Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Boston Globe Column: Opposition to Marriage Equality = Support for Jim Crow Laws

Brian Brown - professional hate merchant
If one knows accurate history - which sadly far too many black pastors seemingly do not - one will immediately see the parallels between those who oppose marriage equality for same sex couples and those who opposed desegregation in the 1950's and 1960's (indeed, some of those opponents STILL oppose desegregation).  Worse yet, if one knows the antecedents of today's "family values" organizations, many track directly back to some of the movements that were most vociferous in their opposition to desegregation and who often cited the Bible as justification for their deeply held hate and bigotry.  One need look no farther than FRC president Tony Perkins who has a documented history of supporting white supremacist organizations. These people were and are on the wrong side of history.  A column in the Boston Globe looks at these modern day descendants of segregationist who are yet again on the wrong side of history.  Here are some column highlights:

Americans will rally in Washington, D.C., at a March for Marriage on Thursday in support of “the simple and beautiful message,” to quote Brian Brown, that “marriage between one man and one woman is unique and critical for our society.” Brown is president of the National Organization for Marriage, the event’s lead sponsor.

Don’t he and his supporters know that they’re on the Wrong Side of History?

These days, of course, anyone who publicly opposes same-sex marriage can expect to be scorned in many quarters as a bigot or reviled as an ignoramus. No Democrat with serious political ambitions would dare to agree with Brown’s traditional point of view. In some places the same is increasingly true of Republicans.

Yet until about 10 minutes ago, in historical terms, the traditional understanding of marriage as the complementary union of male and female was anything but controversial. Brown’s “simple and beautiful message,” now seen as so threatened that it needs to be defended at Washington rallies, was about as mainstream a position as there was in American life.

 Same-sex marriage has gone from all-but-unthinkable to all-but-unstoppable. So what do those marchers in Washington think they’re going to accomplish? Don’t they have better things to do with their lives than fight for a cause that, if not yet entirely lost, is surely down for the count? Why don’t they wake up and smell the historical inevitability?

Then again, much the same could have been said a century ago to those who insisted — in the depths of Jim Crow — that the cause of civil rights and racial fairness was worth fighting for. They too must have heard with regularity that they were on the “wrong side of history.” The promise of Reconstruction was long gone. In much of the country, black enfranchisement was a dead letter. The Supreme Court had ruled 7-1 in Plessy v. Ferguson that racial segregation — “separate but equal” — was constitutional.

History is littered with causes and beliefs that were thought at one point to be historically unstoppable, from the divine right of kings to worldwide Marxist revolution. In the relative blink of an eye, same-sex marriage has made extraordinary political and psychological gains. It is on a roll, winning hearts and minds as well as court cases. No wonder it seems to so many that history’s verdict is in, and same-sex marriage is here to stay.

I first moved to Virginia shortly after the ruling in Loving v. Virginia and, coming from New York State, was shocked to see separate restroom facilities for blacks and whites even in courthouses (somehow the whites always happened to have the far nicer facilities) and there were (and are) some who proclaimed segregation now, segregation forever.  History does not look kindly on such people and I am convinced that the anti-gay animus filled "family values" organizations of today will be equated with the KKK by future generations.  I can only wonder what the grandchildren of Tony Perkins and Maggie Gallagher, et al, will think of their ancestors.  I suspect that many will slink and hide and pretend they do not know who the hate merchants in their lineage even were.  I can't say that I would blame them.

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