July 20, 2011 at 3:54 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Gallagher: Grassley ‘not referring to me’ in DOMA hearing

A prominent voice in the movement against same-sex marriage maintains a Republican senator wasn’t referring to her Wednesday in comments about an absent witness who was invited to testify before the Senate in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act.

Maggie Gallagher, chair of the National Organization for Marriage, said Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) wasn’t alluding to her when he mentioned a potential witness who was invited to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of DOMA, but chose not to come out of fear of reprisal.

“He certainly was not referring to me,” Gallagher said via e-mail to the Washington Blade. “I was not asked this time, and certainly am not refusing Senate or public appearances.”

Gallagher has testified several times before Congress in opposition to same-sex marriage. Most recently, she testified in April before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution in a hearing titled, “Defending Marriage.”

Sen. Charles Grassley (Blade photo by Michael Key)

In his opening remarks, Grassley said Republicans wanted to invite a witness to testify on behalf of DOMA to counter the arguments of pro-LGBT witnesses. However, Grassley said the witness, whom the senator identified as a “she,” decided not to come because she feared pro-LGBT forces would retaliate against her.

“The minority very much hoped to call a witness today at this hearing to testify in support of DOMA, I’m sure she would have done an excellent job,” Grassley said. “She declined, however, citing one reason the threats and intimidation that have been leveled not only her but her friends and family as a result of her support of DOMA. She will continue to write on the issue but will no longer speak publicly.”

In a blog posting, Think Progress speculated that the potential witness “could very well be the National Organization for Marriage’s (NOM) Maggie Gallagher, who was noticeably absent from the GOP’s witness list.”

Beth Levine, a Grassley spokesperson, said the office isn’t “identifying the woman cited in Sen. Grassley’s statement this morning.”

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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