Mike Huckabee and other religious conservatives claim their resistance to marriage equality is similar to Martin Luther King’s non-violent resistance to American apartheid. But if you actually look at history, Huckabee’s actions are more in tune with another former governor of Arkansas, Orval Faubus, who in 1957 defied a Supreme Court decision desegrating public schools and ordered the state national guard to prevent black kids from attending Little Rock Central High School.
Faubus’s own words should sound familar:
Those who would integrate our schools at any price are still among us. They have seized upon the present situation to promote and foment concern and discontent, because of the temporary closing of the schools. They have spread wild rumors and attempted to organize demonstrations. These are the same people and the same forces who have all along been opposed to the majority will of the people of Little Rock and Arkansas.
Last year, I stated during the September crisis that I was not elected Governor of Arkansas to surrender all our rights as citizens to an all-powerful federal autocracy…. It is my responsibility, and it is my purpose and determination, to defend the constitutional rights of the people of Arkansas to the full extent of my ability.…
Some people dread, shrink from, and grow weary of the struggle in which we are now engaged. I grow weary, also, but is there any choice? Once integration is effected totally and completely, will the peace and harmony you desire be attained? If we are to judge by the results elsewhere, anywhere, once total, or near total integration is effected, the peace, the quiet, the harmony, the pride in our schools, and even the good relations that existed heretofore between the races here, will be gone forever….
Huckabee and others might try to run from their own history and hide in the shadow of better men like MLK, but the odiousness of their beliefs will forever anchor them in the past.
Charles Mingus recorded a song in “tribute” to Faubus — an “all-American heel.” And today, I listen to it in “tibute” to Huckabee.