Sunday Editorial on Editorials – Interracial & gay marriage compared

‘Time to end all forms of discrimination’

Sometimes when I hear arguments against gay marriage I just have to laugh. The logic used by many opponents is so flawed if the situation wasn’t so serious you’d have to chuckle. A favorite of mine is that if we allow homosexuals to marry the western world would collapse in a pagan firestorm. Ok I’m exaggerating that last part a little bit for dramatic effect.

It’s easy to forget, especially for those of us too young to remember, that people used that same biblical argument for other things not so long ago. A writer in the Kennebec Journal highlighted that in a letter to the editor this morning.

from Kennebec Journal

Many years ago, I picked up a few extra dollars working evenings at a major grocery chain in affluent McLean, Va. I worked with a young veteran who was friendly but reluctant to discuss his personal life. Jimmy did share that he could not get married which seemed strange to me at the time.

As he became more comfortable with me, Jimmy said he lived with a partner and was very much in love but that state laws would not allow him to marry. I was puzzled and he explained that people felt that it was not allowed according to the Bible and if allowed it would undermine all legitimate marriages.

Jimmy had to keep his relationship secret and was careful not to let anyone know where he lived because there had been threats.

This was how someone was being treated after serving his country for three years, helping to ensure freedom and equality for all citizens. It didn’t seem right then and it doesn’t seem right now.

I should explain that neither Jimmy nor his partner was gay. Jimmy was a black male and his partner was a white female, but the same old tired reasons that were used then to prevent marriage between different races are being used today to prevent same-gender marriage. Now is the time to end all forms of discrimination.

The US government maintained a ban on interracial marriage until 1967. The Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court Case ended all race based legal restrictions against marriage. According to 2006 census estimates 2,293,000 people in the were married to someone of a different race. I’m sitting here writing this to you, my electricity is still on, wild hounds are not patrolling my backyard, and Mad Maxish bands are not accosting challenging me to the Thunderdome. Races have been allowed to intermarry for 30 plus years and the apocalypse has not come yet. I think it’s safe to say that when it does interracial marriage will not be a catalyst.

Gay marriage rights have been linked to the Loving case before. The New York Supreme Court stated that racial civil rights and homosexual civil rights cannot be linked because their histories are so different. The case stated we had only recently begun to think of GLBT people as deserving equal rights. Where they state that racial rights had been seen as necessary in the 50s, the movement which began in the late 60s was far to recent to act upon.

Mildred Loving made few public statements during her lifetime. “We loved each other and got married. We are not marrying the state.” is a great of hers given a few years before the Supreme Court’s decision. Mrs. Loving reminded us shortly before she died why interracial marriage rights and gay marriage rights are inextricably linked.

My generation was bitterly divided over something that should have been so clear and right. The majority believed that what the judge said, that it was God’s plan to keep people apart, and that government should discriminate against people in love. But I have lived long enough now to see big changes. The older generation’s fears and prejudices have given way, and today’s young people realize that if someone loves someone, they have a right to marry.

Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the ‘wrong kind of person’ for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people’s civil rights.

I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight, seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.

5 Responses

  1. A good op-ed is in the Bangor Weekend Edition yesterday: It would be good anyway, but I admit to just a bit of bias – Kate is my daughter; Erica my daughter-in-law.

  2. I’m not really “Anonymous”, but the program posted too quickly! I’m Nancy Hudak, New Sweden, ME.

  3. funny, but i don’t see a comparison here between gay marriage and interracial marriage. i see an allusion to interracial marriage but no comparison. using history as an emotional base to try to make an argument is unconvincing at best. this is all hyperbole and pointless blogging but i guess that is the case for most bloggers who think that they actually have something to say.

  4. I find it telling that people used to say the bible forbid racial mixing and used that as a basis for anti-misogyny laws. Well look how that argument fell by the wayside.

    It is the same thing with gay marriage. People use the bible argument, but in time that too will fall away.

    I was merely linking those two aspects. As a student of history, I have a large understanding of all of the other forces behind the civil rights movement and all the struggles that came with that since before this nation was even founded.

    Again they are both very different in their histories, but that doesn’t mean certain aspects of each struggle aren’t closely related. If that is hyperbole and pointless to you then quit wasting your time reading and commenting on it Ed

  5. Nancy – Your daughter and her partner wrote a really good article. It highlights how ridiculous it is for them to not be recognized as married here in Maine. That live-and-let-live attitude should extend to everyone.

    Also its easy to forget that this issue hits real loving couples. The gay marriage issue is attached to so many Mainers who deserve the same treatment as anyone else.

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