Post submitted by Jane Coaston, former HRC Writer

Why do so many Republican presidential candidates keep making the same mistake?

A few weeks ago, it was Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal telling NBC’s Chuck Todd during an interview on “Meet the Press” that religious objections to interracial marriage and same-sex marriage weren’t comparable and to say otherwise was “offensive to evangelical Christians, to Catholics that are trying to follow their church's teachings, and millions of other Americans who believe that marriage is between a man and a woman.”  He joins fellow presidential candidates Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz in saying that objecting to interracial marriage was not the same as objecting to marriage equality on religious grounds. 

Rubio Said Interracial Marriage And Same-Sex Marriage Were Not Comparable “Because Here You’re Talking About The Definition Of An Institution, Not The Value Of A Single Human Being.” In an appearance on the Five, according to KHBS TV, “[Rubio] also rejected a comparison between same-sex marriage and interracial marriage. ‘That's not the same thing,’ he said. ‘Because here you're talking about the definition of an institution, not the [innate] value of a single human being. That's the difference between the civil rights movement and the marriage equality movement.’” [KHBS, 3/30/2015; Fox, The Five, 3/30/2015; VIDEO]

Cruz: “No Religious Backing” For Denying Interracial Couples Marriage Licenses, Unlike Same-Sex Couples. According to Today News: “Over the weekend, Cruz said he would support Texas state clerks who refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples because of religious objections. Asked if that would be the same as refusing to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple, Cruz disagreed. ‘There's no religious backing for that.’” [Today, 6/29/2015; VIDEO]

In February 2014, U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen took on those same sentiments when she ruled that the state’s ban on marriage equality was unconstitutional. Referring to the landmark case Loving v. Virginia, which struck down the state’s ban on interracial marriage, she wrote, “Nearly identical concerns about the significance of tradition were presented to, and resolved by, the Supreme Court in its Loving decision. The Loving Court struck down Virginia's ban on interracial marriage despite the ban's existence since "the colonial period." Notwithstanding the undeniable value found in cherishing the heritages of our families, and many aspects of the heritages of our country and communities, the protections created for us by the drafters of our Constitution were designed to evolve and adapt to the progress of our citizenry.  Tradition is revered in the Commonwealth, and often rightly so. However, tradition alone cannot justify denying same-sex couples the right to marry any more than it could justify Virginia's ban on interracial marriage.”

Sounds like some words a few presidential candidates should take to heart. 

Filed under: Federal Advocacy, Community

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