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Maggie Gallagher: Justice Kennedy Declared A ‘Fatwa’ Against Marriage Equality Opponents

By Zack Ford

"Maggie Gallagher: Justice Kennedy Declared A ‘Fatwa’ Against Marriage Equality Opponents"

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Maggie Gallagher, best known for helping found the National Organization for Marriage, continues to be a figurehead among the opposition to marriage equality. Though she expected to lose on the Defense of Marriage Act, the outrage she expresses in her latest interview with the National Review Online suggests she was totally blindsided by the Supreme Court’s decision last week and isn’t backing down:

NRO: Are last week’s rulings on marriage as monumental, with the staying power, of Roe v. Wade?

GALLAGHER: What you are really asking is: Will we concede the legitimacy of Kennedy’s fatwa against us, or will we respond with a sustained opposition — legal, political, cultural, and of the moral imagination?

I don’t believe in inevitability, I believe in human freedom and our power to shape the future. So it depends on us. But certainly I believe, as I wrote in the Los Angeles Times, that the questions raised by marriage — deeply rooted in our conception of who we are as men and women, the meaning of sexuality and gender — cannot be put to rest by the power of five lawyers on however high a court.

Though “fatwa” literally means the word “opinion” in Arabic, its connotation is often a death sentence, such as the fatwa pronounced on author Salman Rushdiein in 1989 Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Gallagher sees marriage equality as an attack on her, not an opportunity for same-sex couples to access legal protections for their families. Later in the interview, she implies that those who support marriage equality are hurting or killing children:

Marriage is the word and the idea that incarnates a series of tremendously important ideas our contemporary post-sexual-revolution culture is inclined to deny — and now disparage as bigoted. Our bodies matter. They are part of who we are. Men and women are different, and the whole society needs — because our children need it, and because our future depends on it, on culturally creating it — a pathway from male to female (and vice versa) in which we do not hurt each other or our children with our sexual desires. To become the kind of people who care for our children, not kill them, or hurt them, require a tremendous commitment that adolescents make only in a society where adult society is committed to these norms.

How children will be harmed by being free from gender roles is unclear. In fact, NOM just accidentally admitted this week that gender norms aren’t good for married couples. If Gallagher truly wants people to understand that she’s not anti-gay, she might stop trying to portray the gay community as murderous child abusers.

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