6/26/13

Equality and Religious Oppression

Rainbow flag. Symbol of gay pride.
Rainbow flag. Symbol of gay pride. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
While same-sex marriage is not yet legal in the state of Mississippi, today's news out of the U.S. Supreme Court was encouraging in at least two ways that have the potential to impact Mississippians. First, same-sex couples who are married in a state that values equality and then have to move here will be able to receive all the federal benefits that married persons currently enjoy. Second, the rulings may energize the gay-rights movement and their many allies to push harder for equality in places like Mississippi.

The evangelical fundamentalist Christian majority that controls our state is not going to give up power without a fight. They did not do so during the Civil Rights era of the 1960s, and they are not going to do so now. They will continue to fight marriage equality, and they will continue to fight secularism. Mississippi is going to remain a hostile environment for LGBT persons and atheists for some time. And yet, on days like today, we get a glimpse of what is possible.

I know some Mississippians will look at today's news and feel bitter because equality will not be coming here anytime soon. I can certainly see why they would feel that way. And yet, I choose to be inspired by today's events and to remind myself that the times really are starting to change. Who knows what the next 10 years could bring?

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