The 60s were just yesterday

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By John Pawlak


Just over 100 years ago, New Mexico joined the union, becoming the 47th state. A region rich with culture and history, New Mexico boasts a proud tradition of support for civil rights.

Nearly 50 years prior to achieving statehood, New Mexico (in 1866) repealed its anti-miscegenation laws that prohibited marriage between blacks and whites. Three decades after New Mexico did become a state, 34 states still had laws prohibiting interracial marriage.

You’ve got to be proud to live in a state that was 82 years ahead of the rest of the country in civil liberties.

The early 1960s witnessed social turmoil over legalization of interracial marriage. Looking back at pictures of people holding signs saying “Race Mixing is Communist,” “God Protect My White Daughter,” and “Race Mixing is the Work of the Anti-Christ,” it’s hard to believe that people could have been that intolerant, that hateful, or that stupid.

It’s stupid enough to think that there’s anything wrong with interracial marriage, but stupid to the 100th power to walk around with a sign saying it. Why didn’t they just tattoo “I’m an idiot!” on their foreheads?

Of course, that was a different time. A Gallup Poll in 1958 showed that only 4 percent of the nation favored interracial marriage.

Things are better today, right?

Well, sort of. Unlike the steaming sweat on the brows of the bigoted, stupid isn’t something that evaporates all that quickly. A recent Gallup poll shows that 87 percent of the nation now approves of marriage between blacks and whites.

That means 13 percent of the country are still holding fast to stupid. But most aren’t stupid enough to admit it in public.

Seriously, what type of idiot would walk around with a sign citing religious quotations to disapprove of the marriage between two people who love each other? Can you even imagine what that would look like?

In 1967, the US Supreme Court abolished the anti-miscegenation laws, which by that time existed solely (and uniformly) in the Southern States (from Texas to Virginia).

Things are much better today. Aside from those 40 million bigots who still frown on mixed marriages, our leaders recognize that marriage is about love and not about DNA.

Our leaders with half a brain that is. Those with less than half a brain are still waving those signs. Bachmann claims that allowing same-gender marriage would promote gay sex between children in Elementary schools. Santorum likens same-gender marriage to the Sept. 11, 2001 attack. Rick Perry blames gays for schools not forcing kids to recite the Lord’s Prayer. And Ann Coulter said ... well, who really cares what she says?

Some people are lucky that it doesn’t take much intelligence to breathe.

Professor of Christian Ethics, Daniel Heimbach, predicts that legalizing same-gender marriage will lead to dog lovers marrying dogs and ice cream lovers marrying ice cream. His logic can be found in the more obscure passages of Ezekiel.

Protecting the sanctity of marriage by quoting scripture has always been the calling card of the regressive mindset. It’s a cafeteria-style morality in which a person carefully chooses which verses to follow and which verses to ignore.

A picture of a recent rally against same-gender marriage showed people waving signs saying, “Leviticus 20:13, If a man lie with a man, both shall be put to death!”

That’s nice. So why don’t they wave signs saying, “Deuteronomy 21:18-21, If your son is rebellious, he shall be stoned to death.” Or why not, “Exodus 21:7, If you sell your daughter into slavery, she must remain a slave.”

Come on, put the signs down and try to get some oxygen into your brain! We’re talking about letting people who love each other get married. Yes, there has to be limits. A woman shouldn’t be allowed to marry a Mister Coffee Machine, and a man shouldn’t be allowed to marry his Fire Magic Diamond Series Echelon E1060S Barbecue Grill (though I can personally understand the desire to go on a honeymoon with one!).

Fifty years from now, I’m sure people will look back in horror and ask, “How could people have been that stupid? Seriously, what were they thinking?”

The answer is, “They’re weren’t.”