The Wrong Side of History

“Just because I believe that states should have the right to define marriage in a traditional way does not make me a bigot.” – Marco Rubio

Sen. Marco "Wrong Side" Rubio
Sen. Marco “Wrong Side” Rubio

Yes, actually, it does. Bigotry is not intentional hatefulness. A bigot is “a person who is intolerant of any ideas other than his or her own, esp. on religion, politics, or race.”

Bigot. “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” – Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride

“Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay, and red, and placed them on separate continents, and but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend the races to mix.” – Virginia Judge Leon Bazile, 1965

I am always stunned by ambitious politicians’ willingness to be on the wrong side of history. As has been done in the past, they invoke the hand of God to do their bidding. The problems with these types of arguments are two-fold. First, I doubt most of these people have read their religious doctrines from start to finish. If they had, I think they would discover, as Inigo Montoya suggested, it does not mean what they think it means.

For instance, the Bible. Leviticus 18 says that homosexuality is wrong. It does, I’ve read it (and the rest of the Old Testament). It also says that it is ungodly for slave to be disobedient. I cannot marry a man, according to the tome, but I can buy him, and give him to my sister as a gift. So … I’m not feeling the relevance of this as a guide to 21st Century sociology.

True, Saint Paul echoed this in his New Testament writings, but he also wrote that sex between a husband and wife should be equally avoided. Paul believed no one should have sex, but acknowledged if that happened the human race would end. As such, sex between husband and wife was allowable when done with faithfulness and purity. Still, we shouldn’t get caught up in the physicality.

So, with all due respect, we are basing “religious” arguments on 4,000-year-old laws that state its ungodly to be homosexual, but cool to be racist, and on 2,000-year-old writing from a celibate man who thought sex was icky and whose own sexuality is indeterminate. In other words, as a Christian who read the book, I have to say this is a bunch of hypocrisy that God cannot and should not be blamed for.

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Anti-miscegnation Laws: Red – overturned in 1967, Yellow – repealed 1948-1967, Green – repealed before 1887

In the 1950s, most Americans, white and black, believed interracial marriage was wrong. Politically, it was very much akin to the U.S. in 2005, with respect to gay marriage. Then, the tide began to turn in the late fifties. Unsurprisingly, liberals were the first voices, such as Hannah Arendt in 1958.

“Even political rights, like the right to vote, and nearly all other rights enumerated in the Constitution, are secondary to the inalienable human rights to ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence; and to this category the right to home and marriage unquestionably belongs.” – Hannah Arendt, 1958

This was written the same year that a Gallup poll found that 96% of white Americans opposed interracial marriage. Understandably, other libs were upset with her quote, because of the expected backlash. Much in the same way, we have been silent with respect to gay marriage. Remember the quote from the dear Virginia Judge Bazile, who used geography to justify anti-miscegenation? Well, in 1967, here is what the Supreme Court said about the issue:

“Marriage is one of the ‘basic civil rights of man,’ fundamental to our very existence and survival…. To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not to marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.” – The United States Supreme Court, Loving v. Virginia, 1967

It is now late 1966, and the tide is turning. I would encourage those on both sides of the issue to recall the great battles of the Civil Rights era, and ask yourselves, “Which side of history am I on? Is it the side that will ultimately win?” Surely, the winning side is God’s side.

Let me stop here, and say a few things. 1. I am a Christian (though unconventional). 2. I am not a liberal. Hell, I’m not even political. 3. I have been in an interracial marriage (it rocks). 4. I wasn’t always pro-gay marriage. Mostly, I was against marital tax breaks for any couple who doesn’t have children. Then, I realized something: a lot of gay couples have children. In my book, that was cased closed.

“I see two dingy little rooms with “FOR LADIES” swinging over one and “FOR COLORED PEOPLE” over the other; while wondering under which head I come, I notice a little way off the only hotel proprietor of the place whittling a pine stick as he sits with one leg thrown across an empty goods box; and as my eye falls on a sample room next door which seems to be driving the only wide-awake and popular business of the commonwealth, I cannot help ejaculating under my breath, “What a field for the missionary woman.” – Anna Julia Cooper

I remember a story my mom told me about my grandmother. Grandma was born in 1910, in Americus, Georgia, in the southern United States. She was the eldest daughter of Dr. John Wesley Huguley, who was in turn the eldest son of former slaves. Now, they were privileged, obviously, not in small part due to their fortuitously low melanin count. Still, although her first cousin, a blonde with blue eyes, would become whichever race had the best accommodations, Grandma was clearly black. (Actually, creole.)

Oline_&_Oline_Carr_1937
Grandma, with mom, 1937

Still, as the educated daughter of a doctor, and the wife of an Army officer, my grandmother considered herself to be a refined lady at all times. So, one day, needing to use “the facilities,” she asked the woman in charge, “Where is the ladies room?”

The woman took one look at grandma’s silken hair but unmistakably brown skin, and answered, “The colored woman’s bathroom is over there.” Grandma looked at her and repeated the question. She received the same response. Finally, after being asked for a third time where the ladies room was, the flummoxed woman answered, “Well, the white ladies room is over yonder.”

“Thank you,” Grandma answered, and left to use the Ladies Room over yonder. Grandma didn’t care about race. She cared about being a lady.

There are those among us who are wives to wives and husbands to husbands. The ladies are being told that the husbands are over there, while the men are told, “The wives are over yonder.” It is my humble opinion, that they, like my grandmother, deserve to hold their heads high, and be whom they are. My God, unlike their detractors’, don’t make no mistakes.

In my latest novel, Hard as Roxx, the two lead characters are female. One is a bisexual, widowed mother, the other is gay. I dare you not to like them. I didn’t fit them into the 22nd-century LGBT world to make a point. I wrote them that way because that turned out to be who they were. They were just … kind of … born that way. It’s sort of how it actually works in real life.

“I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.” – George Wallace

“When you grow up in a totally segregated society, where everybody around you believes that segregation is proper, you have a hard time. You can’t believe how much it’s a part of your thinking.” – Shelby Foote

Mr. Rubio, beware of being on the wrong side of history. It cannot be erased.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.

8 Comments

  1. Bravo! Bravo! A standing ovation for Mr. Jones, Please! An extraordinary author, an insightful and instinctive photographer and in my humble opinion, a True American. Would that there were more like him. Keep writing Bill, I’m still reading. Mary

    1. You make me smile. Thank you.

  2. Mancakes says:

    LOVE the story about your grandmother…definitely my kind of LADY. And I’ll save my political rantings for another day.. suffice it to say Rubio and I would make Thanksgivings terrible if we were in-laws. GREAT post!!

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. That is my favorite grandma story. My mother must have told it to me three times. 🙂 It’s interesting, because she was a quiet, apolitical, make no waves kind of person. Dignity brings out the best in us, I suppose.

      1. Mancakes says:

        What I find interesting is that I totally got that vibe and envisioned her as such a woman (quiet, apolitical…)… a testament to the effective way you weave words

  3. Well done! The bottom line is love is love and that is what we need more of in our world is love compassion and understanding.

  4. Your grandma is an inspiration to us all. Her story still stands true even today only in a different form. Till today, some people still discriminate and some of them sadly sits in political power who could have made a positive change but instead chose to be indifferent and ignorant. We are all equal. People who think they are better than others because of their social status, race, sexuality, religion need to stop. It’s time for them to wake up and accept the truth. Great post Bro and amazing book.

    1. Thank you. What made this story so profound for my familty is that otherwise, my grandmother was the typical “What will the neighbors think?” kind of person. But when it came to her rights, she didn’t bend.

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