March 25th, 2011 | Uncategorized

OPINION | An open letter to Maggie Gallagher ’82

Dear Ms. Gallagher,

Don’t toy with me. I need to know if it was actually you who commented on my recent op-ed for the News. The one in which I gave my assessment of you and the anti-gay marriage group you direct, the National Organization for Marriage. Two online responses were attributed to you, but for all I know it was some other homophobe performing a cruel masquerade to get my hopes up.

Assuming it was you, firstly, thank you. It’s rare when I hear from fans as distinguished as you. Nevertheless, I gather you were none too pleased with my portrayal of your association. In what I can only assume was an act of retaliation, both of your responses displayed an aggressive misunderstanding of how to spell my name.

Please, no more of this. Let’s settle our differences peaceably. I was partially at fault, I’ll admit. Like when I equated you to the “Star Wars” character Jabba the Hutt. That was out of line, and I apologize. Jabba is a fictional character whose predilection for violence can be justified, at least partially, by his economic interests. You, on the other hand, attempt to deny people the right to have families based on the sexual preferences with which they were born.

Jabba, I’m sorry for the comparison.

I feel better now. But moving on, Ms. Gallagher, I owe you some answers. In one of your comments, you expressed confusion as to why you were included in my op-ed. After all, I began by writing about Glenn Stanton, director of Focus on the Family – a separate group that also opposes marriage equality. But I jumped from his group to yours to illustrate a broader point. That is, organizations like yours and Mr. Stanton’s have attempted to co-opt the word “family” for bigoted purposes. Please stop.

In case there’s any confusion out there, NOM is a bigoted organization. You claim that you oppose marriage equality because “society has an interest in bringing together male and female to make and raise the next generation.” But here’s what that translates into: gay people are worse parents, and raise worse children, than straight people.

However you spin it, that’s a bigoted and simply incorrect belief. It deserves no respect from me or anyone else.

(Side observation: You appear to think that, if gays are allowed to marry, children across America will suddenly stop having mothers and fathers. Look, recognizing marriage equality isn’t going to create hordes of new gay people to come raise a generation of somehow-deficient children; it’s just going to mean that more people who want loving families will be able to have them.)

You should be ashamed of yourself and what you’ve chosen to do with your Yale education. We each get one life on earth, and you’re spending yours ruining those of others. You’re part of a movement that keeps people who want families from having them, all because they love someone of the wrong gender. You and people like you are the reason the world can be a scary place for children growing up and wondering if they might be gay, fearful of what the world will think of them and worried whether they will be able to have fulfilling lives.

I wish you luck in whatever you do once homophobia is no longer a viable career option.


River Clegg ‘11

  • penny_lane

    Don’t forget that Jabba is NOT a weak-minded fool, and you compared him to one!

    River, your final full paragraph is spot-on. Well said, sir. All children and teens should be able to dream the American dream of the house with the picket fence with the spouse and kids and family dog–no matter their sexual orientation.

  • lalocruz

    This is great. Thank you for speaking to power.

  • Don

    Bravo, River. Thanks.

  • 201Y1

    As a wise man once said: fight FOR things, not against them.

  • WilloughbyChase

    This letter is disrespectful and unthinking. At no point does Mr. Clegg address the substance of the opposite position. Accusations of homophobia are turning into a form of bigotry of their own.

    For example, he does not take the time to understand why someone would think that: “gay people are worse parents, and raise worse children, than straight people.” Mr. Clegg jumps to the conclusion that this is a bigoted statement. But in fact, I can think that two gay people are wonderful, caring people and treat them with complete respect, but still think that they cannot provide the role models of mother and father that every child needs.

  • Madas

    Wow, River, you really took the high road here. Easy points, my friend, but something that will haunt you when inevitably you write something pleading for reasoned and well-supported arguments to defend something you care about from these kind of smear pieces. God forbid someone disagree with you. Reap what you sow, brother. Hope it’s filling.

  • xfxjuice

    @Willough- What exactly does every child need that they can not get from two parents of the same sex? Do you have any scientific evidence to back up your claims that there is a difference in the development of children who live in straight homes as opposed to gay ones? I really would love to see some.

  • Jaymin


    Actually, let’s accept your premise that on average, gay parents aren’t adequate role models.

    But then, what about poor people. Statistically, they end up being worse parents than the rich. Should they be unilateral prevented from childcare?

    The point is, we generally have pretty low standards when it comes to whatever dumbnut can and can’t raise children. And even when children are taken away from parents, it’s done on a case-by-case basic rather than on demographic groupings (except for age, I guess). On what basis do you find it acceptable to not only hold gay people to a higher standard of parenthood, but to also uniformly declare that none of them meet this standard.

  • 11

    If those comments weren’t written by Maggie, they were written by someone who is a clever student of her style. Maggiegallagher1960 is an internet alias she uses elsewhere, and her first comment included one of her stock lines.

  • The Anti-Yale

    You don’t need to be married to have or raise kids any more.

    This whole “gay marriage” debate is legalistic quibbling over inheritance rights, hospital visitation rights, property distribution. etc.

    Since religion has been an instrument of oppression against gays for so long even religious marriage rights seem like a bitter pill: cod-liver-oil at the altar.

    Do what Luther did, refuse to participate: Begin anew.

  • David Badash

    Bravo! to River Clegg!

    And to WilloughbyChase:
    Simply put, you’re wrong.

    Several studies show that same-sex parents are at least as “good” as their opposite-sex parenting peers.
    You may want to take a look at a piece I wrote last month, “Why Maggie Gallagher’s Argument Against Same-Sex Marriage Is Wrong.”

    “In fact, two long-term studies published last year prove this. In fact, one of them, a twenty-five year-long and vigorously peer-reviewed study published in the journal Pediatrics, found that adopted children raised by lesbian parents are better-adjusted and do better in school than their opposite-parented peers.

    “And there’s another, a study of gay dads that finds they are more likely than straight ones to focus on parenting over career, at least when their children are young.”