EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: NOM's Maggie Gallagher Discusses "Ex-Gay" Therapy At CPAC
February 13, 2012 3:20 pm ET by Carlos Maza
Over the weekend, Equality Matters staff spoke with Maggie Gallagher – co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) – at the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). While discussing the gay community’s opposition to “ex-gay” therapy, Gallagher suggested that gays and lesbians claim to be “born that way” in order to cope with the pain of being gay:
GALLAGHER: I think honestly, partly, it’s that personally, people still find it quite painful to come to terms with being gay and the way they do it is by saying, “I’m born that way,” “God made me that way,” so it becomes part of their identity structure for coping with what was probably initially not very happy feelings about it. And so your -- it is kind of threat -- the idea that that might not be true, which you think they might welcome, they might say “well even if I couldn’t be gay, could not be gay, I’m” -- you know, the analogy that’s been constructed between orientation and race, which is also -- it’s the foundation of the outrage they feel that you disagree with them on gay marriage. It’s -- I mean -- to me It’s very hard to explain, but on the other hand I’ve never struggled with being gay, so I try to say, you know, I mean obviously it must be -- have been a difficult experience. So I think that’s it. I mean I know politically that the activists are just outraged by it because it’s core to the belief that we need to remake society so that disagreement with or disapproval of gay sexual relationships is the equivalent of racism, and they’ve gone pretty far. It’s really quite amazing to watch them construct something which is so weird.
GALLAGHER: There are a lot of women who will tell you that they made a choice to be lesbian. In fact, some famous celebrity just did this.
EQUALITY MATTERS: Cynthia Nixon
GALLAGHER: Cynthia Nixon. And then they all dumped on her, and she retreated and said her orientation is bisexual. So, I mean, that’s part of their definition too. I think it’s definitional. If you could have a relationship with both – a non-gay relationship, that means your orientation’s not gay, your orientation is bisexual by definition, right? So they would -- that’s the way they understand it. If you could change that would show that you weren’t really gay. I don’t know how you get to decide who’s gay and not gay, but it’s an interesting conversation. I don’t know. I mean, I -- you gotta realize that these guys are -- it’s hard to be gay in America, so I guess that probably does deeply relate to it -- it’s probably going up on a gay website in a few minutes. [emphasis added]
Gallagher’s comments are in line with NOM’s broader support for the idea that homosexuality can be changed or cured through “ex-gay” therapy or other methods. Last September, NOM president Brian Brown heralded a study on the effectiveness of “ex-gay” therapy. He called the study “good news” and added:
Even those who disagree with us about gay marriage (or Christian sexual ethics) should feel good about this this scientific verification of the possibility of free will triumphing over desire. We are all more than our instincts, sexual or otherwise.
NOM has proudly touted comments made by people who claim to have changed their sexual orientation, including a “former lesbian” and the president of a prominent “ex-gay” group. The organization has even misrepresented a pro-equality column to promote the myth that being gay is a choice.
Despite promoting the widely discredited idea that one’s sexual orientation can be changed or chosen, Gallagher did get one thing right – it’s hard to be gay in America. Unfortunately, her organization isn’t doing much to make things better.