When Gay Marriage is a Civil Rights Issue vs. When Is It Not

If there is one thing we have learned from the Religious Right during the fight over gay marriage, it is that comparing this issue to the Civil Rights Movement is both utterly inaccurate and extremely offensive:

But, as it turns out, the fight over gay marriage is a civil rights battle – a battle to protect the civil rights of Christians, according to the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown:

Brown approached the crowd on Sunday with the same language that he believes gay rights advocates have been misusing.

“I believe that this fight is the beginning of a new civil rights movement, and I don’t say that in any shallow way,” he said.

He explained to The Christian Post in an interview ahead of the rally that “a lot of African-American leaders … are tired of their struggle being hijacked by those who are attempting to use the civil rights movement to redefine marriage.”

Pushing back against comparisons between laws banning interracial marriage with ones that prohibit gays and lesbians from marrying, Brown contended, “Marriage is not based upon race. It’s based upon the fact that there are men and women and men and women are brought together in marriage. So trying to compare same-sex marriage to overturning laws against interracial marriage is comparing apples to oranges.”

Brown said they are not fighting the marriage battle with Scripture, but with reason and the Constitution.

“Unaided reason alone tells us that marriage is the union of a man and a woman. We can understand by reason that marriage is that institution that brings men and women together and connects them with any children they may bear. No other relationship can do what marriage does. Our stand is based on the Constitution and is based on defending civil rights – our civil rights.”

So Harry Jackson and other African American ministers believe it is offensive, and even borderline racist, to compare the struggle for marriage equality to the Civil Right Movement … except for when they do it: 

“Same-sex marriage advocates have attempted to steal the right of the people to vote in the name of civil rights. [But] you’re stealing others’ civil rights,” [Harry] Jackson commented.