Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Please don't call us racists

No, Maggie, the proper term is "bigot"

On Friday afternoon, I attended a program at the St. Thomas Law School pitched as a debate on the proposed marriage discrimination amendment that will be on the ballot next year. Andy Birkey was there, and he wrote an article and posted audio clips of the debate.

The two contestants were Professor Dale Carpenter, a civil rights and sexual orientation law expert from the University of Minnesota Law School and Maggie Gallagher, one of, if not the, most visible -- and obviously venerated by the mostly-Catholic audience -- Catholic operatives in the marriage discrimination movement.

At the beginning of the hour, Gallagher asked who in the audience favored gay marriage. I, and a couple of people around me, shot our hands up. There was a Catholic priest sitting next to me; he could cast a magnificent stink eye.

But I digress.

In addition to laying out her case for marriage discrimination, which we'll get to in a moment, Gallagher said that the anti-discrimination forces treated the pro-discrimination forces like they were racists. Professor Carpenter said no, not like racists. Which is true; the Catholic church is not making gays and lesbians pick cotton or anything like that.

What the Professor didn't go on to say -- although I might have -- is that the pro-discrimination forces are bigots. That's an ugly word all right, but Gallagher uses an even more inflammatory one -- racist -- in an effort to repel people from a closer examination of the real game that is afoot in the "debate" over gay marriage.

Which brings us Gallagher's "case." Before continuing, please read Andy Birkey's story, if you haven't already.

Ok; done? As Andy reported, the centerpiece of Gallagher's argument is that marriage is in trouble, and that children do better with a mommy and a daddy. That marriage as an institution has seen better days can hardly be doubted. But as Professor Carpenter pointed out, making marriage available to a small minority of additional people: encouraging bonds of fidelity, mutual support, and providing an economically stronger and more stable platform for the raising of children, won't harm existing marriage in the slightest.

This is the mother and mother of all red herrings. So to speak.

And Gallagher is prevaricating -- to put it charitably -- when she says only a mommy and a daddy will do. She admits that there are many children raised in families without a mommy and a daddy --  she apparently raised one herself -- but claims there are lots of studies showing the axiomatic superiority of the mommy-daddy duo.

Except that they are junk. They are part of the undignified campaign of innuendo being conducted by elements of the Catholic church -- including the Catholic bishops in Minnesota -- to turn religious and cultural prejudice into "science," which is, of course, rich.

The proponents of Proposition 8 in California -- who were heavily funded by the Catholic and Mormon churches -- made the same argument when the law was challenged. These arguments and studies were considered by Federal District Court Judge Vaughn Walker, who overturned Proposition 8 last year. Here is just one of Judge Walker's findings.

You should go to the link and read all of the references in the trial transcript that support this finding.

In conclusion, my friends, if you make things up to justify your desire to discriminate on solely religious or cultural grounds, well, that's bigotry.

Update: And come to think of it, who called Maggie Gallagher a racist? I'd love to see a link; I doubt one exists.

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