Marin Foundation cancels Chicago Gallagher/Corvino marriage talk amid threats
Community controversy boils over
Pigs really can’t fly.
To the shock and dismay of many in the local LGBT community, Maggie Gallagher, the infamous anti-gay activist and former head of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), was set to join gay advocate and writer John Corvino for a discussion on marriage equality next month in Chicago. But now, organizers at The Marin Foundation say they’ve called off the event after receiving threats.
The decision to cancel comes as a “deep disappointment,” according to Marin President and Founder Andrew Marin.
“There were multiple threats to destroy the property of the planned venues, as well as threats of significant disruptions to Corvino and Gallagher during the event,” Marin said in a statement. “Each of these threats were taken very seriously by all parties, including the Chicago Police Department.”
Just over a week ago, the Marin Foundation said it was seeking a new venue for the July 23 event in response to intense community outrage over plans to host Gallagher at Roscoe’s Tavern, 3356 N. Halsted St., in the Boystown LGBT entertainment enclave.
The event, as part of Marin’s Living in the Tension speaker series, was meant to encouraged respectful dialogue between groups that happen to be at odds on significant social matters affecting the LGBT community, namely Gallagher and Corvino. The two co-authored a book on the national war over same-sex marriage, Debating Same-Sex Marriage.
“The goal of our event was to set forth a bridge building path of dialogue with Corvino, a gay philosophy professor in a committed same-sex relationship, and Gallagher, conservative columnist, founder of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, and co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage, on their unique friendship that crosses a multitude of ethical, ideological, political and religious divides,” Marin said in response to the criticism and threats.
“It is regrettable that the climate instigated by a few will hinder dialogue concerning building bridges between opposing worldviews — specifically surrounding gay marriage, family, friendship and love,” he said. “We look forward to the opportunity to host this needed event in the future.”
Corvino, when interviewed by Chicago Phoenix, made it clear the event was not meant to be a debate, but merely a discussion of opinions from the opposing sides and made his case for holding such a discussion.
Following the cancellation, Marin’s next Living in the Tension event will feature actor and activist Peterson Toscano and his one person play: Transfigurations: Transgressing Gender in the Bible at 7 p.m. July 1 in the Center on Halsted’s Hoover-Leppin Theater, 3656 N. Halsted St.