After The Lovings

2 comments May 5th, 2008at 09:31pm Posted by Eli

Another American hero gone:

Mildred Loving was a black woman who married a white man in Virginia, which was against the law in the state. She took her case all the way up to the Supreme Court, which struck down interracial marriage bans in the 1967 Loving v. Virginia decision. Today it was announced that she has died at the age of 68. But what her AP obituary doesn’t mention—hopefully others will correct the oversight—is that last year Mildred Loving came out foursquare for marriage equality for same-sex couples as well, and insisted you should, too. Here was her statement:

We didn’t get married in Washington because we wanted to marry there. We did it there
because the government wouldn’t allow us to marry back home in Virginia where we
grew up, where we met, where we fell in love, and where we wanted to be together and
build our family. You see, I am a woman of color and Richard was white, and at that
time people believed it was okay to keep us from marrying because of their ideas of who
should marry whom.

When Richard and I came back to our home in Virginia, happily married, we had no
intention of battling over the law. We made a commitment to each other in our love and
lives, and now had the legal commitment, called marriage, to match. Isn’t that what
marriage is?

Not long after our wedding, we were awakened in the middle of the night in our own
bedroom by deputy sheriffs and actually arrested for the “crime” of marrying the wrong
kind of person. Our marriage certificate was hanging on the wall above the bed.

The state prosecuted Richard and me, and after we were found guilty, the judge declared:
“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.”
He sentenced us to a year in prison, but offered to suspend the sentence if we left our home in Virginia for 25 years exile.

We left, and got a lawyer. Richard and I had to fight, but still were not fighting for a
cause. We were fighting for our love.

Though it turned out we had to fight, happily Richard and I didn’t have to fight alone.
Thanks to groups like the ACLU and the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, and
so many good people around the country willing to speak up, we took our case for the
freedom to marry all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. And on June 12, 1967, the
Supreme Court ruled unanimously that, “The freedom to marry has long been recognized
as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free
men,” a “basic civil right.”


Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that
I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to
have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the
“wrong kind of person” for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no
matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over
others. Especially if it denies people’s civil rights.

I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court
case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so
many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the
freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.

Two things jump out at me here:

1) Mildred Loving is awesome, and she recognizes that prohibiting same-sex marriages now is the same kind of injustice as preventing mixed-race marriages was then.

2) Since when is “God created the races separate” any kind of recognizable or acceptable legal argument?  I thought our system of law was supposed to be based on the Constitution and not the Bible.  I wish there were a way to remove judges when they demonstrate themselves to be manifestly unqualified or unfit for their positions.

Entry Filed under: Judiciary,Racism,Religion,Republicans,Teh Gay


  • 1. Spear and Magic  |  May 5th, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    > I wish there were a way to remove judges when they demonstrate
    > themselves to be manifestly unqualified or unfit for their positions.

    Federal judges can be impeached. (Good luck with that.) So can most state judges. Many state and local judges are (sadly) elected (pander much?), or subject to recall.

    I think that the corresponding biblical precedent in bigoted thought about same-sex marriage is the shopworn case of Adam v. Steve. See also Ham being cursed for stumbling upon his drunken naked father. How totally gay is that!? Nice link there between hatred of blacks and hatred of homosexuals in that tale: it’s a twofer.

    Nice Englebert Humperdinck nod in the title, btw.

  • 2. Eli  |  May 5th, 2008 at 10:43 pm

    Yeah, I know about judicial impeachment, but it’s very rare, and I don’t think incompetence is sufficient grounds.

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