Today was an historic day for marriage equality. And, yes, I mean that in the worst possible way. It was a sobering day for those who believed the ladder of justice, once put in place, moves ever upward. It can and does sometimes move downward. Like today. But the fight goes on. So fuck ’em.
A friend reminded me just how precarious rights can be with this excruciating and graphic time line of the African-American slog toward social justice. I thought it worth reprinting:
1809 – New York recognizes black marriages
1810 – US bans blacks as mail carriers
1818 – Connecticut disenfranchises blacks
1821 — New York maintains property qualifications for AA male voters while abolishing the same for white male voters.
1821 – Missouri disfranchises free black male voters.
1822 – Rhode Island disfranchises black voters.
1827 – New York & Tennessee ban slavery
1829 — More than half of Cincinnati’s African American residents are driven out of the city by white mob violence.
1831 — North Carolina enacts a statute that bans teaching slaves to read and write.
1831 – Alabama makes it illegal for enslaved or free blacks to preach.
1838 — Pennsylvania disfranchises black voters.
1847 – Missouri bans the education of free blacks.
1851 — Sojourner Truth delivers her famous “Aren’t I a Woman” speech at Women’s Rights Convention in Ohio
1855 — Massachusetts Legislature outlaws racially segregated schools.
1857 – Dred Scott case: congress cannot ban slavery, and slaves are not citizens
1858 — Arkansas enslaves free blacks who refuse to leave the state.
1864 – Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler of Boston is the first African American woman to earn a medical degree
1865 — Lincoln signs the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution outlawing slavery throughout the United States.
1865 – Ku Klux Klan is formed in Pulaski, Tennessee
1872 — Charlotte Ray of Washington, D.C. becomes the first African American woman to practice law.
1877 — The Compromise of 1877 effectively ends Reconstruction. Although Democratic Presidential candidate Samuel Tilden won the popular vote, Southern Democratic leaders agree to support Rutherford Hayes’s efforts to obtain the disputed electoral votes of Florida, Louisiana and South Carolina in exchange for the withdrawal of the last federal troops from the South and the end of federal efforts to protect the civil rights of African Americans.
1889 — Florida becomes the first state to use the poll tax to disenfranchise black voters.
1896 — Plessey v. Ferguson – Supreme Court rules that Southern segregation laws and practices (Jim Crow) do not conflict with the 13th and 14th Amendments. The Court defends its ruling by articulating the “separate but equal” doctrine.
1898 — In January the Louisiana Legislature introduces the “Grandfather Clause” into the state’s constitution. Only males whose fathers or grandfathers were qualified to vote on January 1, 1867, are automatically registered. Others (African Americans) must comply with educational or property requirements.
1913 – President Wilson initiates racial segregation of work places, rest rooms and lunch rooms in all federal offices across the nation.
1942 – U.S. Marine Corps accepts African American men for the first time.
1948 – California Supreme Court voids the law banning interracial marriages in the state
1955 – Rosa Parks refuses to relinquish her bus seat to a white man
1962 – James Meredith becomes the first black student to enroll at the University of Mississippi.
1965 — Malcolm X is assassinated
1966 – James Meredith is shot by a sniper.
1967 – Thurgood Marshall takes his seat as the first African American Justice on the United States Supreme Court
1968 – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee
1968 – Shirley Chisholm of New York is the first black woman elected to the U.S. Congress.
read the whole timeline here:
Today, a cowardly and craven California Supreme Court signed over a human right, the right to marry whom one chooses, of perhaps a tenth of its citizens, in exchange for a few more years warming the judicial bench. The California Supremes,threatened with recall by the evil Church machine if they didn’t knuckle under to their goofy god-smacked homosexual fixation, naturally put on their own oxygen masks first. The religious zealots, for whom California marriage equality was ground zero for the nuclear family, plan statewide celebrations. They’ll have to fight some party-pooping gayrrillas along the way.
The Supreme Court has set forth the masquerade that what was really at issue in the Proposition H8te anti-marriage amendment was the right of Californians to change their state constitution willy nilly. Capriciously stripping a minority of rights whenever a plurality can be mustered by money and media was a secondary consideration. I’m so glad the attack on rights was willy nilly.
So now, let’s turn our Terminator-like gaze upon the other scoundrel in the piece: Barack Obamanation. Let’s face it, there was folly in the gay community’s insupportable Obamadoration; believing Dear Leader’s gym-pumped physique in a designer suit spelled A Glorious Future for all his fans. Why should gays and lesbians be exempt from Obama’s perfidious backsliding on all things constitutional?
The signs were there as big as billboards but were (mostly) ignored. Obama was the featured attraction at every one:
Donnie McClurkin’s self-loathing and homo-hating gospel hour
The Rick Warren pow-wow and hoopla
The pre-Inaugural snub of Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson
The scads of LGBT campaign money that bought them a seat under the bus
The trainloads of cash and valuables dumped on the cockeyed clergy to buy their support
Call that prick over at NoChange. gov and ask for your money back. And then get ready to fight dirty in 2010.
A h/t to Darragh Murphy at pumapac.org for this lovely analysis of what should have been:
The beauty of the Constitution of the United States is not that it holds our nation to a lofty ideal of 18th Century mores and the values of a few dozen white Colonial planters. The genius of the Constitution is that it is so quietly RADICAL. Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin surely never knew the circle of United States citizenship would expand wide enough to encompass non-white men and all women.. (and LBGT) ..and we will never know if they would have written it differently if they HAD known that someday white men would be a minority of the population. But they did not write it differently.