Monday, May 05, 2008

Mildred Loving

Mildred Loving died last Friday at the age of 68. Fifty years ago almost to the month (June), she married a white man. They lived in Virginia, but traveled to DC to get married. When they returned to their home in Virginia, they awoke one night to a sheriff and five deputies standing around their bed shining flashlights in their eyes. Richard ran to his dresser to produce the marriage license, "We're married."

The sheriff declared, "Not in this state, you're not."

The two were arrested at once for violating the The Racial Integrity Act against interracial marriages. The knuckle-dragging Neanderthal judge Leon Bazile pronounced:

Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.

The state knew better than to imprison the otherwise law abiding couple, so the one year prison sentence was suspended provided they leave the state. They moved to DC. The reader can easily explore further if interested, but they pushed over dominoes that led to the Supreme Court, which ended the nonsense in a unanimous decision. Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote:

Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival.... To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discrimination. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.

Mildred Loving did not live to see a man of colored skin win the presidency or even the nomination of his party, but she saw both Obama and Hillary become contenders. I don't know which of the following will happen first:

1. Election of African American to the White House
2. Election of a woman to the White House
3. Equal rights for all sexual preferences

I am very clear which will happen last.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. It's good to be reminded that the same arguments used against interracial marriage are used today to deny the legality of same-sex unions.

5/05/2008 6:35 PM  

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