It was inevitable that Republicans across the country were going to lose their minds at the inevitable Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage throughout these here fifty United States, but a county commission in Missouri has reacted particularly poorly to it. The all-Republican commission voted unanimously to observe a full year of ‘mourning’ for our nation by flying the flag at the Dent County Courthouse and Judicial Building at half-mast every 26th day of the month.
It’s a petty debasement of one our nation’s most sacred rituals- the lowering of the flag at half mast to commemorate and mourn national tragedies and our veterans, to show respect for those who’ve lost their lives for our nation and those who continue to do so to this day. To use that noble gesture in order to protest the right for any American to marry whom they please, regardless of socially conventional gender roles or archaic religious mandates is tremendously offensive.
The petulance displayed by the religious right in refusing to acknowledge the ironclad decision of our nation’s highest court is similarly perplexing. Presiding Commissioner Darrell Skiles wrote that the motion was a direct response to “the U.S. high court’s [sic] stamp of approval of what God speaks of as an abomination” and that ““all who see these flags at this lowered position be reminded of this despicable Supreme Court travesty.” Governor Jay Nixon had to sign an executive order forcing state institutions to comply with the ruling, but apparently his acknowledgment of what is now the law of the land isn’t enough for rank and file.
It just goes to show that the even though the battle was won, the war for equality is far from over. Similar stories have cropped up throughout the Bible Belt, as politically ambitious conservatives weep and moan about the right to discriminate that they’ve given to themselves. Such an insulting motion by publicly elected officials is yet another attempt to undermine the separation of church and state- and unfortunately, it certainly won’t be the last.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.