TIME Civil Rights

Eric Holder to Seek Lower Bar on Civil Rights Prosecutions

US Attorney General Eric Holder arrives for a meeting with French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve at the Justice Department in Washington on Feb. 19, 2015.
Nicholas Kamm—AFP/Getty Images US Attorney General Eric Holder arrives for a meeting with French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve at the Justice Department in Washington on Feb. 19, 2015.

Outgoing Attorney General will soon call on Congress to lower the standard of proof in federal civil rights cases

Attorney General Eric Holder says that he will soon call on Congress to lower the standard of proof in federal civil rights cases, to allow federal prosecution where local authorities are unable or unwilling to get a conviction.

“There is a better way in which we could have federal involvement in these kinds of matters to allow the federal government to be a better backstop in examining these cases,” Holder said in an NBC News interview conducted on Thursday.

On Tuesday, the Justice Department announced that it found insufficient evidence to pursue federal criminal civil rights charges in the 2012 …

Read more from our partners at NBC News

TIME Civil Rights

Christian College Student Attacked With Apple for Questioning Treatment of Gays

Wheaton Forum Wall Bulletin Board Gay Student
Sara Kohler A note on a student bulletin board at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill., Feb. 24, 2015.

The apple thrower then posted a defense of his actions on a campus wall

After a student at a prominent evangelical college questioned his school’s stance against homosexuality in an all-school forum on Monday, another student allegedly threw an apple at him “as a warning against insulting the Spirit of grace.”

The incident, which college administrators are now addressing, took place on Monday at Wheaton College, Billy Graham’s alma mater outside Chicago, during the campus’ traditional “Town Hall Chapel,” a campuswide question and answer session where the college president, currently Philip Ryken, takes questions from the student body. Wheaton holds marriage to be between one man and one woman, and requires students and faculty to uphold that sexual ethic. Christian colleges such as Wheaton have been at the center of the evangelical fight over lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) acceptance, especially as younger generations grow increasingly more accepting on issues such as same-sex marriage.

The most recent conflict began when Philip Fillion, a class of 2015 organ performance major and married heterosexual, asked Ryken a question about the theological consistency of Wheaton’s position against homosexuality. He posted his question in full in a public note on his Facebook page:

“All students, via the Community Covenant, and all faculty, via the Statement of Faith, are required to affirm a sexual ethic that denies everyone except celibates and married straight people a place in the kingdom of God. This sexual ethic is not at all universal and depends on a reading of scripture that is incredibly narrow and ignores history, culture, and science. The Statement of Faith and the Community Covenant also lack any language about the sacraments of the Christian church. Why is it the case that our college, in documents we all must agree to or be expelled, insists on formally condemning and denying equality to our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, on spurious theological grounds, yet completely leaves behind baptism and Eucharist, which Jesus Christ himself instituted to grow and strengthen the Christian community?”

As he returned to his seat, the college tells TIME, another student sitting nearby threw the apple at him, and missed. Fillion tells TIME it hit him on his left shoulder partly through his question. “There was no response when the fruit was thrown. No boos, no gasp,” he says. “A student was in line after me and when it was his turn to ask a question, he began his time at the microphone by calling out whoever had thrown the fruit, remarking that such behavior was inappropriate and disrespectful. There was restrained applause for this.”

“President Ryken did not see the incident and did not fully understand what happened until after chapel ended,” Wheaton College told TIME in a statement.

At first, the apple was the end of the story, though some students were bothered. Justin Massey, a senior political science major and a co-founder of the campus’ LGBT student group Refuge, was disturbed that the incident did not garner more serious attention. “I saw peers exert more effort into rationalizing the offense rather than demonstrating support to the LGBT community whose experiences were disrespected,” Massey wrote on his blog. “From three separate individuals I have heard that the disruptive student simply felt ‘the question was just too long,’ ‘the tone of the inquiring student appeared rude,’ and even ‘it was simply a joke gone wrong.’ Each of these answers has one thing in common: they take responsibility off of the offending individual in an attempt to absolve this student of displaying any prejudice against a minority group.”

But the situation escalated dramatically when a student claiming to be the apple-thrower then posted a letter on the campus’ public bulletin board, the “Forum Wall,” a space traditionally designated for student opinions, accepting responsibility for and defending his actions, Wheaton confirms. “Dear Enemy,” the note began. “In regards to ‘casting a stone,’ you would be mistaken to think that I threw the apple out of hatred. I have strong aim and could hit a head at fifteen meters if I wanted to. No, I threw it purposefully as a warning against insulting the Spirit of grace. Because Truth itself was maligned. For the destruction of those who ‘have the form of godliness but deny its power’ was written about long ago. And in regards to the story of the adulteress, have you not read what Jesus told the woman, ‘God now and leave your life of sin.’ ? So neither do I condemn you, but do fear God and live in righteousness! Do not choose destruction.” Signed: “Not ashamed of Truth, Roland Hesse.”

Late Tuesday night, Massey wrote a letter to Ryken and other campus leaders, alerting them of the Forum Wall letter and arguing that the incident was more than just a theological dispute. “Upon reading this letter I feel threatened and unsafe, and I know that I am not the only student who feels this way,” Massey, who is openly gay, wrote. “This action of throwing an item at another student is violent in nature and his sentiments reflected in the Forum Wall post are threatening….My peers and I strongly feel that prompt discussion, discipline, and communication with the student body must take place to explicitly call out these actions and properly deal with this situation.”

Massey and other students, LGBT and allied, met with campus officials Wednesday morning to discuss the situation. “The religious tone and justification that he voiced, that was really frightening to us,” Massey says. “That is why we are asking for the College to specifically recognize that this incident targeted a minority group of people, that this wasn’t just a theological disagreement—this was LGBT students feeling the weight of the actions.”

Ryken briefly addressed the situation to the student body in Wednesday’s all-school chapel. The incident comes the same week as another Wheaton student was arrested for allegedly secretly filming a female Wheaton student in her shower since October 2014. “He asked our community to pray for leaders from Student Development and the Chaplain’s Office who hold students accountable and work with them for repentance, healing, and reconciliation,” Wheaton’s statement to TIME continues. “Wheaton College unequivocally condemns acts of disrespect, aggression and intimidation. While expressions of disagreement are to be expected in a liberal arts learning environment, our expectation is that members of our Christian community express disagreement and debate important issues with courtesy, respect, and love for God and each other—values we express in our Community Covenant. This is especially important when we discuss sensitive and challenging topics, or when our convictions are disputed.”

Wheaton added that “students who violate community standards are held accountable for their actions” but that “federal privacy laws prevents the College from commenting extensively on disciplinary matters.”

However, Massey said that he learned the student has been disciplined.

“It has been confirmed to me that as of this afternoon, the offending student will no longer be on campus, and if he is on campus, LGBT students that feel threatened will be immediately notified,” Massey says. “I’m incredibly impressed at how the administration is responding—I’m very pleased to know they are taking this seriously.”

As Jesus said, “You will know them by their fruits.”

TIME Civil Rights

Ohio Muslim Sues L.A. Fitness for Banning Him From Praying in the Locker Room

The man, a practicing Muslim, alleges that he was targeted because of his faith

A Muslim man in Cincinnati filed a lawsuit against gym franchise L.A. Fitness on Monday, after managers at his local branch ordered him to stop praying in the locker room.

Mohammad Fall, 28, said three managers walked up to him while he was praying on Jan. 29 and said he would be banned from the facility if he continued to do so, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Fall’s attorney, Timothy Burke, told the Times that his client’s habit of praying after a workout “was widely known,” and “nobody had an issue with it.”

However, Chris Link, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Ohio, said that Fall might have to prove that he was specifically targeted for being a Muslim in order to win the lawsuit.

[L.A. Times]

TIME Oscars

These Four Policy Issues Got Our Attention at the Oscars

Hollywood is never shy about sharing its thoughts on politics, especially on Oscar night. But after the acceptance speeches fade, what happens next? Here’s a look at the status of several issues raised at the Academy Awards ceremony Sunday night.

Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood,” on Equal Pay

The issue: The Pew Research Center estimates that women earn 84 percent of what men earn, though the gender pay gap has narrowed since the 1980s. This is the rare issue that also affects Hollywood. The 10 highest-paid actors were paid $419 million in 2013 while their female counterparts earned $226 million, barely half as much.

What Arquette said: “To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”

The outlook: Legislation introduced last year would have made it illegal for companies to retaliate against employees who share how much they make, a key step in ensuring men and women are paid equally. It failed to pass the Senate and is dead in the current Republican Congress. Some states, such as Vermont, are tackling the issue, however.

Common and John Legend, “Selma,” on Racial Justice in the U.S.

The issue: Racial disparities persist decades after the events depicted in Selma. In their acceptance speech, singers John Legend and Common highlighted two: the high rate of incarceration among black men and changes in voting rights laws, such as requirements that voters show government ID at polling stations.

What Legend said: “We know that the Voting Rights Act that they fought for 50 years ago is being compromised right now in this country today. We know that right now, the struggle for freedom and justice is real. We live in the most incarcerated country in the world. There are more black men under correctional control today then were under slavery in 1850.”

The outlook: Protests over how police have handled black male suspects have given the cause momentum. The Eric Garner case helped inspire New York City officials to begin to rethink their approach to policing. Activists on the left and right are coming together to push for reforms to the criminal justice system, though voting rights legislation isn’t going anywhere in Congress.

Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu, “Birdman,” on Immigration Reform

The issue: Immigration reform has been a hot button political issue for years. Millions of undocumented immigrants live in the U.S. and there’s widespread disagreement about how they should be addressed.

What Iñarritu said: “I want to dedicate this award for my fellow Mexicans, the ones who live in Mexico. I pray that we can build the government that we deserve. And the ones living in this country who are part of the latest generation of immigrants in this country, I just pray that they can be treated with the same dignity and respect of the ones who come before and built this incredible nation.”

The outlook: Immigration reform is a thorny issue, and legislators in Washington repeatedly have had trouble finding common ground. President Obama took action on his own, taking executive actions providing temporary legal status to millions of immigrants. Still, those actions remain contested in court and Congress isn’t likely to do much on this issue.

Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Dana Perry, “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1,” on Veteran Suicide

The issue: Twenty-two veterans commit suicide everyday — a rate that more than double the rate in the general population. While the Veterans Affairs Department provides mental health services, mental health experts say many the veteran culture makes many hesitant to take advantage of the resources.

What Kent said: “This immense and incredible honor goes to the veterans and their families who are brave enough to ask for help.” What Perry said: “I want to dedicate this to my son Evan Perry, we lost him to suicide, we should talk about suicide out loud.”

The outlook: President Obama recently signed the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, which creates an outreach system for veterans suffering from mental health issues and provides financial incentives to encourage psychiatric doctors to treat veterans. The law is a good start, but activists working to stem suicide say the issue requires more attention.

TIME faith

Young Evangelical Leader Loses Book Deal After Coming Out

Brandan Roberts Evangelical
Cameron Sharrock Brandan Robertson of Evangelicals for Marriage Equality

In an exclusive interview with TIME, an evangelical author said his contract with a Christian publisher was canceled

A prominent Christian publisher canceled a book project this week after the author refused to say that he did “not condone, encourage or accept the homosexual lifestyle,” the author told TIME.

The publisher, Destiny Image, told author Brandan Robertson on Feb. 19 that it would no longer publish his manuscript, Nomad: Not-So-Religious Thoughts on Faith, Doubt, and the Journey In Between, for financial reasons. Robertson, the evangelical organizer for Faith in Public Life, who only makes a glancing reference to homosexuality in the manuscript, recently told TIME that he identifies as queer. He said the publisher told him there was concern that evangelical bookstores would not carry the book.

“There is much consideration for every book, every author, but the final determination is financial viability,” explains Don Nori, CEO of Destiny Image’s parent company, Nori Media Group, who declined to discuss the role that issues of sexuality played in the decision.

Destiny’s decision comes as the evangelical fight over marriage equality has intensified in recent months. Two prominent evangelical churches, EastLake Community Church in Seattle and GracePointe Church near Nashville, announced in January that they were giving full membership privileges, including the right to marry and to receive communion, to lesbian and gay congregants. Many evangelical churches, organizations and colleges are taking small, intermediate steps toward inclusion, even as others, like the Southern Baptist Convention, have maintained a hard line against acceptance of same-sex relationships.

Destiny Image recruited Robertson for a book contract last year, with no advance payment, when he was still a student at the conservative Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. “Our core vision at Destiny Image has always been to give an unfiltered voice to emerging authors who are changing the way people see Christianity,” Mykela Krieg, a communications specialist at Destiny wrote to him in January 2014 in an email obtained by TIME.

Robertson submitted a book proposal, which Krieg told him was “great,” and he signed his contract with Destiny that spring. The book is a collection of essays on his personal spiritual journey from a fundamentalist to a progressive evangelical. “It is the archetype of the millennial journey of faith,” Robertson says. “It points to a lot of the struggles that we as millennials have.”

Destiny Image was enthusiastic. “We especially love your title ideas,” Krieg emailed him. “The word ‘nomad’ stood out to both of us.”

After he graduated from college last year, Robertson, now 22, became the national spokesperson for Evangelicals for Marriage Equality, an initiative started by millennials to help evangelicals support civil gay marriages. He spoke at a Reformation Project conference, an effort by fellow evangelical activist Matthew Vines to raise up affirming evangelicals in every evangelical church in the country, last fall. Robertson also blogs regularly about issues of social justice and sexuality on his Patheos blog, “Revangelical,” and has been featured in numerous news outlets for his work to encourage evangelicals toward greater gay and lesbian inclusion. TIME featured Robertson in January in a magazine story, “Inside the Evangelical Fight Over Gay Marriage.

The word gay appears in his Nomad manuscript only one time, in a chapter titled “Grey,” that begins with a quote from the Nobel Literature Prize–winning André Gide, “The color of truth is grey.” Robertson writes: “One high school biology class is all that it takes to begin asking some serious questions about the book of Genesis and the origins of humanity. One conversation with a close friend who is struggling to be gay and Christian is all that it takes to begin wondering if the interpretation of Leviticus we heard in Sunday school is actually applicable in today’s context. One life shattering tragedy is all that it takes to begin rethinking the whole notion of the ‘sovereignty’ of God.”

Last week he turned in his manuscript, and three hours later, he got a reply. “I’m sure it feels amazing to have the manuscript finished!” Krieg wrote. Then she continued: “Since you’ve been receiving more media attention over the past few months, we’ve had some questions/concerns arise from our buyers, and our executive team has asked that I connect with you about your stance on a few issues that may continue to come into question.”

“As soon as I read those words, a knot formed in my stomach,” Robertson says. “I immediately knew that the problem was going to be with my very vocal support of LGBTQ equality and inclusion in the church — unfortunately, I was right.”

Robertson spoke with Krieg on the phone that afternoon. According to Robertson, Krieg explained Destiny’s concern that Christian retailers wouldn’t buy the book because of Robertson’s public advocacy for gay and lesbian inclusion in Christian communities. Krieg then emailed Robertson Destiny’s statement on homosexuality. It was the first time, Robertson says, that they asked him if he could agree with the statement. It reads: “Destiny Image accepts the Holy Scriptures as the infallible word of God and answers all questions concerning life and godliness. We do not condone, encourage or accept the homosexual lifestyle. Destiny Image renounces this lifestyle as ungodly and completely contrary to the Kingdom of God.”

The statement continues with this Bible passage from 1 Corinthians: “Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.”

Robertson emailed Krieg to let them know that he could not sign or uphold such a statement. “I know what this likely means,” he wrote. “But just wanted to be very clear.”

“Thanks so much for your honesty,” Krieg replied, saying that she would relay their conversation to the executive team. “I truly appreciate it, and I completely respect your stance.”

Nine days later, on Feb. 19, Destiny Image called Robertson to inform him that, “for the success of my book and for their financial reasons,” as Robertson puts it, they were no longer going to publish his book. “It just reopened all those rejections wounds,” says Robertson. “I am at a frustrated point, not for my book, but this is so symptomatic of what happens in the broader evangelical community — every day, LGBTQ individuals are told that they are no longer welcome in churches, are kicked out of homes, are fired from jobs, and forced in to reparative therapy by those who claim to represent Jesus.”

When TIME asked Nori why Destiny pulled the book, Nori did not address the role that Robertson’s position on sexuality played in their decision: “There is nothing significant to report,” Nori says. “We did not reject or refuse. As with all books, a publisher decides what is financially viable. We released the book back to the author with our sincere prayers for his success. This occurrence happens every season.”

Destiny publishes popular Christian authors including pastors T.D. Jakes and Bill Johnson.

TIME Civil Rights

On 50th Anniversary of Assassination, Malcolm X’s Legacy Continues to Evolve

Malcolm X
Michael Ochs Archives Malcolm X in 1960

Decades later, one thing hasn't changed: his is seen as a story of rebirth

It’s amazing what 50 years can do for a legacy.

The opening line of TIME’s 1965 remembrance of Malcolm X described the recently-assassinated human rights activist as a “pimp, a cocaine addict and a thief” whose brand had already begun a “transfiguration” after death.

Now, 50 years after the anniversary of his assassination on Feb. 21, 1965, that transfiguration continues. Malcolm X is often listed beside the likes of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks as an influential figure in the struggle for black equality. That’s because, though his is a complicated story of personal evolution — an evolution that continued even after his death — the lesson he offers about the importance of change has been constant throughout the decades.

During his life Malcolm X was already reinventing himself, from a troubled youth to an advocate of black separatism to a human-rights activist. Similarly, his legacy has grown after his death, from a reputation as a dangerous rabble-rouser to that of an American icon. At the heart of his new-found status is an of persistence in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. These days, his belief that black lives do matter even if the world suggests otherwise, and that it’s possible to create transformation, is particularly resonant.

“Most of his career is about opposition, cynicism, pessimism, but there’s a positive side—a kind of deep self-respect and pride and sense of defiance,” explains Tommie Shelby, Harvard University professor of African and African American Studies. “That sense of spirit and militancy in the face of oppression and what looks like pretty low prospects for things getting better is what people are attracted to in him.”

Malcolm X’s autobiography, which was co-written by Alex Haley and released in the months following its namesake’s death, is at the heart of the change in public perception of him. The work careens through a life rife with drugs, crime violence and advocacy for ideas that were as controversial then as they are now. But, as Shelby notes, that’s not what lingers in the mind of the reader.

As the autobiography recounts, the author and activist, then called Malcolm Little, moved to Harlem as a young man to try to make a living and escape the tragedy of his childhood. His father had been killed in a mysterious train accident and his mother had been committed to a mental institution. Malcolm was smart, and knew it, but felt the world presented him with few options outside of crime. Without “the white man’s American social system” he and his counterparts “might have probed space, or cured cancer, or built industries,” he wrote.

This is the world Malcolm, in his own retelling of his life, defies. The way in which he challenges oppression is less significant than the act of actually doing it. Indeed, Malcolm defies the system in many ways, in rapid succession. He goes from being a child in Michigan, who strove to conform, to a devout advocate for Sunni Islam. He takes stops in between as a black separatist, a professional criminal and a pensive convict. His life is one of perpetual rebirth—and that’s still what appeals about him.

The transfiguring impact of his assassination, which had been noted by TIME, also affected the book. His story took on a whole new life, one less associated with racial separatism than with perseverance. The fact that his death was likely at the hands of assailants from the Nation of Islam—a deeply controversial organization that he had repudiated shortly before—likely provided the extra boost to make him a credible figure in the American zeitgeist.

“Many prominent black leaders thought that Malcolm X’s influence would quickly and quietly disappear,” says Christopher Strain, professor of history at Florida Atlantic University. “The autobiography made Malcolm a kind of ideological hero, especially among black youth.”

Case in point: In the immediate years following TIME’s portrayal of Malcolm as a thief, the magazine changed course. In 1970, TIME noted that Malcolm should and would be viewed as more than “a byproduct of the rage and rhetoric” of race politics. At the turn of the century, more than three decades after he was killed, the magazine declared The Autobiography of Malcolm X one of the ten most groundbreaking books of the 20th century. Malcolm X’s had told a “haunting tale of racial persecution and rebirth” that “changed minds and lives.”

By that time, Spike Lee had released his film biopic Malcolm X, with Denzel Washington playing the title role, and Public Enemy had sampled the leader’s speeches in their music. Even figures like President Barack Obama pointed to Malcolm X’s change in approach late in life and embraced his legacy.

“His repeated acts of self-creation spoke to me; the blunt poetry of his words, his unadorned insistence on respect, promised a new and uncompromising order, martial in its discipline, forged through sheer force of will,” Obama wrote in his memoir, Dreams from My Father. Obama also noted that Malcolm had “safely abandoned” his more problematic views at the end of his life.

And, at a time when protests over racial issues continue to sweep America, Malcolm X continues to inspire. When asked about the relevance of Malcolm X today, Alicia Garza—who helped organize the #BlackLivesMatter movement—seems like she doesn’t know where to begin.

“What was so powerful about Malcolm was that he was courageous enough to change his mind and courageous enough to admit that he made mistakes,” she says. “What we are inspired by and hoping to embody is that spirit of curiosity and experimentation and innovation.”

Read TIME’s 1965 report on the assassination of Malcolm X, free of charge, here in the archives: Death and Transfiguration

TIME

Rep. John Lewis: Selma Made Obama Presidency Possible

"I don't think as a group we had any idea that our marching feet would have such an impact 50 years later," Representative John Lewis said Sunday

Georgia Congressman John Lewis said President Obama likely wouldn’t have been elected President if it weren’t for the historic march in Selma, Ala., that he helped lead as a student organizer 50 years ago.

“If it hadn’t been for that march across Edmund Pettus Bridge on Bloody Sunday, there would be no Barack Obama as President of the United States of America,” Lewis said during an interview on CBS’s Face the Nation.

In his last election, President Obama received over 90% of the black vote. Some 50 years ago, Lewis was among the many civil rights leaders marching and advocating to make those votes possible.

On March 7, 1965, hundreds of nonviolent protesters marched across the bridge as a part of an ongoing effort to secure voting rights for black Americans. That day, though, Alabama police met the protesters with violent force. Many, including Lewis, suffered serious injury. “I don’t think as a group we had any idea that our marching feet would have such an impact 50 years later,” Lewis said Sunday.

[Huffington Post]

TIME Civil Rights

How Marriage Equality in Alabama Is Not Like the Civil Rights Movement

Alabama's governor George Wallace (L) fa
OFF / AFP/Getty Images Alabama's governor George Wallace (L) faces General Henry Graham, in Tuscaloosa, on June 12, 1963, at the University of Alabama

"The fundamental difference is that accepting gays and lesbians and their rights is not nearly as painful," says one historian of the Civil Rights era

Here’s an SAT-level analogy question: Is Chief Justice Roy Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court to the marriage equality movement what Alabama Governor George Wallace was to the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s?

The comparison is an easy one to make, and numerous outlets drew the connection on Monday, in the aftermath of Moore’s attempt to halt same-sex marriages in his state. Facing integration of the University of Alabama in 1963, which had been mandated years earlier by Brown v. Board of Education, Wallace tried to block the change and was met by National Guard troops. This week, Moore defied a federal District Court ruling by ordering local probate judges not to license same-sex marriages, a bold challenge to the established principle of federal supremacy over state courts. In short, both Wallace and Moore relied on states’ rights claims to defy the federal government’s demand for social change.

Still, while some may see Moore’s last stand as a symbolic stand like Wallace’s, historians say the difference in context suggests that Moore is more likely to disappear with a whimper than a bang. Wallace was a martyr for a population heavily invested in the status quo. Moore is a martyr for a population resigned to change.

“Wallace was riding the segregation wave at its height,” says Dan Carter, author of George Wallace biography The Politics of Rage. “The fundamental difference is that accepting gays and lesbians and their rights is not nearly as painful. I think the gay issue, even in the deep South, in the most conservative areas, it’s kind of a resigned acceptance.”

An analysis of demographic and voting data by the New York Times suggests that two-thirds of state residents are likely opposed to the unions. But opposition today is not nearly as strong as white southerners’ opposition to civil rights for black Americans was in 1963, Carter says, pointing to Southern newspaper coverage. In the 1960s, few Alabama newspapers would dare publish anything sympathetic to civil rights, according to Carter. On Monday, when same-sex marriages began, the state’s largest newspaper said it was an “extraordinary day.”

And, though a conflict between the state and federal governments persists — probate judges in some Alabama counties aren’t issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, citing Moore’s guidance — it remains unclear how the federal government will respond. At this point, it seems unlikely that such a response would mirror what happened in the 1960s.

“Bobby Kennedy was willing to bring in federal marshals, willing to nationalize the National Guard in states,” says University of Alabama history professor Glenn Feldman, referring to the then-Attorney General’s response to Wallace in the 1960s. “I’m not sure if the federal government today has the political backbone or will to make people respect it.”

Whether or not the White House ultimately cracks down on wayward Alabama judges, it’s hard to imagine that the situation would escalate as it did in 1963, when President John F. Kennedy sent in the National Guard to force integration. That’s because, in all likelihood, such measures would probably be unnecessary. Some of the judges under Moore’s purview ignored his order, and others said they’re waiting for clarification. Furthermore, Moore only has authority over the state’s judicial employees, not the state troopers and others whom Wallace used to fight integration.

Today, conservative Alabama Governor Robert Bentley seems sympathetic to Moore and hasn’t tried to restrict him. (He’s said he doesn’t want to “further complicate this issue.”) But he also seems likely to comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling. “The issue of same sex marriage will be finally decided by the U.S. Supreme Court later this year,” he said in a statement. “I have great respect for the legal process, and the protections that the law provides for our people.”

For his part, President Obama — who has addressed the comparison to Wallace — also seems to believe that the courts can take care of this issue on their own, without the kind of intervention that was necessitated five decades ago. “I think that the courts at the federal level will have something to say to him,” he told BuzzFeed News about Roy Moore this week.

So, the states’-rights justifications for Wallace and Moore may be the same, but historical distinctions mean the resolution to Moore’s defiance is likely to be far less dramatic than Wallace’s was.

There is one more difference between them, however, and it suggests that such a resolution may not be the end of Moore’s story: Moore may not be ready to give up, even when moving on makes political sense. Wallace’s opposition to integration was driven by a political desire to win over his constituents, Feldman and Carter note, so he changed his views when it was no longer advantageous for him to oppose civil rights. Looking at Moore, however, they see someone whose deeply-held religious beliefs may lead him to push his authority further, even as the opinions of those around him evolve.

“He actually believes this stuff,” says Feldman. “He actually believes in his heart of hearts that the federal government is not a position to tell states what to do.”

TIME Race

Minorities Face Significant Barriers to Home Ownership in the U.S., Report Says

'It's clear that the housing playing field remains strikingly unequal in this country'

Minorities continue to face significant barriers to home ownership in the U.S., according to a new report.

The report, released by online real estate database Zillow, shows a significant disparity in home ownership, property values and home loan approval rates between white and minority communities.

Read More: The Long, Tangled Roots of the Michael Brown Shooting

More than 25% of loan applications by black applicants in the U.S. are denied, compared with 10% of their white counterparts, the report found. Additionally, nearly three in four white Americans own their homes, compared to less than half of black and Hispanic Americans.

The value of homes owned by minorities also tended to be less stable. While prices in white neighborhoods have largely recovered from the economic downturn of 2008, home prices in predominantly black and Hispanic neighborhoods remain well below peak levels.

“It’s clear that the housing playing field remains strikingly unequal in this country,” Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries said in a statement.

TIME Courts

Gay Marriage Begins in Alabama Despite Top Judge’s Order

State Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy S. Moore had told local judges not to issue licenses

Local officials in Alabama began issuing marriage licenses for same-sex couples Monday, after the state’s top judge set up a high-stakes legal showdown with a federal court when he ordered local judges not to comply with a ruling legalizing gay marriage in the state.

“Effective immediately, no Probate Judge of the State of Alabama nor any agent or employee of any Alabama Probate Judge shall issue or recognize a marriage license that is inconsistent with [state law],”Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy S. Moore said in an order. He explained his move as “necessary for the orderly administration of justice within the state.”

The U.S. Supreme Court denied the state’s request to stop same-sex marriages in Alabama on Monday morning, and there were scattered reports of judges issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples as expected. A United States district court ruled last month that Alabama must issue same-sex marriage licenses starting Monday. Moore issued his order when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene.

MORE: Gay Marriage and the Law of the Land

Moore wrote that his order protects both the U.S. and Alabama constitutions. But the move, a dramatic challenge to the authority of the federal judiciary, drew quick condemnation in legal circles. Federal courts supersede state courts and Moore lacks the authority to disregard a federal court decision, they said.

His move also drew comparison the state’s attempts to avoid implementing federal court decisions during the civil rights era. Then-Gov. George Wallace made a similar states’ rights argument when he famously tried to block the implementation of a federal order to integrate the University of Alabama in 1963.

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