Is Maggie Gallagher divorced? Or maybe she was never really married? That's what Fred Karger asked in an open letter blasted Thursday to his list of media contacts and email newsletter subscribers.
Gallagher, the founder of the National Organization for Marriage, responded to the accusations in an email conversation with The Advocate.
"To the best of my knowledge — and I think I would know better than Fred — I am not getting divorced any time soon," she told The Advocate.
Gallagher, whose first son was born in 1982, says it's a matter of public record that she married Raman Srivistav in 1993, and they had a son in 1995. The family lives together in a suburb of Washington, D.C.
One of Karger's main suspicions about the reality of Gallagher's marriage, he wrote, is that Gallagher doesn't wear a wedding ring.
"According to WikiAnswers, only 9.3% of American women don’t wear a wedding ring; a pretty small number," Karger wrote. "Certainly this national champion of marriage whose twitter name is @MaggieMarriage would wear a wedding ring if she was really married."
Gallagher confirmed she doesn't wear one and said it's merely because "a few years ago, I developed arthritis-like conditions in my knuckles" and "the ring seemed to make the joints worse."
Karger, the gay, long-shot Republican presidential candidate, was on a high after court documents from a complaint he pressed against NOM in Maine had triggered a spate of embarrassing headlines for the group, including an editorial from The New York Times condemning the race-baiting strategy NOM pursued to help drive a "wedge" between LGBT people and blacks and Latinos.
While Gallagher never corroborates any of Karger's charges, from the group allegedly funneling money in Maine to hide its donors' identities to it being financially brought to life by the Mormon church, she's especially bothered by any claim that she isn't married.
Karger sees the veracity of Gallagher's marriage as relevant to her credibility as an opponent of marriage equality, calling her a "bigocrite" — "a person who is both a bigot and a hypocrite." But Gallagher says a person's marriage has nothing to do with it.
"In my view people who are divorced, or never married, or in bad marriages, or unwed mothers are all entitled to do what I do: fight for the vision of marriage they think is right for the whole country," Gallagher said.
Karger was unswayed by Gallagher's explanation for the wedding ring, her confirmation that she does live in Washington with her husband — which Karger had questioned — and the fact that they have a son. Karger still wants Gallagher to show a marriage certificate.
"No one has ever seen Maggie with Raman," he wrote in the original email, pointing out that NOM president Brian Brown is often pictured with his wife. "Wonder if they really did get married? If so, maybe so he could get a green card?"
Karger's request for a marriage certificate as proof might have echoes of birthers asking President Obama for his long-form birth certificate. But Karger says there's one important difference.
"I trust President Obama. I don't trust Maggie Gallagher as far as I can throw her," he told The Advocate. "Once those NOM documents came out and they show how truly evil NOM is, the gloves are off as far as I am concerned. They started this war on LGBT Americans four years ago, and I will not rest until we turn the tables on the leaders and board of the National Organization for Marriage. If Maggie and Brian want to disparage our community, then turnabout is fair play."