Maggie Gallagher outlines NOM’s messaging strategy on same-sex marriage
Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage was recently a guest on the radio program Religion, Politics, and the Culture to talk about her organization’s strategy to prevent states from legalizing same-sex marriage and to pass anti-gay marriage amendments in states that don’t already have them.
In the interview, she said that when marriage amendments are referred to as efforts to “ban same-sex marriage,” NOM’s efforts lose around 10 points in the polls.
Appealing to marriage amendment supporters, Gallagher said that they should talk about how gay and lesbian couples cannot have children.
“Just say, ‘I think marriage is the union of husband and wife for a reason: these unions make a new life and they connect children to their mother and father,’” she said. “‘So it’s a bad idea for the government to step in and change the definition of marriage.’”
She said the messaging that tests the best with the public is one that says gays and lesbians should live how they choose.
“The one-liner that tests well, that I find less satisfying, is the idea that gays and lesbians have a right to live as they choose but none of us has the right to redefine marriage,” she said.
On how not to talk about banning same-sex marriage, she said it’s best not to mention that marriage amendments would ban gay marriage.
“I don’t like the phrase ‘ban same-sex marriage’ because I think it’s not true, and it also suggests that in respecting and protecting the historic understanding of marriage we are doing something that is pointed at hurting gay people,” she said. “So I always take the trouble of saying that we want to support and protect laws defining marriage as between husband and wife.”
She continued, “And it’s certainly true if you test the language ‘ban same-sex marriage’ that it produces probably a ten point drop in public support.”
“It also misleads people because then they go into the voting booth and they say marriage is the union of one man and one woman, they vote ‘yes’ but the ban language implies to some people, at least, that we are criminalizing as opposed to simply refusing to change our public and government’s understanding of marriage,” she said.
She said, “Our point of view is not that gay marriage should be banned, but same-sex unions are not marriages and therefore there is no reason to treat them that way.”
Here’s the full interview: