The Media Drops the Ball With Same Sex Marriage Moral Equivalence Argument
Get it right next time - many people have died just for being gay, and it wasn’t that long ago that gay pride parades not only didn’t exist, but couldn’t exist.
With Christie no longer engaging, Joe Scarborough jumped in, asking Capehart and Harold Ford who was also on the show if they thought there was a moral equivalency between same-sex marriage and civil rights in the 1960’s, except Scarborough, who is rapidly devolving into the biggest non-Fox jerk on television, couched it something like this. Would you compare the status of how a relationship is recognized by a state to little children being blown up in a church? Or by Bull Conner tearing the flesh off of people because they want to eat at a lunch counter?
Harold Ford quibbled around the edges, arguing about whether marriage was a civil right, but eventually said no, he would not compare the two. Capehart (who, in case you don’t know is both gay and Black) was nodding his head vigorously while Ford spoke and blurted out “Yes” the minute Ford finished.
Then Capehart gave what was a very moving response. I am paraphrasing just a bit, but I think I got most of what he said.
“Yes, because it is an issue of civil rights, equality of rights, an equal treatment under the law issue. If I were to get married to my partner and if we were to have children would my children have the same protections as your children have because you can legally marry? No one is asking for special rights or special favors, we are just looking for the same rights and responsibilities and the same protections that come with marriage. “Looking at this overall it is a civil rights issue. What Afro-Americans continue to struggle with is exactly what gays and lesbians are struggling with today.”
Yes, Capehart’s answer was obviously heartfelt, but he should have gone farther. He should have more directly met Scarborough’s rather ham-handed challenge, especially since equivalency is a herring the right has trailed repeatedly, especially since Christie suggested a referendum a few weeks ago. It needs a stronger rebuttal. Maybe it is arrogant of me, but despite the fact I am old and straight I feel the need to make it. Please allow me, for a moment to do a Lawrence O’Donnell and rewrite Jonathan’s answer,”Joe, I think you are looking at things with a microscope rather than a fish-eye lens. First of all, while the Afro-American struggle for civil rights was certainly a dangerous and bloody one, many gays and lesbians have also died or suffered, and like the little girls in Birmingham or the marchers in Selma they were beaten or killed whether they were protesting or going quietly about their business solely because they were different. Surely the pain, humiliation, and loss suffered by any minority because of discrimination are equivalent to that of any other.