public disclosure laws for campaign financing, a 2009 Gallagher memo surfaced in which she called on anti-marriage supporters to foment accusations of bigotry by LGBT groups by being bigots themselves:

The memo was contained in a trove of documents unsealed by a federal judge on Monday in a case in Maine, where the group, the National Organization for Marriage, spearheaded a successful ballot initiative in 2009 to outlaw gay marriage and has sued to overturn state ethics laws that would require the group to reveal the donors who financed that effort.

“The strategic goal of the project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks — two key Democratic constituencies,” reads a portion of the memo, describing an initiative called the “Not a Civil Right Project.”
The project’s goal, according to the memo, is to recruit blacks who oppose gay marriage to serve as spokespeople for the group, then “provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots.”

Another initiative, described under the heading “Internationalizing the Marriage issue: A Pan-American Strategy,” is to convince Hispanic voters that efforts to legalize gay marriage would force them to assimilate to “the dominant Anglo culture.”

The memo suggests that the strategy was inspired by successful efforts to outlaw same-sex marriage by initiative in California in 2008, when the measure passed with strong support from black voters, who turned out heavily to support Barack Obama for president.

Feeling her oats after her 2008 California win, Gallagher pumped out a 2009 National Review article with the tragically unprophetic title, “Why Gay Marriage Isn't Inevitable.”

Having sought to call down the heavens upon its supporters for political gain, NOM has wasted vast sums of money- led by John C. Eastman, the hired gun North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate President Phil Berger parachuted in to defend their 2012 constitutional amendment banning marriage equality- to keep its membership and donor lists secret, lest the mean gays hunt them down and flog them with lillies: the very backlash they so assiduously courted.

Forced to cough up the list, NOM turned out to get almost no financial support from anyone but the Knights of Columbus and a handful of individuals in Maine; while they raise money for buses to bring Americans to DC for their annual antigay rally, nearly all the crowd, and buses, are provided by a Harlem hate preacher who promises his parishioners a day trip to the nation’s capital; they just have to sit through the timeshare pitch and pretend interest.

Seeing defeat of NOM’s 2008 California marriage equality referendum looming in federal court, Gallagher wailed that cameras must, simply must! be barred from the courtroom, lest the public learn just how bigoted and spiteful were its advocates. Not to mention that their lead scientific witness was going to admit he couldn’t think of a single way same-sex marriage would harm anyone.

Another Gallagher brainwave was to argue that if marriage equality became the law, straight people would see marriage as so devalued they would abandon it in droves, leading to more unwed mothers, abandoned children, and abortions- and all to be blamed on The Gays.

In 2010, after the gay college student Tyler Clementi committed suicide after discovering his roommate videod him making out with another man and broadcast it on the internet, Gallagher huffed,

I do not think the absence of gay marriage is the cause of these tragedies or its presence will resolve them. We can make this a symbol of all our other fights, or we can try to save all our kids, gay and straight, from this kind of ugly and mindless cruelty. My heart goes out to the family of the young man. God bless him and them.

Of course, Gallagher’s solution has always been “reparative therapy”, the snake oil peddler’s wagonload of flummery and torture long peddled by closeted gay men like former University of South Carolina professor and antigay adoption expert witness for hire George Rekers, who got caught schlepping suitcases off a Miami airport carousel while his rent-boy baggage handler (Rekers claimed a bad back necessitated an aide for his madcap holiday spree in Europe, sans Mrs Reker) preened before a glass partition. Gallagher spewed pixels galore defending the New Jersey-based JONAH Project as it fought, and lost, a consumer protection fraud suit over its gay cure program while not revealing she was also one of its board members.

Since marriage equality won, Gallagher has tried to waddle out, repeatedly, as the leader of a new-re-galvanized Gay Resistance Movement, offering up all the failed nostrums of her time as a leader of the old, big-league movement she helped sink. She is at once Cassandra and Joan of Arc, bemoaning the doom that gathers to rally the defeatist homophobes of America to her God-blessed banner, retrieved by her from the stricken field where she abandoned it.

Ponderous is the house style at National Review, and Gallagher has made herself into a discount store David Brooks with columns like this celebration of the Kentucky moral scold, Kim Davis (with whom she shares an unerring fashion sense), and the inconveniences of civil disobedience:

Kim Davis is showing us what conscience looks like. After all, getting in front of a slavishly approving media à la Ferguson does not confer moral significance on one’s willingness to break the civil law for a higher law. What makes civil disobedience noble is a willingness to sacrifice, if necessary, rather than submit to the civil law.

But is civil disobedience really necessary? The conscientious objector’s willingness to pay a price throws the ball back into our court: Are we satisfied with this result? Can we do better? Do we want to?

In the runup to the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision, Gallagher lumbered to podiums across America to predict the coming of “"legal and the moral equivalent of racism in the public square."

"Christianity in this country is going to enter a new phase where we are a hated minority group. I think we had better be psychologically and spiritually prepared for that and be prepared to rebuild from the ruins of the collapse of civilization that we're witnessing."

And she warned of an apocalypse, of sorts – which, apparently, is already here.

"At least one civilization is over with and what the next phase of American civilization will be is yet to be determined."

A month later, she penned an open letter to Justice Anthony Kennedy, author of the Obergefell decision, on behalf of “the newly-stigmatized” ranks of politicovangelicals wanting their right to freely stigmatize back, either in custom or under legal armor she says Republican legislators owe them in spades.

In March, Gallagher turned her gimlet eye to the turmoil among Georgia conservatives, their religious discrimination law in peril:

The fight, a window into the soul of the GOP,  spilled over into the Georgia GOP convention, when all 11 Congressional delegations among others voted to support the original language.

However, the bill is still not law, and Gov. Nathan Deal and House Speaker David Ralston both side with the let the little guys be punished out of business in the name of avoiding gay equality wrath.

What are the lessons to be learned from the Georgia fight?

This is an issue that can tear apart the Republican Party.  Corporations had best think a bit about how much they like working in Democrat-controlled territory before jumping on board this train.

State RFRAs are bad vehicles for this fight, because they are broad and vague and their outcome is uncertain. It is very unlikely that a state RFRA will protect anyone from any gay equality wrath, precisely because courts uniformly view equality as a compelling interest, and because there is no way to make sure everyone gets treated equally while permitting some people to refuse to serve gay weddings.

A better vehicle is some version of a Marriage and Religious Freedom Act (MARFA), which prevents governments from punishing individuals and small businesses for refusing to participate in a wedding they do not approve of. If you ask me, I would carve out an exception for race and leave it at that. The protection is narrow, but tight and clear; they can be crafted to be viewpoint neutral (meaning you can refuse Maggie’s wedding if you object to it, too).  And they can be narrowed to apply to small businesses, so that the big corporations have no excuse to getting involved unless they want to be mean to the little guy.

Ted Cruz was a rock star, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, delivering two crowd-enthusing speeches, and when he went behind closed doors to speak to the press, delegates gathered behind him chanting, “We want Cruz! We want Cruz!” There is an opportunity here for presidential candidates to make a difference pushing for the federal Marriage and Religious Freedom Act. When the Justice Department is at the Supreme Court saying religious schools and charities could lose their tax-exempt status if they don’t support “marriage equality,” it’s time to get serious about carving out protections.

Christian conservatives need to raise hard money and spend it defeating Hillary Clinton in one or two swing states by showing this anti-religious extremism is going to cost Democrats votes not only among white working class voters but also among Hispanic and black evangelicals..  I know I am repeating myself, but I am going to say it a lot.  Because Christian conservatives don’t usually do this. Time to get serious about being in politics. Past time.

A devoted recycler of trash- and past columns (the two so often overlap)- Gallagher ends her Dog Days jeremiad with this:

In Georgia and elsewhere, GOP politicians are watching: If McCrory loses, the GOP will concede whatever the Left demands on gay rights, including the right to fire gay-marriage dissenters from public position  and deprive us of our right to form nonprofit schools and charities and organizations on an equal basis with other Americans.

The Left knows it’s that serious and they are acting like it. Where are we?

Maggie Gallagher is never very strong on legal accuracy. She writes that McCrory's free pass law for district court magistrates to shun same-sex couples seeking a civil wedding (while remaining free to discriminate against LGBT litigants in any cases they hear) was passed for "marriage clerks".

Her entire thesis about McCrory's re-election fails in light of HB2 now being in the hands of the courts.

But if you can think of a more compelling reason to get out and vote against Pat McCrory than that Maggie Gallager says defeating him will kill religious discrimination laws in America, I want to hear it.

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