The new leadership change at the National Organization for Marriage announced Thursday has provoked curiosity and speculation as to why Maggie Gallagher was swapped out for constitutional lawyer John Eastman to serve as NOM's board chairman.
The Associated Press reported Thursday that Gallagher, "who often testified at hearings and engaged in public debates on behalf of NOM, became a frequent target of wrath from the gay-rights movement." In a statement, NOM's co-founder said she was stepping down to complete her Oxford University Press book "Debating Same-Sex Marriage" but that she would remain on NOM's board and "continue to work on specific projects for NOM."
A day after the announcement, NOM introduced a brand-new project, the Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance (MarriageADA), for which Gallagher is listed as being among primary staff, along with Damian Goddard.
MarriageADA is described as a "supportive community for those who have been threatened for standing for marriage, to nip the climate of fear being created in the bud, to expose for fair-minded Americans on both sides of the debate the threats being made, to conduct high-quality qualitative and quantitative research documenting the extent of the harm, to develop legislative and community proposal to protect Americans right to engage in the core civil rights: to organize, to vote, to speak, to donate, and to write for marriage."
It is a (tax-deductible) nonprofit financed by the NOM's 501(c)3 arm, the NOM Institute.
The first project Marriage ADA is engaged in is in North Carolina, one of the latest states to introduce a ballot proposal to amend its constitution to restrict marriage to straight couples. MarriageADA is is representing author Frank Turek, who has written three books about religion, public policy and same-sex marriage. The latter -- "Correct, Not Politically Correct: How Same-Sex Marriage Hurts Everyone" -- is the subject of a consumer complaint MarriageADA has filed against Bank of America in North Carolina. In a video, Turek claims he lost his leadership-training contract with Cisco and Bank of America because of the book.
"We want to create an America in which people do not fear losing their jobs, or any other threats to their person or property, because they do not agree with gay marriage," Gallagher said about the new project. "I believe both sides in this debate deserve basic respect for exercising their core civil rights as Americans to engage in an important public debate."
MarriageADA is an extension of NOM's never-ending battle to keep its donors secret.
From the MarriageADA website:
The Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance is dedicated to one, simple, and profound idea: No American should be afraid to exercise core civil rights: to speak, to donate, to organize, to sign petitions, or to vote for marriage as the union of husband and wife.
If you have been threatened, harassed, or made to feel afraid because you believe in the great, foundational truth of Genesis –we are born male and female and called to come together in love to give children mothers and fathers—Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance is here to help you: you are not alone.
In an email newsletter to supporters, sent Thursday night, NOM President Brian Brown explained the strategy behind the new project:
NOM's Marriage Anti-Defamation League is fighting back! We've reached out, in the first instance, to citizens of North Carolina in the Charlotte area, where Bank of America is headquartered, and let me tell you, in the hundreds and the thousands they have responded: Are you outraged that Frank Turek was fired? Yes!
Will you call the company to complain? More than than 1,400 North Carolinians, out of the 9,000 we called, agreed to phone in their dismay. 37 percent of them are customers of Bank of America.
(I have to pause to give a shout out to the American Family Association, which has also taken up Frank Turek's cause, God bless them!)
NOM's Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance is not a one-shot. It's the beginning of something truly big. We need to come together in love to support each other in the threats to our jobs, our families, and our rights that are now clearly laid down by gay-marriage advocates.
In the meantime, Eastman, law professor at Chapman University School of Law, founding director of the conservative Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence and contributor for the Claremont Institute, is taking over Gallagher's post.
In a commprehensive primer on Eastman, Media Matters points out that Gallagher's anti-gay rhetoric -- calling homosexuality “an unfortunate thing” which represents “at a minimum, a sexual dysfunction” and accusing gay men and lesbians of “committing several different kinds of sins" -- has been matched by Eastman's, who has called homosexuality one of "“two new indicia of barbarism” in the 20th Century.
The American Independent's sister site The Colorado Independent explains Eastman has defended the Boy Scouts' discrimination against gay and lesbian troop leaders and has been a strong opponent to same-sex parents adopting children.
Last month, Eastman participated in a blog symposium sponsored by the Supreme Court of the United States blog (SCOTUSblog) on the subject of same-sex marriage. In his entry, Eastman defended the "constitutionality of traditional marriage," writing: "It is no denigration of one class or the other to acknowledge the biological truth that same-sex and opposite-sex couples are not similarly situated with respect to at least one of the purposes of marriage, namely, procreation."
Initially, NOM had announced Gallagher would be participating in the symposium, but she never did. In an email, SCOTUSblog told TAI that Gallagher decided not to submit an entry due to "time limitations."
Watch MarriageADA video on Frank Turek: