The Power To Form A Family


TNC compares bans on interracial marriage to prohibitions against same-sex marriage:

Banning interracial marriage meant that most black people could not marry outside of their race. This was morally indefensible, but very different than a total exclusion of gays from the institution of marriage. Throughout much of America, gays are effectively banned from marrying, not simply certain types of people, but any another compatible partner period. ...

A more compelling analogy would be a law barring blacks, not from marrying other whites, but effectively from marrying anyone at all. In fact we have just such an analogy. In the antebellum South, the marriages of the vast majority of African-Americans, much like gays today, held no legal standing. Slavery is obviously, itself, a problem--but abolitionists often, and accurately, noted that among its most heinous features was its utter disrespect for the families of the enslaved. Likewise, systemic homophobia is, itself, a problem--but among its most heinous features is its utter disrespect for the families formed by gays and lesbians. Of course African-Americans, gay and straight, in 1810 lacked many other rights that gays, of all colors, today enjoy. Thus, to state the obvious, being born gay is not the same as being born a slave. But the fact is that in 1810, the vast majority of African-Americans--much like the vast majority of gays in 2010--lacked the ability to legally marry.

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