Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Resistance to Gay Marriage Follows Path of Old Style Racists

Anti-gay Christofascists take huge offense - at least in public - at rightly being compared to the segregationists of the 1950's and 1960's (and beyond) in the manner in which they (i) use cherry picked Bible passages to justify hate and discrimination against others and (ii) are refusing to recognize the legitimacy of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges last month.  Frankly, if you engage in the same type of behavior and use the same tired religious claims to justify bigotry, then the comparison is valid.  A piece at ABC News lays out the continued parallels between Christofascists opposition to interracial marriage and same sex marriage.  Here are highlights:
Legal experts suggest that history might hint at how the coming months will unfold, as a handful of defiant clerks across the South and Midwest refuse to abide by the Supreme Court's ruling last month that legalized gay marriage.

The first test is set to begin Monday in a Kentucky courtroom. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, who cited her Christian faith on June 30 as she refused to issue marriage licenses to any couple, gay or straight. Other county clerks rallied around her, demanding the government protect Christians from having to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The aftermath of the Supreme Court's 1967 ruling Loving v. Virginia played out in similar ways, according to Sam Marcosson, a constitutional law professor at the University of Louisville. Now, once again, scattered patches of resistance will force the courts to intervene.

In 1967, Liane Peters and James Van Hook, turned to the NAACP, which sued the county and won. The couple received a license the following year.

They are still married, 47 years later. Van Hook is 82 and his wife is 76. They have two sons and three grandkids, she said. They still live in a little house with a big yard and garden they bought soon after their wedding.

Interracial couples across the South also had to sue, said Peter Wallenstein, a history professor at Virginia Tech who wrote a book called "Tell the Court I Love my Wife" about race and marriage in the United States. The legal battles dragged on for years.

In 1970, three years after the Supreme Court's decision, an Alabama judge denied a marriage license to a white soldier stationed at Fort McClellan and his African-American fiancee, Wallenstein wrote. The federal government sued to force the county to comply.

The question is how long they can stall and make mischief," said Kenneth D. Upton, senior counsel for Lambda Legal, a law office that specializes in LGBT issues.

Some take offense at the comparison between interracial marriages five decades ago and the religious objections to same-sex marriage that clerks are raising today.

Others scoff at the thought of letting elected officials decline to do part of their job. Marcosson compared the situation to the Catholic Church's refusal to marry people who have been through a divorce. The church and its followers have the religious freedom to decline to recognize those marriages. But a Catholic clerk in public office has no right to deny a civil marriage license to someone who has been divorced, he said.

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