Roy Moore's move to block gay marriage in Alabama is drawing comparisons to George Wallace's "stand in the schoolhouse door" in 1963, as Philip Bump wrote just a moment ago.
Back in 2000, Alabama became the last state in the country to overturn its ban on interracial marriage. And despite more than three decades having passed since the Supreme Court ruled such laws unconstitutional (rendering such bans effectively moot), more than 40 percent of Alabamians still voted against overturning it.
It's worth noting, though, that support for interracial marriage hasn't progressed as quickly as some might think. Gallup polling in 1997 showed 27 percent of people opposed marriage between blacks and whites. In 2002, it was at 29 percent -- far less then 40 percent, yes, but still a significant chunk of Americans. Nationwide opposition dropped to 11 percent by 2011 and 2013.
Alabama wasn't without some company, either. South Carolina was the second-to-last state to get rid of its interracial marriage ban in 1998, with 38 percent voting against doing so. But again, Alabama was last.
Alabama's gay marriage ban was also one of the most strongly supported in the country.
Its 2006 ban passed with the support of 81 percent of voters in the state. The only other state with a more overwhelming vote against gay marriage was neighboring Mississippi in 2004 (86 percent). Tennessee tied Alabama for second, at 81 percent, also in 2006. (All the numbers can be found here.)
The state is also trying to rid itself of racist, segregation-era provisions in its state Constitution.
Alabama voters in 2004 narrowly rejected a measure that included language that would have overturned the part of the Constitution that required separate schools for white children and "colored children" and eliminated references to poll taxes, which were once used to disenfranchise black voters.
The measure, though, also included language that struck the part of the constitution stating that children were not guaranteed the right to a public education. Opponents of the change argued that this would have led to increased taxes; Moore himself called it "the most deceptive piece of legislation I have ever seen." A similar measure failed by 20 points in 2012 without this language, after teachers and legislators opposed it.
These measures, we would emphasize, were largely symbolic, as the Supreme Court had long since weighed in on desegregation and interracial marriage.
But if past is prologue, it wouldn't be surprising to see the same thing happen on gay marriage -- even if the Supreme Court legalizes gay marriage nationwide this summer.