carol ann and thomas erson

Carol Ann and Thomas Person today 


The State of North Carolina recently passed a law that is destined to die a humiliating death before the U.S. Supreme Court. Incredibly, this law leaves the decision as to who may be licensed to marry up to the sincerely held religious beliefs of the Registrar of Deeds, who issues licences, and the Magistrate, who performs ceremonies! This bizarre piece of legal skullduggery was concocted in an oddly cynical attempt to thwart same-sex marriage. It is not practical even to consider that the legislature and the governor are not aware of the screamingly obvious unconstitutionality of their actions. Nevertheless, they seem to be taking particular glee in their misconceived, puerile game of fools – until its eventual, inevitable, dénouement, which will surprise no one – least of all, they, themselves. But—this little game of faux, legal homophobia has resulted in the release of a ghost from the past that even the legislature and the governor, quite unexpectedly (perhaps) did not contemplate: This law could again prevent marriage by mixed-race, opposite-sex couples!

Just such a couple, a Caucasian woman and African American man, recounts their North Carolina experience of forty years ago. They are appalled by the passage of this law, which they say could bring about a re-play of what they had hoped to be their wedding day. When they went to a magistrate to be married, they were amazed to discover that their planned union was inconsistent with the religious beliefs of that agent of the People of North Carolina. They got the same response from another magistrate. Incredulous, the couple left and returned with a lawyer. They were not able to resolve the matter on the spot; however, later, a higher authority found those magistrates to have been in error.



and in in 1977


With that legal precedence, it is obvious that the governor and legislature are fully aware of their cynicism. The length of time it will take for this ill-conceived Kabuki Dance to play itself out is anyone's guess. In the meantime, this is another reminder, over the past few years, that our evil past – either flagrantly or sotto voce – continues to stain this brand-new millennium.

***** ***** *****

The Past looked around for a slit

In the wall, wherein it could fit.

It spotted N.C.,

And yelled, "Glory be!

"Grab your robes – the cross now is lit!"


Curtis W. Long

Curtis W. Long

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