NOM’s Maggie Gallagher: LGBT activists “mean,” not “neighborly”

But apparently campaigning to deny hospital visitations rights to a spouse with a dying partner is.

Via Town Hall:

Here’s the truth: You will now be called a hater and a bigot merely for standing for marriage as one woman and one man. What do we make of this sad truth? So far, the bullies pay no price for their meanness and their rage. This is not an issue of free speech but of neighborliness.

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 in this equation?




*An open question. I’d imagine a lot of people who vote against same-sex marriage have never actually met an out gay person, or realized they had. They might feel no active animosity towards Gays In The Abstract, but feel obliged to follow a moral proposition of the orthodoxy they were raised in without ever really thinking about it. But this hypothesis would be virtually impossible to verify; can you expect any accuracy or meaning from a poll of someone’s about their opinion on an issue they’re ambivalent towards?

In any case, we must consider whether or not bigotry is in the cause (actual hatred towards LGBTple) or the effect (voting for a constitutional amendment to define gays out of marriage). For example, let’s imagine a middle-class, politically disengaged Southern belle ca. 1963. She lives in a segregated community, so has had no significant contact with black persons all her life, or thought about their concerns. If presented with adequate information on African Americans’ standards of living and political power, and pressed to voice an opinion, she would say, “I suppose it’s bad; but I don’t see what’s to be done,” and shrug. When she sees the fire hoses and attack dogs turned on Civil Rights demonstrators she is horrified, but thinks they shouldn’t have stirred things up in the first place, and that things will only get worse if they keep pushing this Bill before President Johnson.

Is she a bigot? Or just hurtfully ambivalent and on the wrong side of history? Open question.


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