December 6, 2011
By Adam Bink
It looks like Maggie’s helped form a new organization since leaving NOM, the “Culture War Victory Fund” (quite the title). From her self-congratulatory letter:
Can we achieve victory in America’s “culture wars”? Can we stand–succesfully–for life, for marriage, and for religious liberty?
I think so.
If you are reading this letter, you think so too.
Thank you for joining the Culture War Victory Fund (CWVF). Each week I will ask you to do two things: to think and to act.
Bringing together thought and action is CWVF’s unique contribution.
I’m Maggie Gallagher, and I’ve helped win a few impossible victories in my time.
In the 90s I participated in a great national debate over family structure: are rising rates of fatherlessness and family fragmentation a good thing, as progressive elites then so self-righteously proclaimed?
Or do children long for the love of their mother and father united in marriage?
The answer now seems obvious, but it was a long hard fight to win social respect for the view that marriage matters for children.
I’ve been a syndicated columnist and have authored three books on marriage, including “The Case for Marriage: Why Married People are Happier, Healthier, and Better-Off Financially” (co-authored with University of Chicago Professor Linda J. Waite).
During the Bush administration, I had a front row seat over debates regarding the Federal Marriage Amendment—and I could see the need for a single-issue national activist organization to do the hand-on political work of fighting for marriage and religious liberty—especially in blue states.
So I founded one: The National Organization for Marriage (NOM)
Not all by myself of course. Brian Brown, Princeton Professor Robbie George, and a whole host of impressive people came together. In just a few short years, the National Organization for Marriage has become what even the Washington Post called the “pre-eminent national organization” fighting to protect marriage as the union between husband and wife.
In early 2008, NOM helped get Prop 8 on the ballot in California. We changed history.
I recall vividly how I was told by fellow conservatives a victory for Prop 8 would be literally impossible: They said:
“It takes $2 million to get a proposition on the ballot in California, you cannot possibly raise the money, you will raise part of the money and leave the donors hanging, if by some miracle you succeed you will lose at the ballot box because the culture has shifted.”
Here’s the thing I want you to notice about this story.
First, the people who were telling me that success was impossible were people who agreed with me that gay marriage was a civil wrong, not a civil right.
Secondly—and this is the most important thing—none of it turned out to be true.
In six weeks we raised the crucial seven figures needed to succeed in getting Prop 8 on the ballot. During the election, 7 million Californians voted to overturn their state Supreme Court and affirm marriage as the union of husband and wife.
I learned an important lesson from that great victory and I want to share it with you: Despair is the most powerful weapon our opponents have. And despair is a self-inflicted weapon one they can have only if we voluntarily hand over to them.
Jeremy’s right that people like Maggie never note the 6.4 million Californians who voted No on 8. I recall Ted Olson going no Fox News with Chris Wallace and listened to Chris sputtering about why one judge should “overturn the will of millions of Californians.” Aside from a very narrow win for Prop 8, dissent matters in a society.
I am glad, however, to see Maggie continue the tradition of insanely long letters as were the case with Brian Brown’s e-mails when she was at NOM. If you can stand to read it, the other 1,646 words in her letter are here.