While the lawyers and avid supporters of Kim Davis compare her to President Abraham Lincoln, the Rev. Martin Luther King, and civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks, actor and activist George Takei has another take on the anti-gay government employee.
Kim Davis reminds him of racist Alabama Gov. George Wallace who played to the crowd and attempted to stop the desegregation by standing in the doors of a Birmingham public school.
Writing for MSNBC, Takei said of the county clerk who went to jail rather than issue marriage licenses to same sex couples,"When I view her behavior, however, I am reminded of a different character from the early civil rights era: Gov. George Wallace of Alabama. For those who weren’t born yet or simply don’t remember, Wallace was a staunch and vocal opponent to racial desegregation. For him, the sanctity of white privilege was a cherished way of life. When he took the oath of office, standing on the same spot where Jefferson Davis was inaugurated as the President of the Confederacy more than 100 years earlier, Wallace famously proclaimed, 'I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.'"
According to Takei, there is no difference between segregation and banning same-sex marriages, with both being a part of a "belief system" they see being dismantled before their eyes.
"Here, marriage equality, like desegregation, tells an already wary conservative base that their belief system, and their exclusion of certain members of society from rights and privileges they themselves enjoy, is not only wrong but illegal," he wrote. "The weight of the law, once so firmly in their grip, has suddenly now shifted to operate against them, and now they are the ones who will go to jail if they don’t concede defeat."
Among other similarities, Takei notes that both Wallace and Davis came to their views later -- with Davis racking up four marriages and having children out of wedlock amid charges of adultery before becoming a Christian -- and Wallace becoming the most prominent bigot in America in order to be reelected.
"Wallace discovered that Alabama voters were genuinely afraid of what desegregation would mean for their communities, and he shifted quickly to run on a staunchly segregationist platform," Takei explained. "When asked why by 1962 he had started using racist messaging in his campaign, Wallace was blunt: 'You know, I tried to talk about good roads and good schools and all these things that have been part of my career, and nobody listened. And then I began talking about n*****s, and they stomped the floor.'"
Takei concludes by pointing out that just as Americans now view Wallace's actions with distaste, they will one day look back on the antics of Davis "and wonder above all why so many stood with her."