Corey M. Brooks: Obama's Proclamation Has a Familiar Ring
COREY M. BROOKS is assistant professor of history at York College of Pennsylvania. The essay was written for the History News Service. Contact: email@example.com
Like Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, President Obama’s declaration that gay and lesbian Americans deserve a right to marry is a historic statement of principle, even though its practical policy implications are limited because the states, not the federal government, hold most of the power to define marriage.
Obama’s assertion that state-level prohibitions on same-sex marriage are morally objectionable but legally sound rings familiar to this Civil War historian. I can’t help but notice a close resemblance to the pre-Civil War views of millions of white Northerners (and perhaps more than a few white Southerners) on slavery.
Northerners understood that the Constitution protected slaveholding as a matter left to individual states, and for decades many had found this a comforting justification for their tolerance of an institution they knew should be intolerable. Slavery was a Southern problem, and as long as it could be kept a Southern problem, Northerners’ thinking went, they would bear little moral responsibility....
comments powered by Disqus
- David Rosand, an Art History Scholar Whose Heart Was in Venice, Dies at 75
- NYT interviews Rick Perlstein about his book
- OAH issues a statement in support of the AP standards
- Daniel Pipes says in interview that the absence of anti-Israel protests in Muslim countries is highly significant
- A historian who studies China has discovered an overlooked angle in the debate about the Middle East. Could he have figured out a key reason for Iraq’s failure to defeat ISIS?