Seeking to encourage social conservative activists to persevere in the fight against same-sex marriage, Faith and Freedom Coalition founder Ralph Reed drew parallels between the ongoing debate over marriage equality and the nation’s long struggle over slavery and civil rights for African-Americans.
Speaking to about 40 attendees at an afternoon breakout session during the organization’s annual “Road to Majority” conference in Washington, D.C. on Friday, Reed gave a speech in which he suggested the 1857 Dred Scott Supreme Court decision —which ruled that African American slaves remained the property of their owners even if they traveled to or resided in free states — held a lesson for contemporary conservative activists concerned about what they see as judicial overreach on the issue of gay marriage.
Before the abolitionists triumphed, Reed reminded, it appeared for many years that the courts would squash the hopes of human rights reformers.
“The battle looked like it was lost, but it really wasn’t,” Reed said of the immediate aftermath of the Dred Scott decision, which went on to embolden abolitionist activists. “And that’s kind of like where we are right now. Anybody heard lately that we’re losing the marriage issue? Anybody heard that argument? You notice some similarities? I’m not comparing slavery to same-sex marriage, OK? I’m just pointing out that when you have these fights, what’s interesting is that if you look at same-sex marriage, it’s now legal in 17 states.”
(Reed said he was not counting the states that have changed since last year’s Supreme Court case that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, “since the beginning of 2011, eight states have passed legislation, one adopted it by initiative and three allow same-sex marriage as a result of court decisions. In six of the states that adopted same-sex marriage by legislation, they overturned previous statutes that prohibited same-sex marriage.”)
SOURCE: Chris Moody