Pam Keith on Civil Rights
A: From 0-6, I didn't even know I was "black." I was just an American and a girl. I was introduced to race as an issue when "Roots" came on TV. It was very traumatic for me to learn that I descended from people who were so profoundly abused, because I wanted to go back in time and stop slavery and get justice. I didn't relate any of that to my own existence until I moved to Kentucky when my Mom got a scholarship to attend UK. Racism was alive and real, and palpable. By then, I had developed a habit of accepting people and expecting them to be basically good. So I considered the mean folks in Kentucky to be sad aberrations, people who were just ignorant and unhappy. I didn't really focus on race issues again until I was a teenager in a racially mixed school, and chose to embrace African American culture. That choice was central to me feeling good about myself and who I am, without sacrificing my love and acceptance of others.
First, I believe firmly and unequivocally in the right of Americans to marry whom they love and to be treated as full and equal citizens under the law. I have never heard a good argument for denying our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters the right to marry. The law outlines the rules necessary for us to be free to make our own choices without trespassing on each other. But the law governs one's actions, not one's morals. Neither the government, nor any group of individuals, has the right to make moral judgments for the rest of us, or society as a whole. So long as what you do does not harm others, they have no right to prohibit you from doing it simply because they find it distasteful. If the law is going to give special status to loving, committed heterosexual couples, it must do so for same-sex couples as well.
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Retiring in 2014 election:
Retired as of Jan. 2013:
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Senate Votes (analysis)