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Maggie Gallagher Rebuts Arguments for Same-Sex Marriage

The push for same-sex marriage is part of a larger problem with our society's understanding of marriage.

Posted: Friday, April 9, 2010

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STEUBENVILLE, OH—"The same-sex marriage battle is only one part of a larger crisis in marriage that I've been confronting for 20 years," said Maggie Gallagher, president of the National Organization for Marriage.

She spoke to a full house at Franciscan University of Steubenville, April 6, 2010, on "The Future of Marriage: Why (and How) Christians Must Engage the Same-Sex Marriage Debate."

Gallagher traced the contours of the broader crisis in marriage, stemming from the sexual revolution and its lasting impact on the culture.

"A lot of happy talk came from people who put on white coats and said, 'Oh, it's great that we're able to free women from these archaic institutions!'"

However, Gallagher said, the well-being of children took a back seat to the cause of sexual liberation. "Thousands of studies show children do better if they have a mother and father in a stable marriage, provided they are not in a high conflict or troubled situation," said the co-author of The Case for Marriage. "Years later, if you look at people in their 40s and 50s, you can still see a difference depending on whether or not these children are given what comes through parents in this thing called marriage."

And, Gallagher emphasized, that union did not need to be perfect or without any difficulty.

"What I have come to believe is that it's precisely the average marriage, marked by a basic amount of love and trust, but also faced by periods of boredom and frustration, that's huge for children's well-being."

Gallagher described a dramatic shift in the marriage debate from the ’80s to the tenor of the conversation in 2000, when there existed "a genuinely cross-ideological movement for more stable families for our kids." And then the same-sex marriage debate commenced.

"You have to believe that framing ideas matters," Gallagher said. "The current idea at the heart of the gay marriage push is that there is no relevant difference between same-sex and opposite-sex couples.

"If the law endorses the equality idea behind the gay marriage idea, you change marriage, which has been the same down through the centuries."

Such a shift would have certain consequences for believers in traditional marriage. Gallagher described a number of recent examples of real-world consequences for supporting traditional marriage, including the threats and intimidation tactics used against traditional marriage supporters in the wake of the Proposition 8 victory in California, as well as the case of Catholic Charities' adoption service in Boston, which opted to shut down when the state required it to place children with gay couples.

"I really don't believe that the law will be used to force clergy to marry same-sex couples," said Gallagher. "However, the law works to suppress those who oppose marriage equality."

The case for traditional marriage can be made very briefly.

"Simply put, marriage is the union of a man and a woman because children need a mom and a dad," said Gallagher. "It's wrong for government to base a policy on a lie about human nature. Right now, there's a large chunk of the American people who see this idea as bigotry."

In order to address both the immediate same-sex marriage debate, as well as the larger marriage crisis, Gallagher argued for a conversion within the churches first. "If we as Catholics and Christians generally were a visible light to the larger culture in our marriages and our families, everything would be different.

"If I was going to ask religious communities for one thing, it'd be more divorce intervention," she said. "Marriage is a vow to love another person. We can help them learn how."

Gallagher's lecture was the latest presentation in the Franciscan University Distinguished Speaker Series, which features leaders recognized for exemplary service to Church and society.

For more information on Maggie Gallagher and the fight for traditional marriage, go to

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