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 Washinton, D.C.-based Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), a research institute that focuses exclusively on international social policy.

(c) 2009 The Catholic Thing. All right reserved. For reprint rights write to: info at thecatholicthing dot org

The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

  • Mrs. Rene O’Riordan

    Maggie and JP11
    Maggie must have been listening closely to Pope John Paul. When asked how he could possibly take on all the opposition being directed at the Church he said he would simply preach on the beauty of Church teaching. This is so wise, instead of arguing with this one and that one simply teach the Good News. Great article and very wise thinking. – Blessings – Rene

  • Willie

    Just Simple Thoughts
    Good piece! It seems to me that if marriage is for recreation only, then homosexual marriage, incestuous marriage and even marriage to a baboon is meaningful. However, human heterosexuality produces human babies and perpetuates the human species. Procreation must have become an integral part of marriage somewhere along the line. From an anatomical point of view, it would seem that male- female intercourse is the way to go. What empowers love in marriage is the charity involved in human procreation.

  • Carl

    I agree 100% BUT
    Dear Mr Ruse: I agree with you 100% but the Church universal HAS A PROBLEM and that problem is that homosexuals abound among us and I am not talking about the chaste ones. For example, there is a Catholic site in Spanish that contains the most awful homosexual photos. I have exposed them in a blog yet NO ONE has acted against it. Talk about the straw in our eye…

  • Joseph

    Tyranny of Minority
    The tyranny of a tiny minority — an estimated 1% of the population is homosexual — would not succeed without a cheerleading mass media that positions so-called “gay marriage” as merely an alternative and acceptable lifestyle. Bishop Sheen pointed to St. Paul’s declaration that “homosexuality and atheism were related to one another as effect to cause.”

    Protestant including evangelical Lutheran now condone such immoral unions, but the Catholic Church thankfully has stood firm on the side of right.

  • Blake Helgoth

    homosexual clergy
    The Church would have a much stronger voice if there was not a higher percent of clergy that are homosexual than the average public. They have done much damage and wield much power still, although it has become weaker after the scandal. However, the issue has never been directly addressed – the scandal was not pedophilia so much as it was homosexual acts between men and post pubescent boys. These clergy often openly preach in ways that confuse the laity about the beauty of the Church’s teaching.

  • Chuck

    I makes me sad to see how “this abomination” is standing where it ought not. Where is our Phineas who will dispatch all the pervert clergy out of the holy priesthood of Christ. Where? In my little town SEVERAL priests had to be spirited off because of their misconduct. Only 7% of our population is Catholic. I don’t believe that homosexuals in the Church are a “tiny minority”.

  • Lynda

    Take up your cross
    While the world and many (so called) spiritual leaders promote the culture of the day, there are those who stand firm to the Truth to take up the cross of Christ. Not for any selfish ambition but because they Love those very people who curse them and even threaten them with death, and for those who are deceived. Christ says “follow me” and so we do, because we know Him and know His voice, because He is our treasure. John 10:27 – “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”

  • Chuck

    “Tyranny of Minority”
    They aim to take the high moral ground and make sodomy mandatory. The abomination is now standing where it ought not. We shall see what comes in the days ahead.

  • Lucius

    Catholic Thing?
    Why should the social science argument do any better against homosexual marriage than it’s done against divorce? I came to The Catholic Thing expecting an argument constructed with Christ as the cornerstone.

  • Jamie Ballenger

    Who we are
    To echo JPII and Rene: We should be speaking about who we are and why, and much less about who others are not and why. Then, live it. jb.

  • Jeffrey

    Catholic immorality
    Maggie Gallagher is a snake oil salesmen who gets paid $125,000/year by NOM to shill for “defending marriage.” Defending it from what? Adultery? Divorce? Pre-marital sex? Nope, just against same-sex marriage. This woman is so low she celebrates the many benefits of legal marriage, such as longer life, better health and greater wealth, and then turns around and says, “but gay people may not have those things!” This is extremely immoral–as is the damage to the children of same-sex couples.

  • Michael

    How many Bible readers?
    I’m guessing not many Bible readers out there. This is, after all, a Catholic website.
    It’s definitely a “Catholic thing” to accept cultural traditions as true without any regard for the Word of God. I’d recommend opening your Bible and opening your minds before posting ludicrous opinions. Nowhere in the Bible are same-sex relationships condemned. This is the simple fact.

    I’m also astonished by the blatant lies in this article. This is the work of no Christian. Rest assured.

  • Eva

    Social Science
    Oh, I just LOVE when you guys bring up “social science says this” and “social science says that,” but would you take the time to look into what social science says on same sex-parenting? Studies which look at kids of divorce vs kids with married heterosexual parents have nothing to do with same-parenting. To lean about same-sex parenting you need to look at same-sex parenting, and it has been done extensively, and trust me, social science is not on your side, so kindly stop saying it is.

  • Johan

    Outside Perspective
    This is distressing. Every time that LGBT activists try to engage with you and offer to debate the issues, you paint them as hateful, vile, and vulgar. We come time and time again, hat in hand, begging for recognition of our equality and our dignity and usually receive no better than the ballot box equivalent of a boot to the face, often preceded by propaganda and blatant lies. You paint yourselves as persecuted only because you are not willing to treat with us as equals. We are willing.

  • Jeffrey

    The truth, please
    By the way, Carrie Prejean didn’t say she was against same-sex marriage, she said that, given her upbringing and personal beliefs, she thinks marriage should be between a man and a woman. If you read her entire response to the gay marriage pageant question, she says it’s great that Americans have a choice between opposite-sex and same-sex marriage. She also apologized for her offensive personal beliefs. Visit YouTube if you don’t believe me.

  • Eva

    A few references: Chan, Brooks, Raboy, & Patterson. Division of labor among lesbian and heterosexual parents, Journal of Family Psychology (1998).Erich, Kanenberg, Case, Allen, & Bogdanos(2009). An empirical analysis of factors affecting adolescent attachment in adoptive families with homosexual and straight parents. Children and Youth Services Review. Parks (1998). Lesbian parenthood. Social science is NOT voluminously on the side of man-woman marriage.

  • Jeremy Hooper/ G-A-Y

    Maggie “vilified”
    The idea that Maggie is “vilified” by gay websites is conveniently reductive for the “pro-family” side but doesn’t match reality. While all public people on both sides receive their share of guff (it comes with the territory in this Internet age), the pro-gay response to Maggie has largely been firm, fair, and focused on her work. If Maggie (or you, Mr. Ruse) want to take on the merits of the pro-equality arguments, then go right ahead. But to reduce it to “gays hate her” is unfair.

  • Austin Ruse

    Homosexual parenting is too small in number and too new for there to be anything near social science proof either way. But we do know from the divorce culture that kids need mothers and fathers both, something homosexuals cannot provide. If anyone doubts the vicious attacks on Maggie, google Maggie Gallagher LGBT and begin reading.

  • Kevin

    Maggie the Monster
    Maggie Gallagher gets vilified because of her backwards, bigoted view on marriage. She proclaims the many tangible benefits of marriage, and then says that gay people mustn’t be permitted to enjoy marriage’s benefits. She must hate kids, since she refuses to acknowledge what she’s doing harms the children of same-sex couples. She’s raking in the dough on this issue, as another poster noted her NOM salary. This woman is a monster.

  • Jeffrey

    Parenting or Marriage?
    Mr. Ruse, are you against same-sex marriage or same-sex parenting? Same-sex parenting is legal in all 50 states, and there appears to be no momentum to stop gay couples from raising children. Maggie Gallagher wants to stop these children from having the same security that the children of married parents have. Do you agree with her on this goal?

  • Eva

    Austin Ruse
    Really Austin Ruse? There are many many studies done on homosexual parenting. No, there is no “proof”, you don’t give “proof” in science, you give evidence. Even if there were no studies, it’s still completely illogical to look at studies comparing children of heterosexual divorce to children of married parents, and say it has any reflection on same-sex parenting. You NEVER jump to those kind of conclusions in social science. You won’t find that conclusion in reports on divorce. Try again.

  • Michael

    Who is the bully?
    Not true Austin. I just googled Maggie Gallagher LGBT and saw nothing of the sort. But the first entry is best: Even if “bigot” or “hater” is too strong of a term for all opponents of marriage enfranchisement, when you dedicate your life to denying civil rights to an ostracized minority, are you really the one in that dynamic with the right to complain? Do you really expect the people whose most private intimacies you work to invalidate to care a whit for verbal distinctions? Who is the bully?

  • Fred2

    Michael: If “homosexual rights = civil rights,” why do so many black Democrats vote for traditional marriage? Unlike white gays, black people have endured REAL oppression: Jim Crow, lynchings, slavery, etc. Thus, many blacks think white gays screaming “I’m a victim” is as silly as Bill Gates complaining about being poor. And white gays condone the racists in their midst.So, please stop the madness. Read: 1 Timothy 1:8-10

  • Brandon

    Go Maggie
    Jeffery – Maggie has been writing books on divorce, adultery, and premarital sex since at least 1989 (see She covers the whole gamut.
    Eva – Divorce research demonstrates that both genders are important for their contributions to child development. For example, the presence of involved fathers has been shown to curb violent tendencies and develop empathy in boys and discourage premature sexual activity in girls. (See “Families without Fathers” by Popenoe for summary of the research)

  • Brandon

    Children of gay couples
    The purpose of marriage throughout the ages has been primarily to ensure that when men and women have sex, the man stays around to care for any children he might father and their mother. With the divorce revolution, the welfare of the children took back seat to the self-fulfillment of adults. SSM will further marginalize children from the core meaning of marriage. The long-term impact of this on all children will overshadow any gains that might have been made by the children of same-sex couples.

  • Jeffrey

    Brandon, get real
    Then why doesn’t Maggie Gallagher advocate outlawing, adultery and divorce? Those are far more damaging to marriage than same-sex couples wanting to marry in order to ensure legal rights for themselves and their children. Maggie is in the “hate-gay-for-pay” business and doesn’t want to appear like a crackpot, which is how she’d be perceived if she advocated actually protecting marriage by outlawing pre-marital sex, adultery and divorce. Contributions to NOM, and her $125,000 salary would dry up.

  • James

    Texas? Wow!
    Looks like Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage is coming unglued, thanks to a Dallas judge. I guess Maggie Gallagher’s lucrative “hate-gay-for-pay” income might end sooner than we thought!

  • Sean

    Not a good idea
    Since gay singles and couples can have and raise children as they wish, it’s not a great idea for society to prevent gay couples from marrying. Kids are better off when their parents are married, and more likely to stay together for the duration. Let’s think about what’s best for kids on this issue, folks!

  • Andrew

    It is good to see opposition to to the homosexual lobby finally getting traction.

  • Louise

    Hate Advocacy Pays!
    Maggie Gallagher gets $125,000 to “defend” marriage against gay people! Geez, who knew you could make so much money hurting a minority and children?! Surely the poster who says NOM pays her that much is incorrect. How can the spokesperson for a small hate-based non-profit get paid so much?

  • Jeffrey

    Very sad
    I never thought I would see the day when a woman and a mother would earn a living by advocating a political position that hurts children, as Maggie Gallagher has done. Denying marriage to same-sex couples with children makes those children more vulnerable and their futures less bright, according to research Gallagher promotes. It’s bad enough to deny marriage’s many benefits to same-sex couples but to hurt their children, too?! Despicable.

  • Kristen

    Maggie Gallagher is disliked not because she hates gay people (although that’s pretty sad) but because she is willing to hurt their children, too. Decent Americans don’t want children to be pawns in adults’ political games. The children of same-sex couples would be much better off if their parents/caregivers were married, and Gallagher knows this. But her malice is so strong, she can’t temper it, for the sake of the kids.

  • Sean

    Trust the Experts
    Citing child welfare and their commitment to support what is best for children, physicians from the Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) today announced their support for the NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality campaign.

    “Children who are raised by legally married parents benefit from the legal status granted to their parents. What is good for parents and families is good for children,” said Dr. Jonathan Fanburg, president of the Maine Chapter of the Maine Chapter of the AAP.

  • Jeffrey

    Not just Maggie
    Brian Brown, the Executive Director of NOM, gets $130,000 per year, even more than Maggie! This is a non-profit?!?! That’s an unheard of salary for the head of a tiny non-profit organization!

  • Leslie

    Just Curious
    I know that Maggie Gallagher and NOM support denying the children of same-sex couples the advantages that marriage provides to children. It saddens me that she and NOM feel this way but I like children!

    What I want to know is if people of faith support this position. NOM says it is associated with “faith communities” on its home page. So do people of faith support her mission to hurt the children of same-sex couples, or is NOM lying about the support it gets from “faith communities”?

  • Annette

    I for one am worried about the children who grow up with single-gender parents who aren’t allowed to marry. Kids are always better off with married parents. Maggie Gallagher says so herself, yet inexplicably wants to prevent same-sex couples with children from marrying.

    To earn a living off of hurting kids is despicable. But I guess she thinks it’s worth it!

  • Esther

    I’m more worried the damage done to the Christian faith, being so closely aligned to the hatred and bigotry of marriage equality opposition, along with an utter disregard for the US Constitution and its requirement that all citizens be treated equally. Christianity should be associated with love, not hate. I don’t want potential converts to Christianity turned off by NOM’s shameless lies and scare tactics. All Christians are not like that!