'Separate But Equal' Same-Gender Marriage Parallels Racist Jim Crow Laws

The Supreme Court appears much closer to ending the federal Defense of Marriage Act than overturning California’s Proposition 8 and interfering with state’s rights. What’s the difference and how are parallels to racism and Jim Crow influencing the case


Separate But Equal ‘Full & Skim-Milk Marriages’

The Supreme Court’s stance on DOMA leaned favorably toward marriage equality after almost two hours of oral arguments on March 27. A majority of the justices voiced concerns for the constitutionality of a federally mandated definition of marriage, which currently is defined and recognized as being between a man and a woman only. As such, only heterosexual married couples are eligible to receive benefits like Social Security and tax breaks, while married same-gender couples, in states that have approved such unions, still are not recognized by the federal government.

Having two kinds of marriages, according to Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, is likened to having “separate but equal” tiers, inferring a direct parallel to the faulted rationality the government once upheld in Jim-Crow-era laws. Ginsberg said:

They’re not–they’re not a question of additional benefits. I mean, they touch every aspect of life. Your partner is sick. Social Security. I mean, it’s pervasive. It’s not as though, well, there’s this little Federal sphere and it’s only a tax question. It’s — it’s — as Justice Kennedy said, 1100 statutes, and it affects every area of life. And so he was really diminishing what the State has said is marriage. You’re saying, no, State said two kinds of marriage; the full marriage, and then this sort of skim milk marriage.

Additionally, questions surrounding the original motives behind DOMA arose: “Well, is what happened in 1996and I’m going to quote from the House Report hereis that “Congress decided to reflect an honor of collective moral judgment and to express moral disapproval of homosexuality.” Is that what happened in 1996″ asked Justice Elena Kagan.

Comparisons between same-gender-marriage bans and racism have become an increasing argument for the supporters of LGBT-rights. For example, pro-LGBT group Every1Against1 previously used Jim-Crow imagery in its campaign in support of marriage equality, and Howard University School of Law’s Civil Rights Clinic recently filed an amicus brief that compared both Prop 8 and DOMA, and similar same-gender-marriage bans withJim-Crow era laws that prohibited interracial marriageand reinforced continuing discrimination against Blacks.

“Without acknowledging the racial provenance of these discredited arguments, opponents of marriage equality haveattacked same-sex couples as a threat to American society, American families and heterosexual marriage, as an affront to the laws of God and nature, and as a menace to their children,” read the brief.

The Supreme Court is expected to make a decision on DOMA and Prop 8 sometime this summer.

Latest News

Abraham Lincoln High School

San Francisco School Board Forced to Abandon Controversial Plan to Rename Schools Honoring Historic Figures

The San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education drew nationwide attention earlier this year over its announcement to change the name of 44 schools “named after figures with disputed historical relevance.” And now, following widespread public condemnation and a vote of members, the board has decided it will no…

Park Cannon

Prosecutors Drop Charges Against Park Cannon, Georgia Representative Arrested For Protesting State’s New Racist Voter Restriction Laws

Reaction to Georgia’s restrictive and anti-Black voter disenfranchisement policies continues to stir up controversy. Major League Baseball pulled their wildly popular 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta and moved it to Denver to show their disappointment with the decision. Georgia-based companies like Delta and Coca-Cola have also announced their disapproval of…

Dow Receives Five 2021 Manufacturing Leadership Awards

Originally published at corporate.dow.com. Dow ranked No. 22 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2020.   Dow has been recognized with five Manufacturing Leadership Awards by the Manufacturing Leadership Council, a division of the National Association of Manufacturers. The awards are given to individuals and projects…

Dow Wins With Product Performance and Sustainability at the Leading 2021 Ringier Technology Innovation Awards

Originally published at corporate.dow.com. Dow ranked No. 22 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2020.   Dow clinched two notable product wins for superior performance and wide application at the 2021 Ringier Technology Innovation Awards in the Plastics Raw Materials & Additives category: Dow’s Post-Consumer Recycled…

BASF Presents Roadmap to Climate Neutrality

Originally published at basf.com. BASF ranked No. 14 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2020.   BASF is setting itself even more ambitious goals on its journey to climate neutrality and wants to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Based on the most recent progress in developing…