Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Why Taking Down the Confederate Falg is Important to LGBT's

Some might question why the current debates and arguments over the flying of of the Confederate flag in South Carolina and elsewhere has any bearing on LGBT rights.  But it doesn't take much examination to discern that those who support the state sponsored display of the Confederate flag are (i) largely one and the same people who supports same sex marriage bans and opposition to LGBT rights, and (ii) using the same arguments of "tradition" and state rights to justify hate and discrimination and the undermining of the U.S. Constitution.    Scratch the surface of the leadership of Family Research Council, The Family Foundation here in Virginia, and many other "family values" and "Christian" political action groups and you quickly find former segregationists and white supremacists.  A post in Huffington Post makes this case.  Here are highlights:
The Civil War wasn't about slavery. That's what I was told by teachers, family, friends, churchgoers and casual motorists at gas stations throughout my childhood in rural Alabama. Black and white had nothing to do with it, they said. States' rights, they would all echo. States' rights, yes, now that was the real reason--usually punctuating that last bit by spitting out a wad of chewing tobacco.

When you are white in the South, what you learn about the Confederate flag--which gets slapped on everything from pickup trucks to cakes to state houses--is that it is a flag of honorable defense against a tyrannical invader. It is meant to invoke a feeling of legacy for our ancestors who died in some great struggle for their definition of liberty.

[T]he survival of states' rights rhetoric in today's contemporary political landscape. During the oral arguments of Obergefell v. Hodges, both the counsellors and justices seemed as easily distracted as mayflies--hopping from one sour line of questioning to the next. However, one telling quote did stand out, from U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr.:
"You may have many states, perhaps most states, in which gay couples can live with equal dignity and status," he said, "but you will have a minority of states in which gay couples will be relegated to demeaning, second-class status, and I don't know why we would want to repeat that history."
Those states that believe in enforcing marriage as a procreation-centered union and that assert their right to deny recognition to those who marry outside their lines are ever so slightly retracing the same lines that divided this country between free and slave states more than a hundred years ago--which took the country's deadliest war in its history to erase. 

White LGBTs can never fully know the painful past the Confederate flag holds for our brothers and sisters of color. However, we do know how the rhetoric it represents threatens our future. We are one country, with one flag, and we live by one promise: liberty and justice for all. The call to take down the flag is our call, too. Not just as supporters of the black community, but as members of our own community. A handful of states say they have the right to dictate our lives, our families and our happiness because they still believe in the awful patchwork of states' rights arguments that nearly brought our nation to the brink. Taking down that tattered flag is a symbol that LGBTs stand with the black community, and as importantly, stand for themselves as citizens of this Union.

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