It hasn’t been that long: Loving vs. Virginia #MarriageEquality

As the US Supreme Court prepares to decide on marriage equality cases, taking a look back to one of the first cases fighting for the right to marry becomes all the more important.

Loving v VirginiaIn 1967, not even 50 years ago, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in the Loving v. Virginia case. For those who don’t know, the aptly named Loving couple, Richard and Mildred, committed what was then considered an unlawful act; the couple — a white man and a black woman — fell in love and married.

Laws supporting racial segregation and anti-miscegenation were very much alive and well;  the Lovings were sentenced to a year in jail for marrying one another.

Fast forward to today.

Perhaps when the Court hands down its decision about the right of LGBT couples to marry, they will remember that their predecessors on the bench were on the right side of history.  At that time the Court said, ”There can be no doubt that restricting the freedom to marry solely because of racial classifications violates the central meaning of the equal protection clause.” Substitute “racial classifications” for “sexual orientation” and the decision should be an easy one.

Though the anti-miscegenation laws were struck down, the problem of discrimination and prejudice based on race is far from over as evidenced by the hoopla and racist commentary directed at the Cheerios cereal advertisement featuring the young biracial child of an interracial couple.

This nation still has an incredibly long way to go towards full maturity and acceptance of the very differences and similarities that have made this nation great.

The Lovings will forever be owed a debt of gratitude for paving the way for marriage equality for all people of all stripes.


Photo credit due to the Human Rights Campaign
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