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So, he’s managed to piss us off again. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas—who recently voted against the Affordable Care Act, and against protection from housing discrimination (because the NBA is mostly black…yeah, seriously) —brings up slavery to ‘splain why he voted against same-sex marriage.
In Friday’s landmark decision, Thomas joined Justices John Roberts, Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito in his vote against Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same sex marriage in the United States. Yet, brother man couldn’t just leave well enough alone, bringing up slavery, and saying that the state could not bestow “dignity” on slaves—and can’t do that for same sex loving people either.
Yeah, no really? To a lot of folks, it’s not about “dignity” from the government but equal rights under the law. And for slaves it was about…freedom from brutal, exploitative, back-breaking oppression. Saying that the state can’t bestow or take away “dignity” seems to miss the point entirely.
And we quote Justice Thomas:
The corollary of that principle is that human dignity cannot be taken away by the government. Slaves did not lose their dignity (any more than they lost their humanity) because the government allowed them to be enslaved. Those held in interment camps did not lose their dignity because the government confined them. And those denied governmental benefits certainly do not lose their dignity because the government denies them those benefits. The government cannot bestow dignity, and it cannot take it away.
Bet we can tell you what the government can give (at least on paper): the exact same rights every other American has.
The irony of Thomas’ own marriage situation was not lost on social media yesterday, showing the good judge and his second wife, Virginia Thomas, a white woman, whom he couldn’t have married if the Supreme Court had not voted to make interracial marriage legal in 1967’s Loving v. Virginia case. To some it reeks of the same hypocrisy of Bristol Palin talking about abstinence but getting pregnant out of wedlock…again.
And to invoke slavery here is like using the “the race card” in a weird, self-serving way as he is wont to do when it suits his agenda. Who could forget Thomas saying he was a “victim” of a “high tech lynching” when Anita Hill took him to task about sexual harassment during his SCOTUS confirmation hearings so many years ago?