In June 2015, Kimberly Jean Bailey Davis was an obscure elected county clerk for little Rowan County, Kentucky, population less than 24,000. Now she’s a lightning rod in the culture wars. She “defied a U.S. Federal Court order requiring that she issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples following the Obergefell v. Hodges U.S. Supreme Court case that legalized same-sex marriage in the United States.”
Kentucky is arguing a philosophy that was struck down by SCOTUS nearly 50 years ago.
A friend of mine posted something on Facebook about some local bit of bigotry; there are so many, I can’t keep track. At some level, I become a tad inured, which I reckon is not a good thing. Still, these news stories caught my attention.
ITEM: Lawyers for the state of Kentucky actually put this in legal papers: “Kentucky’s marriage laws are not facially discriminatory to gays and lesbians based upon their sexual orientation. Kentucky’s marriage laws treat homosexuals and heterosexuals the same and are facially neutral. Men and women, whether heterosexual or homosexual, are free to marry persons of the opposite sex under Kentucky law, and men and women, whether heterosexual or homosexual, cannot marry persons of the same sex under Kentucky law.”
Seriously, I laughed out loud. It was because they were using the exact same structure of an argument as was used by courts in the mid-1960s when trying to uphold rules against mixed-race marriage. “Because its miscegenation statutes punish equally both the white and the Negro participants in an interracial marriage, these statutes, despite their reliance on racial classifications, do not constitute an invidious discrimination based upon race.”
On June 12, 1967, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled, in Loving v. Virginia, that the anti-miscegenation laws of Virginia and 15 other states were unconstitutional. Kentucky is arguing a philosophy that was struck down by SCOTUS nearly 50 years ago. This is not just bigoted thinking, it’s bad lawyering.
“The school closures are just the latest in a series of drastic measures that Kansas public services have been forced to take in recent years, as [Governor Sam ] Brownback’s radical tax cuts have drained state coffers of much-needed revenue.” AND he was re-elected in 2014 by four percentage points.
As my friend Alan noted, “When only poor people and villains are depicted as having non-smartphones, it’s sending a message that I think is probably harmful in the long term. I noticed Reddington [the amoral lead character played by James Spader] was using a burner flip phone last night on The Blacklist. Would not have noticed if I hadn’t read the article.”
ITEM: Noam Chomsky on the Roots of American Racism. “It’s easy to rattle off the usual answers: education, exploring and addressing the sources of the malady, joining together in common enterprises — labor struggles have been an important case — and so on. The answers are right and have achieved a lot. Racism is far from eradicated, but it is not what it was not very long ago, thanks to such efforts. It’s a long, hard road. No magic wand, as far as I know.”