Maggie Gallagher

This article is about the American conservative commentator Maggie Gallagher. For the researcher and writer, see Margaret Gallagher. For the actress, see Megan Gallagher.
Maggie Gallagher

Gallagher in 2010
Personal details
Born (1960-09-14) September 14, 1960
Lake Oswego, Oregon, U.S.
Nationality American
Occupation Commentator

Margaret Gallagher (born September 14, 1960), better known by her working name Maggie Gallagher, is an American writer and socially conservative commentator. She wrote a syndicated column for Universal Press Syndicate from 1995 to 2013[1] and has written books. She serves as president of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, a nonprofit organization which lobbies on issues of marriage law. She is an executive committee member, former president and former chairman of the board of the National Organization for Marriage, which opposes same-sex marriage and other legal recognition of same-sex partnerships.[2][3]


Maggie Gallagher was born on September 14, 1960 to William Walter Gallagher Sr. and the former Darrilyn Doris Stenz. She is originally from Lake Oswego, Oregon, where she attended Lakeridge High School. She has three siblings: Kathleen, William Jr., and Colleen.[4] Her parents were initially active in their local Catholic parish, but her mother left the Church when she was 8, but remained interested in spirituality, while Maggie became what she later described as a "pro-life atheist" and a reader of Ayn Rand and Robert A. Heinlein.

In 1982, she earned a B.A. in Religious Studies from Yale University, where she belonged to the Party of the Right in the Yale Political Union.[5] While at Yale she tried marijuana once but did not like it.[6]

On October 6, 2010, she returned to the Union to debate against same-sex marriage with opponent Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry and fellow alumnus of the Yale Political Union. Shortly before she was due to graduate, she fell pregnant after a relationship with a fellow party member. She gave birth to a son out of wedlock.[7] She initially planned to put the baby up for adoption but then changed her mind. Neither of the parents thought that they should marry.

She said that the father eventually abandoned her and became uninterested in their child.[8]

In her twenties, she reverted to Catholicism because her experience as a single mother made her consider the necessity of fathers and the linkage of sex to procreation.[9]

Gallagher married Raman Srivastav in 1993, a Hindu,[6][10] and they have one son together.

Gallagher attended the premiere reading of 8, Dustin Lance Black's play about the trial surrounding California's Proposition 8, where a depiction of her was performed by Jayne Houdyshell.[11] She expressed the opinion that most people would find the work "kind of dull".[12] In a Los Angeles performance, the Gallagher role was performed by Jane Lynch.


Gallagher has written several books, including ones with co-author Linda J. Waite, a professor of sociology at the University of Chicago. Gallagher serves as president of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy,[7] a conservative think tank whose slogan is "strengthening marriage for a new generation."[7][13] She was also President of the National Organization for Marriage from its founding until April 16, 2010, when Brian S. Brown took over that role. She maintains a position on NOM's executive committee.[14]

In late 2011 she founded the Culture War Victory Fund,[15] and serves as the fund's director.[16]

On January 2, 2013, she announced the retirement of her syndicated column, then distributed by Universal Uclick.[1]

Social views

Gallagher is a Roman Catholic and a social conservative.[17] She is a signatory of the Manhattan Declaration, a November 2009 ecumenical statement calling on Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelical Christians not to comply with rules and laws permitting abortion, same-sex marriage and other matters against their religious consciences.[18]

Views on abortion

Gallagher opposes abortion and believes that Roe v. Wade should be overturned. She believes that most people who support legal abortion do so reluctantly because they think it is a necessary evil.[19]

Views on assisted suicide

Gallagher is opposed to the legalization of assisted suicide such as the Death with Dignity Act or voluntary euthanasia. Gallagher believes that state-approved suicide diminishes the value of life, especially for the elderly, sick, or vulnerable.[20]

Views on marriage

Gallagher is a strong opponent of the legal recognition of same-sex unions and has written books toward that end. Gallagher holds that one of the purposes of marriage is always procreation and rearing children exclusively by heterosexual parents,[21] and argues that same-sex unions diminish the value of heterosexual marriages. Gallagher has compared winning the fight to ban same-sex marriage with the fall of communism and believes that if same-sex marriage is made legal, it will mean "losing American civilization."[21]

Gallagher advocates litigation against spouses who commit adultery and opposes laws which facilitate no-fault divorce.[22][23]

Gallagher has written that "[w]e need a social institution, endowed with public authority, that teaches young men and women [...] that they need to come together in love to raise the children their bodies make together. If this is a core purpose of marriage, then same-sex unions are not marriages. If gay unions are marriages, then this is no longer what marriage is about."[24]

Further, Gallagher has written that same-sex marriage is "rooted in a false equation: Loving a man is not the same as loving a woman; a sexual union that can give rise to children is fundamentally different in kind than a union not so freighted, for good and for ill, with the fact of procreativity."[25]

Views on same-sex relationships

In October 2006, Gallagher suggested to gay rights groups that they stop promoting same-sex marriage and start vigorously advocating for civil unions.[26] In 2010, she expressed her support for certain kinds of civil unions for same-sex couples but not available for opposite-sex couples.[27] However, she, in 2012, supported North Carolina's Amendment 1, a state constitutional amendment that bans both recognition of same-sex marriages and civil unions.[28][29]

Gallagher believes that many people in the LGBT community, specifically gay men, choose to oppose what they label as the "heteronormative" constraints of a monogamous relationship, with reference to Eric Erbelding's assertion that the married gay couples he knows are "for the most part monogamous, but for maybe a casual three-way".[30]

Gallagher had previously expressed opposition to domestic partnerships and civil unions, and she believes that domestic partner benefits "erode the status" of heterosexual marriage.[31] She has stated that same-sex marriage is worse than polygamy, which/"for all its ugly defects, is an attempt to secure stable mother-father families for children."[21]

Gallagher has stated that "[s]exual orientation is almost certainly unchosen", but that the decision to act on that desire and to incorporate it into one’s identity is a choice that bears moral reflection. She believes that "sexual desire is not its own justification" for acceptance or legal recognition of same-sex relationships.[32] She has also written that "once the principle [of same-sex marriage] is in the law, the next step will be to use the law to stigmatize, marginalize, and repress those who disagree with the government’s new views on marriage and sexual orientation." As an example, she has cited efforts by LGBT advocates to revoke the tax-exempt status of churches that oppose same-sex marriage.[30]

Gallagher has stated that she will not attend a same-sex wedding if she is ever invited to one.[33]

Views on sex education

Gallagher believes that teaching abstinence (encouraging celibacy until legally married) should be the sole curriculum. She does not believe in instructing students in birth control or how to prevent STDs through use of condoms or safe-sex techniques and has advocated discontinuing all safer-sex education in public schools.[34]

Views on single parenting

When Dan Quayle criticized the fictional television character Murphy Brown for being an unwed mother, Gallagher wrote an op-ed for The New York Times, "An Unwed Mother for Quayle", in his defense.[35]

Presidential election

Gallagher's endorsement of candidate Rick Santorum in the 2012 Republican presidential primaries was promoted by the Santorum campaign.[36][37]

Federal contracts scandal

Gallagher received tens of thousands of dollars from the Department of Health and Human Services during 2002 and 2003 for helping the George W. Bush administration promote the President's Healthy Marriage Initiative.[38] Gallagher testified before Congress in favor of "healthy marriage" programs but never disclosed the payments.[39] When asked about that situation, she replied, "Did I violate journalistic ethics by not disclosing it? I don't know. You tell me.... frankly, it never occurred to me."[38]

After the Washington Post revealed this information on January 26, 2005, Gallagher claimed significant differences between her situation and that of conservative columnist Armstrong Williams. She went on to add, "I should have disclosed a government contract when I later wrote about the Bush marriage initiative. I would have, if I had remembered it. My apologies to my readers."[40]

Gallagher received an additional $20,000 from the Bush administration for writing a report, titled "Can Government Strengthen Marriage?", for the National Fatherhood Initiative, a private organization.[38]

Conversion therapy

On a February 2012 edition of Up with Chris Hayes on which Gallagher appeared for a segment on the revival of the "culture wars", Gallagher was asked by The Nation editor Richard Kim about her support of gay reparative therapy. Gallagher denied having ever supported ex-gay therapy and claimed that Kim was "making stuff up".[41] Kim subsequently quoted from a 2001 column written by Gallagher praising Robert Spitzer for his research on the possibilities of ex-gay therapy and calling on then-President George W. Bush to support federal funding for research into ex-gay therapy.[42]


Listed by original publication date:

See also


  1. 1 2 "Maggie Gallagher and Universal Uclick Announce The Retirement of Gallagher's Column Read more: The Gilmer Mirror – Maggie Gallagher and Universal Uclick Announce The Retirement of Gallagher's Column". The Gilmer Mirror Online. January 2, 2013. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
  2. "About the National Organization for Marriage". National Organization for Marriage. Retrieved February 16, 2009.
  3. "NOM Announces New Chairman of the Board – National Organization for Marriage". September 22, 2011. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
  4. "Amos, Capron, Carnes family". Retrieved October 5, 2009.
  5. "Schedule of Events" (PDF). Portsmouth Institute. June 2009. Retrieved June 27, 2009.
  6. 1 2 The making of gay marriage’s top foe. (February 8, 2012). Retrieved on 2016-05-24.
  7. 1 2 3 "About Maggie". Institute for Marriage and Public Policy. Archived from the original on January 25, 2010. Retrieved February 16, 2009.
  8. Oppenheimer, Mark. "The Making of Gay Marriage's Top Foe". Retrieved May 21, 2014.
  9. Tennis, Cary. "The making of gay marriage's top foe by Mark Oppenheimer at Salon". Retrieved February 27, 2012.
  10. Donna Pandori (September 30, 2009). "Maggie Gallagher's husband not welcome at NOM event?". Retrieved October 5, 2009.
  11. "Anti-Gay NOM Activist Maggie Gallagher Attends Staged Broadway Benefit for Team Challenging Proposition 8| Gay News". Towleroad. September 20, 2011. Retrieved November 2, 2013.
  12. "The Story Behind "8" – the Courtroom Drama about Marriage Equality". Berkshire On Stage. January 17, 2012. Retrieved November 2, 2013.
  13. "About IMAPP". Institute for Marriage and Public Policy. Retrieved February 16, 2009.
  14. "Maggie Gallagher Ends Reign Over Anti-Gay Marriage Group". April 22, 2010. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
  15. "Maggie Gallagher Founds New Group, Ignores Reality". Lez Get Real. December 6, 2011. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
  16. "Abortion bill would allow prosecution of providers | Campaign 2012 | Washington Examiner". December 5, 2011. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
  17. "Conservative Chronicle". Conservative Chronicle. July 15, 2009. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
  18. "Read the Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience". Retrieved February 27, 2012.
  19. Maggie Gallagher (January 27, 2003). "Failed promises of abortion". Retrieved February 27, 2012.
  20. Gallagher, Maggie (June 2, 2004). "Assisted suicide gives medical credence to self-destruction". Retrieved February 27, 2012.
  21. 1 2 3 Gallagher, Maggie (July 14, 2003). "Why we need marriage". National Review. Retrieved April 4, 2010.
  22. "The Right to Adultery?". March 17, 2010. Retrieved November 2, 2013.
  23. "Does Divorce Make People Happy? Findings from a Study of Unhappy Marriages". June 27, 1997. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
  24. "Economist Debates: Single-sex marriage". The Economist.
  25. Maggie Gallagher (February 17, 2012). "Why is gay marriage an issue in this campaign?". Human Events. Eagle Publishing, Inc. Retrieved February 23, 2012.
  26. Maggie Gallagher (October 24, 2006). "State marriage amendment and gay rights: New dilemmas". Townhall. Retrieved December 22, 2013.
  27. David Badash (March 7, 2011). "UPDATED: Why Maggie Gallagher's Argument Against Same-Sex Marriage Is Wrong". The New Civil Rights movement. Retrieved December 22, 2013.
  28. Maggie Gallagher (May 8, 2012). "Apologies to Rod (Sort Of)". National Review. Retrieved December 22, 2013.
  29. Maggie Gallagher (May 9, 2012). "The Margin of Victory in North Carolina". National Review. Retrieved December 22, 2013.
  30. 1 2 Gallagher, Maggie (June 17, 2008). "Redefinition Revolution". National Review. Archived from the original on June 29, 2008. Retrieved August 13, 2010.
  31. "Yes Campaign Ad Promoting Domestic Partnerships a Sham". Retrieved August 13, 2010.
  32. "Redefining Religious Liberty". May 27, 2009. Archived from the original on August 9, 2010. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
  33. Maggie Gallagher (April 17, 2015) Why I, Unlike Senator Rubio, Would Not Attend a Gay Wedding.
  34. Gallagher, Maggie. "About That New Abstinence Study (archived)". Archived from the original on February 9, 2010. Retrieved November 2, 2013.
  35. "An Unwed Mother For Quayle". Retrieved February 27, 2012.
  36. "Rick Santorum: Ron Paul doesn't stand for life – James Hohmann". Politico.Com. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
  37. Bill Fox (January 13, 2012). "Former Chairman Of The National Organization For Marriage Endorses Santorum – Politics". Retrieved February 27, 2012.
  38. 1 2 3 Howard Kurtz (January 26, 2005). "Writer Backing Bush Plan Had Gotten Federal Contract". Washington Post. Retrieved March 25, 2010.
  39. Crea, Joe (February 4, 2005). "HRC seeks investigation of columnist Gallagher – Writer failed to disclose grants in congressional testimony". Washington Blade. Archived from the original on April 22, 2009.
  40. Gallagher, Maggie (2005). "A Question of Disclosure".
  41. Elizabeth Whitman (February 13, 2012). "Fixing Sexual Orientation". The Nation. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
  42. Maggie Ghallager (May 10, 2001). "Fixing Sexual Orientation". Townhall. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
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