I was born in Kentucky.
At the time of my birth, in 1967, it was illegal in Kentucky, and throughout the south, for black people to marry white people.
Miscegenation laws, some of them more than 150 years old, prohibited some people from having equal access to the legal privileges of marriage that others enjoyed.
Those laws were struck down June 12, 1967, with the Supreme Court decision of Loving v. Virginia. (A movie about the Loving’s story is currently being filmed in Virginia. It will be released next year.)
As recently as 2009, a Justice of the Peace in Louisiana refused to marry an interracial couple.
The opposition was vocal. Gov. Bobby Jindal said
“the state judiciary committee should review the incident in which Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace for Tangipahoa Parish’s 8th Ward, refused to issue a marriage license to Beth Humphrey, 30, and her boyfriend, Terence McKay, 32, both of Hammond.
“This is a clear violation of constitutional rights and federal and state law. … Disciplinary action should be taken immediately — including the revoking of his license,” the Republican governor said.
In a sickeningly twisted irony, or perhaps simply twisted morality, today Gov. Jindal opposes same sex marriage and supports a Constitutional amendment banning it.
The Supreme Court says discrimination is wrong, year after year. And year after year people still demand the right to discriminate, whether it’s against blacks, or women, or gays.
Kentucky’s Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis refuses to do her job and issue marriage licenses because she thinks she’s taking a stand for her religious beliefs.
“Kim Davis is resolute in vindicating her rights,” said her attorney, Roger Gannam, senior litigation counsel at Liberty Counsel, a religious advocacy group. “Fundamentally, we disagree with this order because the government should never be able to compel a person to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs.”
But religious freedom is like every other freedom – your freedom ends where someone else’s freedom begins.
The freedom she thinks she’s protecting isn’t her freedom to express her religion, she’s free to do that anywhere but in her public office. The freedom she’s protecting is her freedom to discriminate.
There is no difference between discriminating against a black man and a gay man – It’s still discrimination.
If your religion calls for you to discriminate, and evidently Kim Davis’ understanding of Christianity means she needs to discriminate, then your religion isn’t a religion, it’s a dogma.
Kim Davis may sincerely think she’s doing what her faith demands as she discriminates in her public office. But her version of Christianity is as though she’s looking at a photo of a turkey hotdog, and thinking she’s eating Thanksgiving dinner.
She may think she’s behaving like a Christian, but in reality, she’s worshiping a dogma and calling it God.