In his debate with Dan Savage, the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown admitted that nothing, not even decades of marriage equality without consequence, could convince him to abandon his opposition to same-sex marriage. When Mark Oppenheimer, who moderated the debate, profiled Maggie Gallagher earlier this year, she similarly said that “Nothing could make me call a same-sex couple a marriage, because that’s not what I believe a marriage is.” Responding to the debate today, Gallagher qualified exactly what it might take for her to retreat from her campaign against LGBT families:
I would want to see two generations of gay marriage and some society that in that time-span was able to create a basically functioning marriage culture i.e., one in which the ideal for a child is mom and dad was upheld as a norm and supported in theory (and at least to some degree in practice).
In that case, I might personally not believe gay unions are marriage, but I would no longer believe the law’s definition had any effect on the things I care about, and so would not oppose same-sex marriage.
I would add: If really good scientific evidence disproved the idea that children benefit from their mom and dad, that would rock my world in ways that I can’t say what would happen.
Social science rarely amounts to proof. It generally counts as “evidence” that requires judgment.
In other words, there really is nothing that could convince her, but her answer is revealing. As Jeremy Hooper notes, Gallagher simply wouldn’t live to see two generations of gay marriage, but even if she did, her expectations that the ideal of heterosexuals as parents be upheld “as a norm and supported by theory” would never exist in any timeline of reality. Research already shows that a biological connection and having parents of both genders are not requirements for a child’s successful upbringing, so there’s no valid reason to uphold such a norm. None of the studies that show that children benefit from their mom and dad show any difference in how children benefit from their dads or their moms, if same-sex couples are even included in them. Of course, stigma against adoption and same-sex parenting definitely can be obstacles to child development. As long as Gallagher continues to reinforce that very antipathy, she has painted a self-defeating future that will never exist. Given her adamant investment in hetero-supremacy, she’s made it clear what “judgment” she will apply to any evidence she encounters.