Hell Hath Frozen Over in Alabama

February 7, 2015

Social Commentary


Hell? Or Alabama?

These are heady times in Alabama!  The state, whose motto is “at least we aren’t Mississippi,” in less than 48 hours, has to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, or violate the United States Constitution.


Alabama takes its pride where it can get it.

Which one they will choose?

Less than three miles from my house, stands the stalwart little red-brick building – Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church – where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood at the pulpit, and from that basement, organized with others, the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Dexter CHurch

Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church

Dexter Church stands literally in the shadow of the State Capitol, eyeballing distance from the very spot where Jefferson Davis took the oath of office as “President” of the “Confederate States.”

I use quotes – just because you say you are President of your own country; just because you say you are your own country, does not make it so, even though – right now, in 2015, Alabama has an actual legal state holiday, (shared with Dr. King’s day – irony is writ large in this state) to “honor” General Robert E. Lee – a man who owned slaves, and lead armies to enforce his right to do so, sold children from their mothers, and used “punishments” that amounted to no less than torture.

In that same shadow, on the steps leading to the State Capitol, in March 1965, stood the 25,000 marchers from Selma, protected by Federal troops, because the State refused to do so, men and women who literally risked death to secure their legal right to vote.  This was not in the murky depths of ancient history. This was fifty years ago.

Just down the street, a decade earlier, Rosa Parks was arrested for not giving her seat on the bus to a white man.  We all know how that story ends, and it doesn’t look good for Alabama.

Rosa Parks December 1, 1955

Rosa Parks
December 1, 1955

The bus companies were losing what amounted to small fortunes to maintain the status quo. For over a year.  What ended the boycott? Common sense? Human decency? Fiscal responsibility? No. A federal court decision.

This history lesson serves to point out that Alabama – whose real motto is “We Dare Defend Our Rights” – does not shy away from standing on the wrong side of history.  Even now, our state elected officials are making Wallace-esque stands in the proverbial schoolhouse door to keep from issuing same-sex marriage licenses on Monday. One county has closed its doors and says they will no longer be providing marriage licenses to anyone.

The apoplectic fits being thrown in this state in the last few days have provided no shortage of entertainment for those of us who will stand on the right side of history. Twenty years from now, our adult children will not be embarrassed by the way their parents behaved on Monday.

Who wants to be that bus driver’s son today?  Who wants to know that Grandpa was a state trooper who beat a black man for marching peacefully? Who wants to be the child of parents who stood in line for hours to get a chicken sandwich on Chik-fil-A “Appreciation” Day? Who wants their daddy’s legacy to be standing in the courthouse door refusing to allow a gay couple to enter the probate office for a marriage license on Monday?

Legally recognized, state sanctioned marriage for adult couples, regardless of their gender combinations, begins in Alabama on February 9, 2015.  Alabama is not the only one who dares to defend their rights.

gay marriage


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About reneadijab

Renea Dijab

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