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Gay Marriage vs. Interracial Marriage: Why is One a Threat & Other a Right?

Arguments Against Gay Marriage are same as Against Interracial Marriage

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Gay Marriage vs. Interracial Marriage: Why is One a Threat & Other a Right?

Gay Marriage vs. Interracial Marriage: Why is One a Threat & Other a Right? Arguments Against Gay Marriage are same as Against Interracial Marriage

Photo © Bonnie Cline, 2008. Used with Permission

A lot of people oppose the legalization of gay marriages because they believe that it poses a serious threat to the institution of marriage itself. What is most disturbing about this position, and what should be disturbing for them as well, is just how similar their arguments are to the ones which were used to oppose interracial marriages and to support anti-miscegenation laws. Both sets of arguments also tend to be religious. What really separates them from the racists of the past?

Opponents of gay marriage and equality for gays always deny that there is any sort of parallel between their position and the racism of America’s recent history. The simple truth is, though, that we see the same dubious arguments about alleged harm to children, the unnaturalness of the unions, the importance of tradition, and the need to avoid social strife which racists used to use against gay marriage and even against desegregation. Given just how different being gay is from having black skin, we have to take seriously the possibility that such arguments are more about some underlying social and cultural fear of the bigots themselves and the minority being targeted is more a target of opportunity.

It’s especially sad to see black Christians using these arguments. First, it reveals extreme and inexcusable historical ignorance because they have no idea the degree to which they are parroting arguments once used by White Supremacists against their parents and grandparents. Second, it reveals quite a bit of religious ignorance because they don’t recognize the degree to which the arguments of White Supremacists were just as religious in nature as their own arguments against gay marriage. This is why both racial and gay liberation have depended on religious criticism: so long as religion provides the structure and ideology behind oppression, freedom for the oppressed requires undermining support for that religion.

How easy would it be for black Christians to remain devoted to Christianity if they had to face, directly and without excuses, the culpability of Christianity for the oppression of their ancestors? It might in fact be very difficult, which could be a reason why the extent of the sincere religiosity among white Christians who have oppressed blacks and used religion to justify that oppression isn't exactly a common or popular topic for pastors in black churches. Talking too much about that might reveal the weaknesses and flaws in their own theology.

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