Tags: Gay Marriage | dred scott | slavery | gay marriage | battle | parallel

Ralph Reed Compares Fight Against Gay Marriage to Abolition Battle

By Sandy Fitzgerald   |   Saturday, 21 Jun 2014 01:36 PM

Faith and Freedom Coalition Founder Ralph Reed says there are parallels between the debate on same-sex marriage and the fight to end slavery, saying the infamous 1857 Dred Scott Supreme Court ruling holds lessons for contemporary conservative activists.

Reed, speaking to about 40 people at a breakout session at the annual "Road to Majority Conference" in Washington, D.C.,  on Friday, said that before abolitionists won their battle against slavery, it appeared for many years that the courts would squash their hopes, reports Yahoo News.

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The Dred Scott Decision, which ruled that slaves would remain their owners' property even if they traveled to free states, holds lessons for people concerned about judicial overreach on gay marriage, said Reed.

“The battle looked like it was lost, but it really wasn’t,” Reed said of the decision, which emboldened abolition activists. "And that’s kind of like where we are right now. Anybody heard lately that we’re losing the marriage issue? Anybody heard that argument? You notice some similarities? I’m not comparing slavery to same-sex marriage, OK? I’m just pointing out that when you have these fights, what’s interesting is that if you look at same-sex marriage, it’s now legal in 17 states.”

Reed was not counting the states that changed their law since last year's Supreme Court case striking down the Defense of Marriage Act.

"Only six of them, six out of those 17, six out of 50 states, had done it by referendum or by state legislature, said Reed. "In every other case, it was imposed by courts. Just like the courts had to impose Dred Scott. Because they couldn’t do it on the country because the country didn’t agree with it. The country, by the way, doesn’t agree with same-sex marriage.”

The Dred Scott decision is often used to discuss judicial overreach, such as in discussions of the Roe v. Wade decision making abortion legal in 1973, reports The New York Times.

Reed's point, however, was that conservatives should not give up on their fight against same-sex marriage, even if the legal momentum appears to be moving in favor of such couples.

Friday's conference, in addition to Reed, included appearances from several potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.

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