"It's another step for me to get to gay marriage," he [Beebe] says. Even a stranger to Beebe's nuanced politics would recognize him signaling that both he and his state are evolving, albeit slowly, toward that step.
When I compare his justifications for opposing gay marriage to those used by Faubus, Beebe sternly makes two distinctions. First, the segregationist governor took actions he knew were wrong to further his political career (Beebe plans to retire after his term expires next year). Second, Faubus broke the law and "I wouldn't do that."
Someday, I say, legal bans on gay marriage may be ruled unconstitutional, and not just at a county level. Beebe smiles.
"I think we are putting forward legitimate legal arguments" against Piazza's ruling, based on the state Constitution, he says. "(But) I think from a policy perspective, yes, your theory is right. The trend is clear. Young Americans don't see (gay marriage) as an issue at all."
It's easy to demonize conservatives and Christians. It's harder to recognize that faith is a stern master, especially among African-Americans whose animus toward homosexuality runs deep. We should know by now that social change takes times, but the American public tends to eventually get things right.
The arc of the moral universal is long but it bends toward justice," Martin Luther King said of the fight for racial equality. Five decades later, Donaldson and his wife posed for pictures in front of the Little Rock Nine monument and dismissed the fight for sexual equality. In the not-too-distant future, their views on homosexuality will pass into history. Nobody can stop the arc of justice.
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