The opponents of interracial marriage must be kicking themselves. If they’d been as ruthlessly creative as today’s anti-gay movement, they could have denied “mixed” couples services and legitimacy for decades.
Acceptance of same-sex marriage has reached new highs in recent polls, with 59 percent in favor of marriage equality in a recent poll. But the idea that people should be able to discriminate against people for deeply held religious views is just as popular with 57 percent agreeing that people “should be allowed to refuse service if they have an objection rooted in their religion.”
Religious discrimination based on “deeply held beliefs” is now so mainstream that Jeb Bush — who is portraying himself as gay friendly even after hiring an aide who works to criminalize homosexuality around the globe — said “people have a right” to deny gay people services.
In 1967, when Loving v. Virginia ended all bans on interracial marriage, about 20 percent of America supported the decision. Interracial marriage didn’t reach anything close to the acceptance same-sex marriage has now until the mid-1990s, almost 20 years after the Supreme Court’s decision. Imagine how many couples could had been made miserable if bigots were able to see that they were being denied the “religious freedom” to discriminate.
But it’s not too late for opponents of interracial marriage to capitalize on anti-gay ingenuity.
Is there Biblical evidence for opposing interracial marriage?
Sure, there’s about five verses that can work.That’s two less verses than the seven verses opponents of same-sex marriage generally rely on to make the case against denying the freedom to marry to gays. (Compare that to the more than 100 verses permitting and regulating slavery.)
Michigan has over 14,000 kids in foster care. But sensing that same-sex marriage is coming fast, our states Republicans have acted quickly to make sure those kids won’t end up in loving gay homes, despite language in our state constitution that should make this kind of discrimination illegal.
Could this same law be used to deny adoptions to people who oppose interracial couples? Don’t think they exist?
“I’m not a racist. I just don’t believe in mixing the races that way,” Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish told the Associated Press on 2006, after he’d refused to officiate an officiate an interracial marriage. “I have piles and piles of black friends. They come to my home, I marry them, they use my bathroom. I treat them just like everyone else.”
See. He has “piles and piles” of black friends. It’s just about doing what’s right and why should he and 13 percent or so of America still opposed to interracial marriage be denied their right to practice their beliefs?
Republicans will argue this is offensive because LGBTQ people earn their discrimination by “choosing their lifestyle.” As Dan Savage points out, this fallacious argument inherently suggests that religious people do not deserve civil rights protections. Not only have they chosen to be religious, they also to get to pick which aspects of the religion they want to emphasize — since many Christian faiths have accepted same-sex marriage.
What’s really going on is that discrimination against gay people is still acceptable even as the arguments against same-sex marriage have all been decimated. While it’s unacceptable in most Applebee’s to suggest that you’re offended by interracial couples, antipathy for LGBTQ couples and their desire to serve wedding cakes and give orphans homes is still pretty widely accepted.
So it’s time to start asking Republicans if it’s okay to discriminate against interracial couples for deeply held religious beliefs. Then, perhaps, they’ll see that implicating religion in their personal prejudices — which are fading faster every day — isn’t a wise long-term strategy.
[Photo by Jose Antonio Navas | Flickr]