Monday, April 18, 2011

House Judiciary Subcommittee challenges Maggie Gallagher on DOMA

The House Judiciary  Subcommittee on the Constitution questioned Maggie Gallagher, chair of the National Organization for Marriage, on DOMA and on whether it makes members of same-sex unions second class citizens or whether it would matter if it does, on Friday April 15.

Chris Johnson has a major story in the Washington Blade, here

Gallagher said that preservation of an “ideal” should not stigmatize families that do not live up to it. But she also said, “Marriage is the union of husband and wife for a reason: these are the only unions that create new life and connect those children in love to their mother and father.” 

The subcommittee page for the hearing is here  and it has sublinks to testimonials by Gallagher, Carlos Ball, and Edward Whealan.

Logic can be merciless. If marriage confers privileges upon those who enter and stay in it, those who do not must subsidize it. Sometimes this causes sacrifice from them, or for others to treat them with less regard or be less willing to listen to them.  In a practical sense, marriage equality may affect singles and those not in relationships as much as it affects same-sex couples.
One could say that marriage (or what some social conservatives like Carlson and Mero call the "natural family"), as an institution, bridges the spheres of individual rights as we normally perceive them today and large concerns about community sustainability and shared purpose, which throughout history has often caused unequal sacrifices from individuals.  But is she willing to really say that?  Other writers, like Jennifer Roback Morse, has said as much, for example, that the "laissez-faire family doesn't work".

Is that concern about "second class citizenship" that led me to focus on the military gay ban back in the early 1990s, based on the history of my own life.  

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