Former NOM President Maggie Gallagher has given up her 17 year old anti-marriage equality syndicated column. We here at GodDiscussion have consistently covered Gallagher and NOM, and Gallagher's sudden withdrawal from the public forum seems to speak to the public's growing intolerance of what has been described by some as bigoted views in an increasingly diverse society. Citing reasons ranging from wanting to work on projects closer to her heart, to blaming the wickedness of American society on Hollywood, feminism, the GOP and porn to blaming men themselves, Gallagher has decided to limit her range of influence to her website. She seemed to give up on DOMA in mid-December, roundly blasting the GOP for ignoring the issue, and her column reflects her resignation with the issue. In her last column "This I Believe: A Farewell to Optimism," Gallagher explains her rationale:
On every key measure, marriage is weaker. The consequences are more obviously unsustainable, yet culturally powerful voices are less willing to engage, and the power of porn and Hollywood to create our norms for family life is more triumphant than ever.
Since 1993, the proportion of children born out of wedlock has jumped from 31 percent to 41 percent — mostly since about 2003. For women with only a high school degree or less, nonmarital childbearing is the new normal. Divorce has declined for the privileged; for everyone else, stable marriage has gotten to be even further out of reach.
Without a powerful ideal of masculinity that points men toward marriage and fatherhood, more and more young men are deciding the hard work of becoming marriageable is not worth it: Porn, beer, video games with the guys, freedom and fleeting sexual encounters are good enough.
The most urgent overlooked need is the deep need of boys for masculine ideals. If civilization refuses to provide any, porn and video-game makers will step in to fill the gap.
Why should young men work hard to become protectors and defenders of women and children when American culture — and women — tells them they are not needed in either role?
She does not go on to explain exactly what would constitute an "ideal of masculinity;" however, one wonders if it is on the level of John Wayne and the Marlboro Man. Susan Faludi in her book "The Terror Dream," says that the masculine ideal of protector and hypersexuality has been all very prevalent in the years following 9/11. When al-Qaida attacked their country, Faludi writes, the humiliating shame felt by American men watching helplessly on TV was experienced, at a subliminal level, sexually. Moreover, Faludi writes:
“When an attack on home soil causes cultural paroxysms that have nothing to do with the attack, when we respond to real threats to our nation by distrusting ourselves with imagined threats to femininity and family life, when we invest our leaders with a cartoon masculinity and require of them bluster in lieu of a capacity for rational calculation, and when we blame our frailty in 'fifth column' feminists – in short, when we base our security on a mythical male strength that can only increase itself against a mythical female weakness – we should know that we are exhibiting the symptoms of a lethal, albeit curable, cultural affliction (p. 295).”
Some couldn't be more pleased. Shannon Barber of Addicting Info writes that she's glad to see the backside of Gallagher and her "homophobic, bigoted" rants:
The bigoted co-founder and former President of the infamous National Organization for Marriage(NOM) has now chosen to close her syndicated column after seventeen years, The Huffington Post reports. Printed in anywhere from 25 to 35 newspapers each week, the Universal Click run column was Gallagher’s platform to trumpet her ignorance regarding the LGBT community, our reasons for championing marriage equality, and any number of other things surrounding the subject. Universal Click’s assistant managing editor, Clint Hooker, was surprised by the move to close the column and told The Huffington Post that he “tried to talk her out of it.”
Despite my pleasure at this latest nail in NOM’s coffin, I gotta give it to Maggie. Perhaps she is simply jumping off a sinking ship, considering the fact that there werehuge wins for marriage equality with likely more on the way this election season, and that she has often been a laughingstock with her bizarre, bigoted television statements. At least she realizes that she is on the losing side of things and is stepping away gracefully. Her ridiculous far-right ideas about a “strong marriage culture” where everyone lives like June and Ward Cleaver are a picture of an America that never was – a fantastical bigot’s wet dream of misogyny and homophobia- are quickly going the way of the dodo bird, and it seems she knows it. Her resignation in 2010 as NOM’s President, and now this closing of her anti- marriage equality column scream that she knows she is losing. That is the only logical reason for her abandoning her life’s work.
So far, no conservative news items have come out with an opinion either way regarding her retreat from the public sphere. The group Human Rights Campaign had this to say regarding Gallagher's closing of her column:
She probably wouldn't believe it, but I seriously don't say any of this about Maggie's work to gloat about my own movement's successes or to mock what I see as her decades of misfocus. Yes, I'm thrilled that we are triumphing over NOM and Maggie's generally limited marriage view, and I will work with every fiber of my being to put that view out of business altogether. And yes, considering how much personal hurt Maggie has generated for me, my husband, my family, and my future child(ren) who might have to read her archived takes on why the world's natural spectrum of normalcy is somehow a damaging lie, I surely have had some fun taking the piss out of what I see as NOM/Maggie's more laughable missteps. But as a thinker who thinks about things that make us both think, I truly do feel empathy for someone who must close out her seventeen-year run with a realization that the fight she held so dear is a fight that she will not win. A fight that she was never meant to win. A fight that, in my view, she actually helped to lose.
Maggie says, in the closing lines of her closing column, that she has traded optimism for hope—a prediction for a virtue. As for me? I feel lucky enough to retain both. Because of the rightness I feel about my choice to accept rather than limit, I have always had great hope about a view which claims millions of the world's people as something much more and more valuable than the "fluke" status that others have placed upon us. Hope has been driving the LGBT movement for decades. …Godspeed, syndicated Maggie.