Bil Browning

Maggie Gallagher Gets GetEqual Anita Bryant Award

Filed By Bil Browning | April 15, 2011 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Living, Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Anita Bryant, GetEqual, Maggie Gallagher, pie in the face

Just in case Delaware's passage of civil unions legislation has Maggie Gallagher down in the dumps, GetEqual has given her something to look forward to! At today's congressional hearing about marriage equality, the direct action group's members bestowed their first "Anita Bryant Unparalleled Bigotry Award" Anita-Bryant-Pie.jpgon the anti-gay crusader. In a press release the group says:

"In presenting this award to Ms. Gallagher, we are recognizing the bigotry that she has pioneered over the past few years - malice that has put her ahead of the pack in the world of professional bigots who draw a paycheck each day from the hatred they stir up among the 'radical right' wing of the American public," said Robin McGehee, director of GetEQUAL. "At a time when Americans overwhelmingly support marriage equality it takes a very special person like Ms. Gallagher to stand up and fight for discriminations and bigotry. It's gratifying to be able to draw attention to the unrelenting hatred that Ms. Gallagher and others at the National Organization for Marriage have been contributing to American life."

At the Congressional hearing, GetEQUAL was able to present Ms. Gallagher with an award certificate, which will be accompanied at a later date with a prize in honor of the award's namesake - a cream pie.
GetEQUAL will deliver the pie prize during a future public appearance by Ms. Gallagher, to ensure that she is able to celebrate the award publicly, in front of an audience. The exact moment of delivery is unknown at this time.

Anita Bryant, of course, was the anti-gay leader from the mid-70s who was famously hit in the face with a banana cream pie on television by four gay activists. If I were Gallagher, I'd keep my eyes open for flying pastries. Video of Bryant getting pied after the jump.

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Laurie Edwards | April 15, 2011 3:07 PM

I remember this! Wow, talk about a fugly blast from a nasty past--Anita Bryant!

I remember being happy when her bigotry lost her the orange juice commercials she used to do. No company wants so polarizing figure as she for their spokesperson, and it made me happy when they fired her silly ass.

What's she up to nowadays, anyway? And didn't she and the husband split up? I suppose it would be too perfect if one of them came out of the closet, but it's a fun dream.

Actually, she has a gay son.

Maggie's son isn't gay. He's straight but works with (and is friends with) a lot of gay people. He's also incredibly ashamed of her actions.

No, Bil. That comment was in response to the question and comment about Anita Bryant. Her son is gay.

Sorry Rory! That's what I get for only looking at the comment in the back end where it's not threaded. It was after a comment about Maggie there.

No worries, Bil. I usually try to keep in mind that people who are getting the e-mails don't see the threads, and try to use some reference point, like a name or quote. But since that comment was posted so soon after the article was, I figured most everyone would still be seeing the comments on the site. So I didn't bother there. Sorry.

I don't know what it is about a pie in the face, but I've never been comfortable with it as a tactic of humiliation.

It happened recently with a religious leader, and no matter how vile the individual, it bothers me.

I know how awful Anita Bryant was, but when I see her cry for just a moment after the fact, it breaks my heart. And not for her, but because what she feels in that moment is humiliation for her appearance NOT for her ludicrous, hateful, and indefensible remarks.

It's because I feel that these kinds of tactics seek to humiliate an individual with no regard to their platform, and with no culpability to the audience in defending or justifying their argument. It just seeks to make the individual look or feel stupid because of how their appearance instead of because they demonstrated that their argument didn't hold water or they lost their composure or said something stupid.

I guess I disapprove of its attempt to tap into very humanistic insecurities, ones that we all feel.

If we're going to defeat our enemies, it should be by proving that they have nothing to contribute, proving that their messages are toxic, exposing their flawed reasoning and hateful attitudes, and allowing their own actions to humiliate them. To should be by making it clear beyond a doubt that their positions are indefensible. It shouldn't come at the expense of their looks, their weight, their clarity of voice, or their clothes.

This is very well said, luminum. I completely agree with your points.

I'm completely opposed to this. This is nothing more than a feel-good (for a certain segment of activists) publicity stunt, and strictly amateur hour. This accomplishes absolutely nothing, and makes the bigot look aggrieved and sympathetic. It furthers their resolve by giving them a martyr complex, and encourages their supporters to rally around them and give them money.

And then on top of it, Gallager would actually be honored and thrilled to be considered the modern day Bryant. So all in all, a really terrible idea.

Rory and Luminum: This is not meant to make a statement. Just like back in the days of vaudeville, it's meant to be funny. I, for one, think it's hilarious!

Dennis, vaudeville takes place in a theater and doesn't come with an award certificate from an activist organization. And when the subject of it is a political figure and an unwilling participant, that's called an assault. Would it be funny if a gay activist was pied by a right winger? How about pelted with eggs?

That's not how civilized discourse happens. You want people to take your political views seriously? Then you can't be pulling circus stunts. Your rights end where my nose begins. A pie in the face definitely crosses the nose barrier.

Saying that this is only meant to be funny and not a political statement is just as valid as saying a speech on the floor of the United States Senate was not intended to be a factual statement.

I was referring to the incident with Anita Bryant. It was hilarious! Do I think it should have been done to Maggie on the floor of the senate? Of course not!

Btw, having been born in '45, I'm one of those people who've been fighting for our rights all my life. So, forgive me for a giggle or 2...

I really don't "get" Maggie? I suppose on some level her objections were based on religious zealotry; but, at this point, unless she is more out of touch with reality than I give her credit for, and based upon her recent backpedaling quotes ("some gays make great parents, etc."), I really must conclude that she's now an actress, performing for the bigots who'll fund her right up until a Loving decision comes down, though even Focus on the (Str8) Family has all-but-conceded the issue. She must feel her paychecks are more important than her reprisal of an early 60's segregationist role.

I like it! I feel that although this may be somewhat of an extreme action, that it is justifiable. We know from experience that the kind vitriolic hatred and, and lies being uttered, does incite others to to just go ahead and go out and beat up a f****t, or murder a t****y! How is that comparable to a pie in the face?The only way we can begin to counter just how very terribly they are hurting us is to really begin to point out the truth. Stated very poignantly by Ms. McGehee, sometimes the truth is very painful. I hope that it begins to open some peoples eye's, and maybe even soften a few of those cold hard hearts out there!

"I hope that it begins to open some peoples eye's, and maybe even soften a few of those cold hard hearts out there!"

You don't soften hearts or open eyes with acts of disrespect and humiliation. You re-enforce and harden their hatred and reaffirm their original opinion that we aren't worthy of equal rights.

Cici, you win hearts and minds by appealing to people's humanity, and treating your opponents as you wish to be treated. This has just been proven again when the NOM employee just resigned and rescinded his opinion that gays shouldn't marry. He was won over by our activists engaging him kindly and telling him about their lives. He began relating to them empathetically as fellow human beings, resulting in not only one less anti-gay activist, but an enormous publicity coup for our side. Trust me, if he had been pied, that would have never happened.

Brad Bailey | April 16, 2011 5:06 PM

You simply cannot appeal to the humanity of some people. They become so entrenched in battle mode that they lose any ability to see their opponents as human beings. I see this over and over again, both in politics and in first-hand experience.

Is Miss Maggie among the afore-mentioned? It's not for me to say.

There's a time for appealing to one's humanity, and a time for civil disobedience. Both are valid options in my book.

Brad, if their humanity isn't accessible, then why bother engage them on a personal level at all? Certainly antagonizing them isn't going to help.

Civil disobedience is trespassing and the like where people and property aren't harmed in the furtherance of a political cause. Pieing someone is assault, and doesn't advance your movement, even if you think it's funny.

Honestly I don't think that GetEqual is even going to do it. They don't have the guts. Debating on whether it's good or bad is largely academic.

But Gallagher is going to love that certificate and will use it to fundraise off those mean, violent gays who are going after her. GetEqual, on the other hand, should maybe ask if this is the sort of thing that MLK, Gandhi, Rosa Parks, and Jesus combined (as they see themselves) would do.

The answer's no, if that's not clear.

Alex, I pretty much agree with what you said. So I'm wondering if it was wise to egg them on to do it by calling them cowards.

If it's a bad idea to do it, then courage shouldn't be a factor in deciding.

Jay Kallio | April 17, 2011 6:54 PM

Besides the pie in the face, the Anita Bryant campaign was accompanied at the time by the orange juice civil disobedience. It was a national campaign of LGBT activists expressing our objection to the climate of hate Bryant was leading in the commercial world by going into supermarkets and grocery stores and cutting open cartons of orange juice, so that carrying a product that was funding anti gay bigotry became messy and costly to store owners and OJ marketers. I still recall the satisfaction I felt going into my local chain supermarket and seeing the flood of orange juice all over the refrigerator case every day, and knowing another LGBT person had already been there to express our horror at the wretched bigotry being spewed by Anita Bryant.

Back then we had no rights, no equal protection under the law, no hate crimes legislation. We could be fired from jobs, ripped out of housing, blackmailed with impunity, and were stalked by the KKK (I was followed and harrassed by the KKK for years as a teenager, assaulted, and deliberately almost blinded by gangs of them in white sheets, throwing bricks through the windows of my family home and burning a cross on the lawn, and nothing could be done about it - nothing).

Hate speech by Bryant fueled the vicious, palpable, and very real violence against LGBT people. It was spreading, and escalating. It was becoming more and more acceptable to target us. People today cannot comprehend the all pervasive and terrifying hate we were subjected to. You weren't there to feel it's corrosive, life destroying stress and oppressiveness. The humiliation was all encompassing, and did destroy people's lives on a regular, grisly, grinding daily basis. LGBT people then were forced to hide, voiceless, and without love, because our love could destroy the ones we loved.

A pie in the face of a heinous, hateful bigot was but a tiny act of refusal to accept the vitriolic rallying of anti gay fervor she was inciting. Hate speech, unaddressed, can and does lead to violent assault, in this case against a persecuted minority who could not even explain why we were attacked, unless we wanted to lose everything - jobs, family connection, education, homes. Our community faced hate, and was legally defenseless against it. The entire social context was very different from today, and a tiny act of rebellion was the best we could muster.

You can be sympathetic to a public figure's feelings, but know that such a rallying cry of opposition to hate was extremely important back then. No one else was countering the hate by Bryant, while the hate she spewed was "normal" and in most circles considered good. There was no way to get the word out otherwise as there is today, only our wordless act of civil disobedience. No effective alternatives existed, there was nothing recognizable as an LGBT "movement", no "profo homos", no social media, only isolated individuals volunteering nationwide, taking our puny wages, insignificant lives, and screwing up our courage to oppose the ruin of our lives, perpetrated in silence and secrecy.

The Anita Bryants of the world had all the power and their hate filled the arena. We were but a tiny, defiant, self sacrificing band pitted against them, and they held every card. I still must thank those activists, willing to put their lives on the line to stand up to a burgeoning hate monger. They were the few, and far between. Most LGBT people then were oppressed, closeted, self hating, and silent. Overwhelmed by the insidious stigma, and buried in a sense of futility and shame. We have come a long way because a few people decided to stand up and fight, however desperately and with whatever tiny, imperfect tools were at hand.

Alternatives? There were none.

I was active in the orange juice wars and the Coors boycott. Both worked. Rather than waste good pastery what is the economic boycott opportunity with Maggie dearest?