Rhode Island had a very special guest yesterday: the one and only Maggie Gallagher! She was the big draw for the National Organization for Marriage’s Rhode Island “Celebrate Marriage & Family Day” in Warwick, but the drag queen best known for supporting only opposite-sex marriage couldn’t even convince her husband of 17 years to join her.
Rhode Island is just about the only state left in the northeast that will tolerate NOM, courtesy its Catholic base and regular ignoring of gay marriage. So thank you, America’s Tiniest State, for welcoming this group so they could relay their message.
And what, exactly, is that message? That marriage is universal! “Everywhere you go around the globe, there’s something called marriage,” says Gallagher, who quickly descends into a history lesson. And that’s when she starts getting the facts wrong.
Like how marriage, according to Gallagher, “is a sexual union.” Wrong. For most of human history, marriage was a contract, used for the exchange of property and goods.
Or how “it’s a universal human idea … in which the rights and responsibilities of the husband and wife towards each other, and towards any children that come out of their union, are publicly defined and supported, and we don’t try to just leave it up to teenagers in love to work out all on their own what this whole big phenomenon of human experience means — that’s a recipe for disaster.” Wrong: Many societies, like Gallagher, abuse the word marriage to fit their own ends, including the forced marriage of teen girls to adult men.
Now, we wouldn’t be fighting for marriage equality if we, the gays, also didn’t value human unions just like Gallagher. But we don’t have any misconceptions about what marriage is: A government-approved contract to enjoy certain rights and privileges, and a means to publicly celebrate our love.
Actually, that is what Gallagher thinks marriage is. She just believes gays and lesbians are less than, and not capable of handling such heavy paperwork.
(NB: Yes there were marriage equality advocates protesting nearby.)
(Pictured above: Jim and Terri Hopkins, en route to celebrating 25 years of marriage, renew their vows at the event, which they brought their daughter to. Photo: The Providence Journal)