The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Western Tribune column, October 21, 2009, Same-Sex Marriage

This Western Tribune column might turn some heads in Bessemer.


I keep having to remind people that we are living in 2009 and every once in a while I remember why. Earlier this month a Louisiana justice of the peace refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple. This was out of concern for any children the couple might have, the justice said.

If he were to look around in the 21st century, he would realize that a child of an interracial couple can achieve the two highest honors in the country – president of the United States and American Idol winner. Barack Obama was elected in 2008 and Jordin Sparks was voted American Idol winner in 2007.

Loving v Virginia was the civil rights case that legalized interracial marriage in 1967. But did you know that the ban on interracial marriage up to that point was based on an Alabama case, Pace v Alabama, in which the Supreme Court affirmed that Alabama’s ban on miscegenation was constitutional?

Tony Pace, a black man, and Mary Cox, a white woman were actually charged with fornication and were imprisoned because of their love.

The court at that time condemned all sexual relations between whites and blacks regardless of marital status. The court argued that it was the duty of the state to protect the institution of marriage, similar to arguments used today against same sex marriage.

Details of Tony Pace and Mary Cox have been lost to history, but we can assume they knew their actions were illegal, yet their desire for intimacy was strong enough that they ignored the law.

There is no law against intimate relations between same sex couples. Some seem to be unaware that the sodomy laws in the United States were struck down by the Supreme Court in Lawrence v Texas, in 2003.

As a result, there is no legal basis for the various bans on same sex marriage across the nation, other than the anti-marriage amendments themselves. Our own state of Alabama, sadly, passed an anti-marriage amendment in 2006, thus adding to a constitution in which a discriminatory statute must feel very comfortable.

I know several same sex couples now living in Alabama who were legally married in other states. At some point, their marriages will be recognized here.

As Lady Gaga recently said regarding equality in our country, “It is not equal if it’s sometimes.”

When equality is achieved, it will be full time.

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