Maggie’s Monologue

There are any number of good reasons to read Jonathan Rauch's "Red Families, Blue Families, Gay Families and the Search for a New Normal," not the least of them being the lack of drama, insult or animus toward our opponents. Whatever can be said of Jon, he makes a reasoned, moderate and fully-examined case for equal marriage.

Maggie Gallagher knows Jon, has spent time debating him and talking with him, and is fully aware of his views, as well as his demeanor. Yet in listening to her public pronouncements now, you would never know she was aware of non-hateful, nonviolent, rational or empathetic homosexuals. Her current rhetoric focuses solely on lesbians and gay men who hold her and her supporters in contempt. To be fair, there are plenty of those.

But what is frustrating is how Maggie - and, in fact, nearly all of the anti same-sex marriage crowd - fail to show us the respect and humanity that Jon displays so generously.
Jon does not shy away from directly confronting the best arguments against his own position. This piece, like most everything else I've read of his, lays out a fair and clear articulation of the opposition, and tries to understand it, the better to answer it.

Here is the test of good faith in political debate: Each side should be able to convey the other side's position to the other side's satisfaction. Jon, I think, meets this standard. Some opponents of same-sex marriage are very concerned about homosexuality in general, and feel that same-sex marriage would normalize homosexuality. That, in their view, is a socially dangerous thing to do. Others, and Maggie is in this camp, are less concerned with the normalization of homosexuality than with what they view as the abnormalization of the conventionally defined family. While there is certainly some compression and simplification here - Jon is, after all, not making their argument, just hoping to describe it fairly - I think it is hard for same-sex marriage opponents to disagree with his summation, though they would certainly want to elaborate.

Compare that with the way Maggie approaches the political debate. The very heart of our argument is equality; the law treats heterosexuals differently than homosexuals, and, in the vast majority of states, virtually ignores the existence of same-sex couples as families. While I have heard Maggie refer respectfully to lesbians and gay men of her acquaintance, she does not try to engage our argument and respond to it; she simply avoids it. She doesn't care about what happens to same-sex couples under the law. Her entire focus is on the rights of heterosexuals, and their role in society.

That is consistent with her concern about heterosexual families, but her inability or unwillingness to engage our best arguments shows that she is not interested in having a debate; she is content to continue a monologue. But heterosexuals are not the only people in the country, and the failure to even try to understand the world from the point of view of homosexuals is very strong evidence of a blithe ill will, at best, and intent to discriminate against a minority at worst.

Compare Maggie with David Blankenhorn. He, too, knows Jon, and has spent time in debate over same-sex marriage. But he is not afraid to acknowledge that we do, in fact, have an argument that merits response. This has harmed his case (to the extent he wants to preserve exclusively opposite-sex marriage) because it necessarily concedes same-sex couples are, in fact, being treated unfairly. His testimony in the Prop. 8 trial was extremely damaging to our opponents only because it was candid and humane. Every trial lawyer knows these can be fatal qualities in a witness, however valuable they are in a human being.

Aside from Blankenhorn, there are virtually no opponents of same-sex marriage who seem willing to treat us with the courtesy and dignity that Jon regularly displays, to actually articulate our side and then explain why we are wrong. I won't claim that Jon is representative of the kind of argumentation I prefer, but there is far more of it in support of same-sex marriage than there is in opposition.

That asymmetry is the source of the annoyance and peevishness among our supporters that Maggie exploits so well. She continues to win the imaginary debate she is having with herself, but she does her cause no honor by ignoring the very real arguments that could prove her wrong. She'd have done well to learn something from Jon while she had the chance.

NOTE: In the Comments, Jorge correctly points out that I'd inadvertently included the wrong link to Maggie's current rhetoric. I've fixed it to link to the correct video of Maggie calling us out for being hateful because we disagree with her.

92 Comments for “Maggie’s Monologue”

  1. posted by North Dallas Thirty on

    It’s a pity, then, I suppose, that this democracy chose a long time ago to enshrine equality in the Constitution. Clearly a mistake, as it seems to rankle.

    But, unfortunately, BobN, it didn’t.

    The courts have upheld time and again that unequal treatment on whether or not one can marry the sexual partners of one’s choice is permissible even with the Fourteenth Amendment. The court has stated that bans on plural marriage, incestuous marriage, child marriage, and bestial marriage do not in any way violate equal protection laws.

    As the courts correctly pointed out in Loving, “race” was essentially undefinable by means scientific and was made quite suspect by other constitutional amendments. Furthermore, Loving states of marriage that it is a right “fundamental to our very existence and survival” — which clearly links it to procreation, and race does not impact procreation in the least.

    If you are such a big fan of Baker, do you think gay-sex Lawrence should be overturned?

    First problem with that statement: the two cases are involving totally different matters.

    Second, I would have no problem with Lawrence being overturned. That decision in mind should have been simply to state that the Texas law was stupid and pointless, but that the Constitution does not preclude the passing of stupid and pointless laws, and that it was the state’s responsibility to repeal its own statutes if it chose to do so.

    It all depends on whether you support democracy or rule by judicial fiat. John Adams and I supported the former; gay-sex liberals insist on the latter.

  2. posted by Jimmy on

    “same-sex procreation is unsafe’

    On this we all agree, and a law should be passed to ban it outright – a law which would apply to everyone from married people to a certain Colorado doctor, Dr. Mephesto, who is about as real as this BS of yours.

  3. posted by Jimmy on

    The Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution has been upheld.

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/07/28/protest-planned-phoenix-despite-judges-ruling-immigration-law/

  4. posted by John Howard on

    Yes, the law would apply to everyone. But it would prohibit all same-sex couples from procreating, publicly. It would not prohibit any male-female couples from procreating.

    If any same-sex couples are married and that law goes into effect, it will be the first time in human history that a married couple was prohibited from combining their own genes and procreating offspring together. It would change marriage for everyone, totally removing the protection of the right to conceive children together that every marriage up until then has enjoyed.

  5. posted by Jimmy on

    What would stop a same-sex couple in a civil union from trying to conceive in the way you suggest? Are you suggesting a man and woman in a civil union do not have procreation rights? What would stop opposite-sex couples in a civil union from bioengineering/cloning a child?

    In each case, an all encompassing law would apply to the practice, regardless of who is trying to accomplish it. In order to follow through with the procedure, a genetic bioengineering facility would have to facilitate it, and since the law would actually apply to the science, married same-sex bioengineers……huh?……what?……my head hurts……shit, this is stupid.

  6. posted by John Howard on

    What would stop a same-sex couple in a civil union from trying to conceive in the way you suggest?

    The law that you just agreed we should enact! The law should ban conceiving a person by any means other than joining the unmodified egg of a woman and the unmodified sperm of a man.

    Are you suggesting a man and woman in a civil union do not have procreation rights?

    If the Civil Union was defined as “marriage minus conception rights” like I’ve been saying they should be, then yeah. Thus, they’d be suitable for siblings, cousins, and other platonic couples that are prohibited from procreating but are parenting a child together or otherwise need the protections of marriage.

    What would stop opposite-sex couples in a civil union from bioengineering/cloning a child?

    That same Egg and Sperm law that would stop same-sex procreation, would also stop all that stuff.

    my head hurts……shit, this is stupid

    Yeah dude, maybe you are over thinking. It’s pretty simple isn’t it? Before the law, people are allowed to hire a lab to procreate with someone of their same sex, after the law, they are not. The law would prohibit people from procreating with someone of the same sex.

  7. posted by Jimmy on

    “If the Civil Union was defined as “marriage minus conception rights” like I’ve been saying they should be, then yeah.”

    It won’t happen as it will effect the majority of people in civil unions, hets.

    “The law would prohibit people from procreating with someone of the same sex.”

    Whether they are married or not. If no agency can perform the task, then nobody can make it happen, regardless of their motivations.

  8. posted by John Howard on

    Most hets would choose to marry rather than get one of these Civil Unions, so that they could have their procreation rights protected and affirmed. But some might decide to get a Civil Union, if they didn’t want society’s approval and protection of their procreation together.

    The law would prohibit two people of the same sex from conceiving children together, however they attempt it, whether with a lab or just trying to do it without one. Without a lab modifying one of their gametes, it’d be even more dangerous for them to combine their non-complementary genes.

  9. posted by Jorge on

    Do you, or does anyone on this comment board, really believe that the crazy-quilt of (somestimes contradictory) voter-initiated mandates and constitutional strictures in today’s California is really the product of “informed [] citizens participat[ing] in the democratic process”?

    You bet I do.

    It’s a pity, then, I suppose, that this democracy chose a long time ago to enshrine equality in the Constitution.

    I am not aware of such a thing.

    The last time I checked, the Constitution implicitly recognizes the inequalities between many classes of persons: citizens vs. non-citizens, criminals vs. people who obey the law, people over 18 vs. minors, citizens born in the US vs. citizens not born in the US (that means you, Ah-nold!), people who are in debt as well as people who have injured others and incurred civil liabilities. Here’s an inconvenient truth for you: even inequalities between men and women (Roe v. Wade), blacks and whites (Univ./Calif. vs. Bakke), gays and the “morally straight” (Boy Scouts of America v. Dale) have been recognized and upheld in the Supreme Court, and this will continue for the rest of our natural lives.

  10. posted by Jorge on

    Coming back to original question about culture and whether or not it follows law, or visa versa, one must consider…

    –What difference does it make? Isn’t the answer obviously a little of both? What a waste of time.

    It’s one of the fundamental differences in assumptions between the gay liberals and gay consersatives on the issue of gay marriage laws (to define the sides narrowly). I know when I’m on the defensive.

  11. posted by Throbert McGee on

    The law would prohibit two people of the same sex from conceiving children together, however they attempt it, whether with a lab or just trying to do it without one. Without a lab modifying one of their gametes, it’d be even more dangerous for them to combine their non-complementary genes.

    (1) “More dangerous” how? When two guys mix their jizz together on their hairy tummies (which is to say, “outside a lab”), NOTHING HAPPENS AT ALL, apart from sperm cells dying and drying out into a crusty stain. Wherein lies the danger?

    (2) Could you explain what you mean by “non-complementary genes”?

  12. posted by dc on

    Haha. Great response Throbert. John Howard exemplifies the danger of posessing a little bit (emphasis on little bit) of knowledge about a complex issue.

  13. posted by John Howard on

    Eggs and sperm have different epigenetic imprinting, meaning some genes are “off” in eggs that are “on” in sperm, and vice versa. That way when they join, only one copy is on. When two copies are on, or both copies are off, that’s a genetic disease, the embryo doesn’t develop right. They have done experiments jamming two eggs together or two sperms together, and know that usually something goes terribly awry right away, like no placenta develops, or no skin, or something like that. That’s what would probably happen if two people of the same sex somehow managed to get their own genes to join together without using a lab, the baby would have horrific problems if it were to survive. So even hypothetically, it would be an unethical conception, because the genes aren’t complementary. Making them complementary requires making stem cell derived artificial gametes and somehow getting them to develop with the opposite imprinting, without any errors or mistakes. That’s unethical too. With lab or without lab, same-sex conception is unsafe and unethical, worse than “cousin marriage”.

  14. posted by Jimmy on

    “With lab or without lab, same-sex conception is unsafe and unethical, worse than “cousin marriage”.

    How the hell would one do it without a lab!? As Throbert pointed out, we’ve tried numerous times and it don’t seem to work.

    This is some phony boloney,

  15. posted by Debrah on

    You guys are doing the work of SSM opponents for them.

    They won’t have to lift a finger.

    By even discussing this grotesque, as well as ultra-silly sh!t, you are making their case for them.

    Congratulations.

  16. posted by John Howard on

    That’s why we wouldn’t consider gay sex to be a credible attempt at conceiving children together, so the couple wouldn’t be punished with the multi-million dollar fine and jail term that they would be if a lab was involved in the attempt, along with the lab and the workers and everyone involved in the attempt.

    The point is that same-sex couples can not ethically conceive together, by any method, and society should not approve or affirm offspring of the couple. Marriage should continue to affirm and approve of the couple conceiving offspring. You want to create some cloud of confusion where society can affirm offspring in principle but prohibit every method they might use, and my point of the last few comments was that, no, we can’t even affirm in principle because the genes are non-complementary in principle.

  17. posted by Jimmy on

    That occurred to me, Debrah, and I accept your wisdom.

  18. posted by John Howard on

    That’s why Rauch never talks about same-sex procreation, but that strategy only prolongs the status quo, which might be good for him, being a professional marriage debate participant, and probably all hooked up with all the protections he needs, but there are thousands of families that are seriously harmed by the status quo and need protections now. Rauch wants to preserve his job, not help gay people.

  19. posted by Debrah on

    Speaking of Jonathan Rauch, more coverage and analyses of his and others’ presentations at the FIRE conference.

    John Howard–

    I have no idea what Rauch’s inner motivations might be; however, he does provide a reasoned voice for gay issues.

    You and I might agree that for same-sex couples to go down the avenue of “procreation” is bizarre, to put it mildly.

  20. posted by John Howard on

    Debrah, that’s the conventional wisdom, from folks like Blankenhorn and Gallagher and other professionals who make their livings from the gay marriage debate, but that’s because Rauch also validates them in return and makes his living the same way. They all avoid my argument because it messes up their tight little arrangement. None of them should have any credibility any more, after they have repeatedly shown themselves to be propagandists and hucksters rather than people truly interested in marriage or helping gay people.

  21. posted by John Howard on

    You and I might agree that for same-sex couples to go down the avenue of “procreation” is bizarre, to put it mildly.

    Merely calling it “bizarre” is indeed putting it mildly. Why do you put it mildly? It should be prohibited, ASAP, before any more people grow up thinking that it may be a possibility someday, before we waste any more money on research, before anyone actually goes ahead and tries to do it. Don’t we agree on that? Even Jimmy agrees it should be prohibited.

  22. posted by BobN on

    this will continue for the rest of our natural lives

    So, which group to you identify with? Criminals? Psssst… we’re not criminals anymore.

  23. posted by dc on

    This discussion of same sex procreation is dumb. The overwhelming majority of gay people who have children have biological children, meaning that they had sex with a person of the opposite sex and for some reason or another had a child. Gay couples who adopt is actually a small percentage of gay couples and people. Only an extreemly small percentage of gays use invitro and other types of technology to have kids since it is so expensive. This idiotic discussion of same sex conception ignores how such technology does not exist for humans. And even if it did it would be extreemly expensive, out of reach for most gay couples. Scientists research all sorts of things (especially on animals). Furthermore, we are now completely off track bogged down in a discussion of something that isn’t even real. Great!

  24. posted by John Howard on

    dc, I agree with all of that. This ongoing discussion is indeed dumb, it should be settled by now. You should end this dumb discussion by agreeing to stop demanding a right to do something that isn’t necessary or “even real”, as you say. Continuing to demand an equal right to procreate is indeed idiotic, when I have laid out the steps to achieve federal recognition and recognition by most states immediately, starting with giving up the claim to equal conception rights to a married man and woman.

  25. posted by dc on

    John Howard, no. Your argument is dumb. You are obsessing about something that does not exist at the present moment. This is a stupid conversation. They need to post a new topic so we can move on.

  26. posted by John Howard on

    No, the research into artificial gametes exists at the present moment. The demand for equal rights exists at the present moment. The demand for equal rights for same sex couples is dumb. When people argue for that, and I respond by saying, well, you shouldn’t have equal conception rights, that’s an argument you have to take on. You can’t just say, “we can’t talk about any of that until after it exists!” That’s not fair. Engage the argument I’m making, justify demanding equal conception rights right now, when they don’t even exist.

    There is also the objection that in demanding equal rights, you are stripping the basic human right to procreate with our own genes from everyone’s marriage. That phenomenon exists right now and you need to justify doing that to marriage.

  27. posted by Debrah on

    You know what has unwittingly been illustrated here everyone?

    And thanks to John Howard for doing so.

    In bold relief, this conversation illuminates exactly why same-sex couples should never use the word “marriage” and even hope to legitimately co-opt it except as a joke.

    That’s why civil unions are the most sane approach……even as so many allegedly educated and intelligent gay men flail about screaming and crying to be “married”.

    Put a fork in it.

    Case closed.

  28. posted by Jorge on

    So, which group to you identify with? Criminals? Psssst… we’re not criminals anymore.

    I am the least of a mighty vanguard of rainbow warriors.

    In bold relief, this conversation illuminates exactly why same-sex couples should never use the word “marriage” and even hope to legitimately co-opt it except as a joke.

    This poster is wise.

  29. posted by Jimmy on

    Well, I just got into a shouting match with my lady-friend from the Verde Valley in Arizona about Sharrods’s lawsuit. Though I detest Breitbart, I don’t think she she has a case, being a public official. To be defamed and to PROVE you’ve been defamed are two different things, especially for a public official. If she sues anyone, it should be her boss.

  30. posted by Throbert McGee on

    They all avoid my argument because it messes up their tight little arrangement.

    John, they avoid your argument for the same reason that they would ignore you if you were insisting that the gay-marriage debate can never be settled until we’ve come to a policy consensus on what to do about humans who wish to intermarry with Klingons, Vulcans, and Romulans.

    Come to think of it, John, your total lack of attention to the urgent problem of lab-mediated crossbreeding with extraterrestrial humanoids just goes to show how cursory and superficial your analysis of Conception Rights truly is.

    For that matter, have you given even three seconds’ attention as to whether the self-aware supercomputers that run our Homes of Tomorrow should have a right to use human housewives as brood mares to incubate a nightmarish race of cyborg-fetuses? HAVE YOU SO MUCH AS ACKNOWLEDGED THIS ISSUE, Mr. Deep Thinker?

  31. posted by Julie Christie on

    whether the self-aware supercomputers that run our Homes of Tomorrow should have a right to use human housewives as brood mares to incubate a nightmarish race of cyborg-fetuses?

    OMG! this totally happened to me once!!! Kudos for shining a light on this oft-ignored women’s issue.

  32. posted by Jimmy on

    “Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind.” – Butlerian Jihad.

  33. posted by John Howard on

    But no one is demanding equal marriage and equal conception rights with Klingons, mainly because Klingons aren’t real. People of the same sex are real, Throbert, and people are making the argument that they should have equal rights and equal marriage with someone of the same sex. There is a discussion going on about whether same-sex couples should have the same rights as a married man and a woman. I am saying that it would be unethical and bad public policy to give same-sex couples the same rights that Rauch et al is asking for, and they are wrong in asking for it. They should take on the argument and try to explain why it is more important to have conception rights with someone of the same sex than to try to get equal protections in all other areas with Civil Unions.

  34. posted by Throbert McGee on

    But no one is demanding … equal conception rights with Klingons

    Exactly! Just as no one (save in your imagination) is demanding that same-sex couples have the same “conception rights” as opposite-sex couples.

  35. posted by John Howard on

    Sure they are, they are all demanding equal rights as a married man and a woman, and a married man and woman have a right to conceive children together from their own genes. People are also directly demanding that same-sex conception be allowed, along with genetic engineering designer babies, etc.

    My unanswered plea has been for people to stop demanding equal conception rights with someone of the same sex and support enacting a law that would prohibit same-sex procreation. Jimmy seemed to agree above,

  36. posted by Jorge on

    …To be defamed and to PROVE you’ve been defamed are two different things, especially for a public official. If she sues anyone, it should be her boss.

    Usually lawsuits like this aren’t filed for about a year or so, time enough to go after the right defendant. It does seem reckless.

    *Lightbulb moment!*

    This is really about attacking and trying to destroy Breitbart. Social rather than legal punishment. That is either Ms. Sherrod’s motivation or the motivation of the people who are pushing her. A responsible lawyer would be more interested in the size of the payout and nailing as many defendants as possible than what happens to Andrew Breitbart, and that takes time to set up. It’s a very weak case because Breitbart’s clip included at least some exculpatory evidence. Fox’s clip did not.

    We shall see.

  37. posted by Debrah on

    Jimmy–

    As Larry Elder advises, Sherrod and her “preacher” husband, should quite while they’re ahead.

    Read this entire column to find out what they’re all about.

    Some people don’t know when to stop. The media fawned over this woman to the point where she believes all the hype.

  38. posted by Debrah on

    Another interesting one from JWR.

    Just a quick glance through recent happenings shows quite clearly that there is no great Jewish monopoly in the media or in the entertainment field that is “all powerful” as some would allege.

    Oliver Stone still has his job.

    Mel Gibson has gotten no significant push-back for all his anti-Semitic ranting.

    If anyone in show biz had made such public statements about black people or gays, they would be ruined within days. Pronto!

    Those are the two groups most sheltered and protected and constantly built up far beyond anything they deserve in the entertainment field.

    It’s quite thoroughly ridiculous.

    Thinking back on the film “Milk”, when I saw it, I thought it was OK; however, nothing close to Oscar-winning material.

    Harvey Milk wasn’t an enormously significant figure “assassinated” for his work on gay issues. Of course he made important contributions, but why single out him when there had been many before him?

    The fantasies of Cleve Jones helped move things along, no doubt.

    Director Gus Van Sant had become firmly planted inside the film industry……the result, I suppose, from screwing around with so many gay actors, etc……more powerful than he.

    It’s all quite unfortunate that someone like Mickey Rourke, whom I have never followed or admired really, but who re-emerged that same year (2008) with a monumental comeback in “The Wrestler”. A very Oscar-worthy performance.

    But of course, the ever-disgruntled Muslim terrorist-loving, Hugo Chavez-nuzzling Sean Penn played the role of Harvey Milk……and that’s all it took for the Academy drones to press the lever for that film.

    A film on the subject could have been made that might have deserved an Oscar and an actor portraying Milk could have pulled off the role deserving of an Oscar…..however…..

    …….Gus van Sant’s little gay version of “The Partridge Family Does Castro” wasn’t it.

  39. posted by John Howard on

    And I hasten to add that there is no law against same-sex conception right now (except in Missouri, but it wouldn’t prevent same-sex couples in Missouri from going to NJ or Massachusetts for their artificial gametes). So no one even needs to demand it. I am the one demanding that we prohibit creating people by any means other than joining the sperm of a man and the egg of a woman, because it is cruel to make people think that it might be possible someday and is a huge waste of resources and would be totally unethical for someone to try, and it being legal prevents us from entering into international treaties and antagonizes the rest of the world.

    Jimmy, was I right that you agree we should enact an egg and sperm law to prohibit genetic engineering and same-sex conception? Who else is on board with that here? Who would oppose that law?

  40. posted by Bobby on

    “And, Bobby, Putin “communistic”? Lord.”

    —Putin was head of the KGB before he became president and he has become a dictator in everything but name. The media is scared of him, they only throw him softballs. He is also rumored to have been involved in a recent assassination in England where uranium was used. And think about this, what kind of communist joins the KGB? I would think it’s the kind of communist that is willing to do ANYTHING for his country. This guy is a true believer, like the people of The Weather Underground, their ideology hasn’t changed one bit.

  41. posted by BobN on

    This guy is a true believer

    Yeah, cuz he’s all about spreading the wealth. Honestly, you wouldn’t know an oligarch if one bit you on the ass.

  42. posted by Bobby on

    “Yeah, cuz he’s all about spreading the wealth. Honestly, you wouldn’t know an oligarch if one bit you on the ass.”

    —Isn’t oligarch the term socialists use to describe the rich? I have family in Russia and Venezuela, I have heard that term before. A communist/progressive doesn’t really spread the wealth, he simply steals from some and gives to others.

    You know what spreads the wealth? Rich people. When Bill Gates opens a factory he’s spreading the wealth, when Branson orders a new yacht he’s creating or keeping perhaps 200 jobs. The Dr. Phil Show itself employs 50 people. And unlike government jobs, those jobs don’t hurt the economy, they don’t drain our coffers, they don’t require the government going into debt and they do make a difference.

    Putin is a KGB thug, nothing more.

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