Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Judge Carlton Reeves on Parallel Between Mississippi White Christians' Rejection of Black Civil Rights in 1960s and Rejection of LGBTQ Rights Today

Claude Summers notes that, as he knocked down Mississippi's "religious freedom" law, Judge Carlton Reeves drew the obvious historical parallel between the religiously fueled attack of many Mississippi Christians on LGBTQ rights today, and how many (white) Mississippi Christians used religion to attack the Civil Rights movement in the 20th century:

Just as conservative Christians today moan that the Supreme Court ruling granting same-sex couples the right to marry somehow violates their freedom of religion, so segregationists denounced what they called the "civil wrongs bill," casting themselves as victims and complaining that their rights were infringed by having to dine with Blacks in restaurants, attend school with them, and share other public facilities — like libraries and swimming pools — from which they had previously been excluded. . . . 
What distinguished Judge Reeves' decision from others that reached similar conclusions following Windsor was his unflinching approach to Mississippi's long, sad history of homophobia. The decision narrates a sorry story of discrimination and contempt for gay and lesbian citizens in the state. 
He notes in particular how Bayard Rustin and other prominent gay civil rights activists faced harassment because of their sexual orientation, and how gay men and lesbians were mistreated by white and Black Mississipians alike.

The photo of Judge Carlton Reeves is from Wikimedia Commons, and was uploaded by its author, HighlighterYellowFive, with a Creative Commons license to share it online. 

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