As one of the most outspoken opponents of gay marriage, Maggie Gallagher knows all too well the intense backlash that follows the statement “marriage is a union between one man and one woman.” While conservatives have many theories about why gay marriage supporters so passionately oppose them, Gallagher believes it's because race has gotten mixed into the marriage debate.
"Gay marriage elites are saying there is no possible reason to oppose gay marriage except bigotry, and that opposition to gay marriage is like opposition to interracial marriage," Gallagher told The Christian Post in an email.
In what Gallagher calls the "race analogy," gay and lesbians equate themselves to African Americans who were restrained by segregation and discrimination from marrying who they wanted.
This belief has been affirmed by some African-American leaders.
Civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) testified Wednesday, "The Defense of Marriage Act is a stain on our democracy. We must do away of this unjust, discriminatory law once and for all."
The Defense of Marriage Act defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman for federal laws and allows all states to define marriage for its residents.
Gay rights activists have successfully lobbied six states to legalize gay marriage, and Congress to do away with the military's ban on homosexuality. Now they have set their sights on DOMA.
But rejecting the arguments coming from the gay rights movement, African-American minister Voddie Baucham said in a February meeting with religious news journalists, "The homosexuals have effectively co-opted blackness."
He does not agree with the comparison of homosexuality and race.
"I'm insulted that people equate not just a sinful behavior, but a behavior that's a special category of sin called abomination, with the level of melanin in my skin," said Baucham.
The comparison between gay marriage and interracial marriage is also not a fair association.
Like gay marriage, interracial marriage once faced extreme opposition. Several states had laws banning marriage between a white person and a non-white person.
Unlike gay marriage, those who chose to get married to someone of a different race were threatened with jail time.
The historic U.S. Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia helped open up marriage for interracial couples.
In the ruling, the court wrote, "Marriage is one of the 'basic civil rights of man,' fundamental to our very existence and survival .... To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes (Virginia's anti-miscegenation laws), ... is surely to deprive all the state's citizens of liberty without due process of law."
Gay right activists, who feel a shared sense of discrimination with African Americans, "are responding by heaping hatred on anyone who stands up for [traditional] marriage," said Gallagher.
Videos of Gallagher's marriage testimony are spurned with disparaging comments about her appearance, marriage and sex life.
The website F**H8.com also parodies gay marriage opponents like Gallagher in videos denouncing their traditional values as jokes.
Even political figures are not immune.
Republican presidential candidates Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich, who chose to affirm traditional marriage, were "glittered" – an act in which perpetrators tossed glitter all over a person – during their appearances.
Candidate Rick Santorum, who was ridiculed by gay activist Dan Savage during the Bill Maher show last week, noted the inequity in a letter to his supporters.
"Imagine if this happened to a liberal. Maher and his friends in the mainstream media would hit the roof – and rightly so. But when it happens to a conservative, they applaud and laugh."
Gallagher says gay marriage supporters behave this way because it works. "People tend to avoid speaking up, which narrows the targets, and allows [activists] to concentrate [their] objections on the few who stick their necks out."
Gallagher is among those who continue to stick their necks out for marriage.
She says of her motivation, "The idea that America could be a country in which it is considered hateful or ugly to say 'to make a marriage you need a husband and wife, because kids long for a mom and a dad' ... I will not volunteer to live in that country."
"I was born free,” she concluded, “and God-willing, hope to die that way."