Monday, May 19, 2014

Catholic extremists are driving the African-American wedge

A cadre of ultra-conservative Catholics has intentionally spawned irrational hatred of gays in the black community.


Many of you saw this video last week. A crazed pastor is screaming, to raucous applause, “you are my enemy.” This gratuitous vitriol is the result of a carefully crafted strategy. It started with William B. May, president of Catholics for the Common Good. It was explicated by National Organization for Marriage and it is being carried out by the Thomas More Law Center which was created by Tom Monaghan. It is the continuing effort to drive a wedge between the Black and gay communities in order to stall or prevent marriage equality.

Below is an amicus brief that seems to have been written to influence the “friends of the court” filers more than the court itself. The premise of this brief is that, by citing Loving v. Virginia in filings to advance marriage equality, we are comparing gay rights to the struggle of African-Americans to desegregate the South and that doing so is disgraceful:
Comparing the dilemmas of same-sex couples to the centuries of discrimination faced by Black Americans is a distortion of our country’s cultural and legal history.

The disgraces and unspeakable privations in our nation’s history pertaining to the civil rights of Black Americans are unmatched. No other class of individuals, including individuals who are same-sex attracted, have ever been enslaved, or lawfully viewed not as human, but as property. See, e.g., StacySwimp [link to GLAAD-CAP profile added], LGBT Comparison of Marriage Redefinition to Historical Black Civil Rights Struggles is Dishonest and Manufactured.
This is complete – intellectually dishonest – rubbish. The lawyers for the Thomas More Law Center (as well as two defenders of the faith who are on the faculty of (fourth tier) Cooley Law School in Michigan) know better.

These Pastors should reserve opprobrium for Justice Kennedy who cited Loving in his opinion in United States v. Windsor as an example of what states cannot do in the regulating marriage. Justice Kennedy has obliged us to make the comparison. Do these pastors expect us to simply surrender what we believe is a constitutional right? And they do so because we are citing a case that Justice Kennedy requires us to compare to if we are to ultimately be successful.

I am reminded of another Michigan case; Snyder v. Phelps. Fred Phelps' lawyers cited Hustler Magazine v. Falwell. Hustler probably cited Brandenburg v. Ohio. Clarence Brandenburg was a Klu Klux Klan leader. First Amendment cases often cite Yates v. United States and Whitney v. California. Both of those confirm the free speech rights of communists.

The point here is that citing a case as precedent in no way endorses or co-opts the agenda of the winning side. It seems safe to assume that Fred Phelps had no use for Hustler Magazine other than the cite. Jerry Falwell was the loser in that contest.

These pastors probably opposed marriage equality before they were stirred up. Due to their religious beliefs they can never accept same-sex marriage. However the disproportionate fury is unnecessary. The fact that Loving was an African-American civil rights case is irrelevant. What is relevant is the fact that the Supreme Court determined that marriage to the person of one's choosing is a fundamental right.

In no way whatsoever does citing Loving make comparisons of gay rights to Black rights. It is reasonable to assume that Mr. Brandendburg, a Klansman did not endorse the agenda of Anita Whitney, a communist organizer. Nor did Brandenburg make any comparison to Whitney other than the legal principle. That is precisely what we have done with cites to Loving. The entire premise of Thomas More's argument is unsupportable.
There is plenty of material in this brief that is homophobic, bigoted and irrational. Its offensiveness is demonstrated by the premise that we are trying to wreck marriage and ruin the lives of children for our disordered pleasures. It is the same crap that they have been peddling since the Prop 8 case. While it will probably be dismissed by the Court of Appeals, the Catholic extremists behind this enterprise can say “mission accomplished!” What is equally offensive is the obvious and obnoxious race baiting. Some of these ministers should have realized that they were being played.
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