Alex Blaze

Maggie Gallagher: Hate wins

Filed By Alex Blaze | January 29, 2010 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Marriage Equality, Media
Tags: Gary Sagura, gay marriage, homophobic people, Maggie Gallagher, marriage, marriage equality, postcards, Prop. 8, same-sex marriage, trial, violence

The other day I posted about the terrible witnesses for the defense (homophobes) in the Prop 8 trial. They brought two experts - a professor and a conservative org president - who did not appear to be familiar with the studies done in their respective fields, who conceded a lot of ground to the plaintiffs' attorneys (including the facts that gay people face discrimination and that same-sex marriage would improve people's lives), and one of whom most likely didn't fit the legal definition of an "expert" on a topic, but was allowed to testify anyway because there's no jury at this trial.

I'm still baffled, since this isn't the first case of this type to be tried. Going back to the 90's in Hawaii, the right has been in court defending opposite marriage and winning a few cases too. Isn't there a rolodex they can use to find experts who sound credible? Or do they all sound this bad when cross-examined (as opposed to just shouting into talk radio)?

Maggie Gallagher offers an explanation:

My objection to televising high-profile trials is not theoretical. It emerges directly from the experience of the attempt to televise the trial for Proposition 8. Two-thirds of the expert witnesses-people who had been willing to sit for deposition, to prepare testimony, to fly to Sacramento to testify-dropped out under the prospect of having their faces and names televised. I understand their reluctance, because I know (personally) the kind of hatred and threats that adopting a high-profile position against gay marriage now generate. Many people I know who had a low profile-donors of a few hundred dollars or less-unexpectedly faced a tidal wave of hate that has impacted their personal and professional lives. People I know have been attacked on the street for holding up a "Yes on 8? sign, received death threats, and lost their jobs.

It's a perfectly wingnutty excuse - it's not that they did anything wrong, it's just that they're constant victims and no one's ever willing to help them out.

I have no doubt that it's unpleasant to get chewed out by the gays in email or letters. While the evidence of actual violence was spotty at trial, with most of the examples they brought up involving victims who were unwilling to call the police or press charges and incidents that went unreported by local media being discussed as fact, they have complained about sternly-worded postcards before and they probably got a few. And I also have no trouble believing that some gays were total dicks in those postcards; I've seen the hatefulness that can be directed at people within the community for not toeing the politically correct line.

But actual violence? There's little evidence that much of anything happened after Prop 8, and the history of violence based on sexual orientation has been a one-way street. The last century was dominated by stories of violence directed at LGBT people from straight people, and very little went in the opposite direction, even less that wasn't a retaliation against previous homophobic violence.

And we're the ones who are disciplined by that violence. We're the ones who don't hold hands with our lovers in public because we're worried about getting beat up. We're the ones who go from the bar to the car in groups in some parts of the country because we don't know who's waiting there to beat up a queer. And bullying in schools keeps queer kids quiet and in their place, if they don't just drop out of school entirely. Saying that the witnesses were intimidated out of testifying is just co-opting our experiences and using them in a totally clueless way to whine about how the trial didn't go well for them.

Even if the defense was working with hyper-sensitive witnesses, though, Gallagher's excuse doesn't hold water. First, the trial wasn't broadcast and they knew that for weeks before the defense had to call witnesses. Second, their names would have been broadcast anyway - the entire trial is public record and that's nothing new. Third, many of their witnesses are activists and polemicists in their own right. They've already been on TV saying the same things. And fourth, the witnesses who did testify were terrible. Were only the worst ones willing to show up and all the awesome witnesses who had done extensive studies intimidated?

I'm guessing Gallagher isn't that stupid, but that she's trying to work the refs and change the narrative on the trial from "The right had no proof for their claims" to "The trial was biased and illegitimate so if the right loses it just proves the system is broken." While she's not that stupid, there are plenty of journalists who are.

But it might not be the best argument to be making right now. She's basically telling every homo out there who thinks that "activism" means "writing pissy emails and comments and sending mean letters to people they don't know" that they've stumbled on a particularly effective strategy. Either that or the Religious Right's whines of violence from gays in charged situations like these scared off their own witnesses.

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Geeze, sounds like Maggies got a case of Bender Blues! She thinks it's only wrong when people hate, harrass, discriminate etc and so on towards her and hers. Sad.

Poor Maggie can't get her information right at all, can she? No reason for these reluctant witnesses to prepare to go to Sacramento to testify in the trial that was being held in SAN FRANCISCO.

It's crass, offensive and wholly consistent with Maggie's utter lack of regard for truth for her to trivialize the violence and discrimination that we face on a daily basis just because of who we are, not because we express political views that call for discriminatory treatment against others.

I'd like to see Jabba the Hutt in drag (i.e. Maggie) tell that to a gaybashing victim on live TV.

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | January 29, 2010 11:04 PM

I was on a panel with Maggie at Georgetown University. She plays the victim better than anyone else.

During the discussion Maggie asked the students how many believe marriage should only be between one man and one woman. Out of a group of about 75 students only raise their hand to support excluding same-sex couples from marriage.

Support for the freedom to marry will continue to grow and people like Maggie will grow even more marginalized.

Careful! "...some gays were total dicks..." Don't insult dicks! Find something else to compare bad behavior to, but not dicks, thank you. How about some gays were totally Gallagher? Yeah, I know it doesn't quite work the same.

Don't worry - dicks know I kid because I love.

Regan DuCasse | January 30, 2010 5:09 PM

"A tidal wave of hate that has impacted their lives personally and professionally."-

Even if that were true, JUST FOR A MOMENT in a blip of history: those who personally and professionally have impacted GAY lives for decades and centuries had an opportunity to be empathetic and tie defamation and inflammatory rhetoric to violence and threats on the street.
And who has been substantially impacted in all that time, since Maggie and those who support Prop. 8 were even born.

And especially a committed CHRISTIAN, by the very direct and specific commandment of their own Christ, had a chance to 'walk a mile' in the shoes of someone gay.
Who don't have just a 'difference of opinion' or who are 'just not getting their way'
but who actually are having hostile and cruel things happen to them and their loved ones. Or are certainly vulnerable to it, just because of WHAT they are, not what they do to others.

However, Maggie is employing gravitas to her assertions about 'theories'.

She is inferring those handful of situations that were repeated so often, they sounded like a trend occurring across the country and erupting in thousands of ways, instead of the few they turned out to be.
Those death threats and so on, worthy of hiding behind federal robes, were not substantial enough for law enforcement to consider any of it credible.

Threats or the perception of what they are, is very different from actual assaults and murder.
Indeed, they couldn't even substantiate WHO called in those threats, even if they existed.
Brian Brown and several others described Dr. Will Tam's deposition as an 'assault'.
Give me a f*cking break!

But Mags isn't calling on HER actions, but decrying a REACTION to what she and her ilk feel entitled to do against gay people, who BEFORE the passage of Prop. 8 were just getting married and school teacher dared to invite some of her students to her ceremony.
Gee whiz wow...that had to REALLY hurt, hunh Maggie?

And the payback for that, landed the ban on the ballot and took away the little joy and protection so earned and paid for, sometimes in blood and lost family...
So Maggie, we see how you'd behave regardless of what gay people have been willing to do BEFORE any bans, or defamation of their intents and purpose to marry.

Are we to understand that if it had been YOU, whose choice to marry, secure your children, property and happiness for yourself had taken away, you would have just accepted it without a peep, and you wouldn't have called anyone names or felt betrayed by business owners who called you friends, that you helped to make prosperous, but who didn't see you as equal and worthy for such a quality of life law?
Maggie, you REALLY wouldn't have REACTED the way gay people did?

It's not HATE coming from YOU, Maggie. All the hate and ownership of threatening anyone is squarely on the gay folks.

Where is the bottom of the BS heap for this woman?