Religious Right Activist Admits That Marriage Equality Bans Are Like Anti-Miscegenation Laws

Brian Camenker of the anti-LGBT group MassResistance spoke to the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios this week about how same-sex marriage has wreaked havoc on Massachusetts since it became legal in 2004, declaring that ten years of marriage equality has been “terrible” for the Bay State.

“It is very, very scary. It has permeated the public school system, it has permeated the public health system, the legal system,” he said. “It has basically overwhelmed everything. It’s been a nightmare. It’s been very bad.”

Camenker’s remarks didn’t come as much of a surprise given that he once told The Daily Show that marriage equality would somehow contribute to homelessness, higher crime rates, and poorer air quality.

What did come as a surprise was Camenker conceding the point that bans on same-sex marriage are similar to laws banning interracial marriage ... and he did so by defending the constitutionality of anti-miscegenation laws!

On the face of it, the Fourteenth Amendment says that everybody will be treated equally, that the law will treat everyone equally. Well, the law treats everyone equally; everyone can only marry someone of the opposite sex. That’s it. There is no Fourteenth Amendment problem unless you stretch it to such ridiculous lengths and twist it around to claim there is. But yes, every person can only marry someone of the opposite sex. Now someone may say that it was the same issue with the miscegenation laws. And that’s true. The miscegenation laws were not a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment because they applied to everybody. As an aside, I was living in the South at the time when the miscegenation laws were struck down and the interesting thing about that was, nobody paid any attention to it, nobody cared, it was like page 25 in the newspaper, there weren’t these signature drives or meetings and gatherings. Nobody really cared at all. Here it is a much different thing because it really is a moral issue.

The Supreme Court in Loving v. Virginia struck down anti-miscegenation laws on the basis that they violated the Fourteenth Amendment. It was indeed a “moral issue” at the time, as many religious conservatives frequently alleged that interracial marriages were contrary to biblical teachings and natural law.

Some Americans, disproportionately white, still oppose interracial relationships today.

Equally preposterous is Camenker’s claim that “nobody cared” about the Loving decision. Many states have attempted to keep their anti-miscegenation laws on the books, and interracial couples have faced a long history of violence and discrimination.

At least Camenker, unlike other Religious Right activists, is being consistent in his opposition to the reasoning behind the Loving ruling and court decisions in favor of marriage equality for same-sex couples.