“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.”
–Justice Leon M. Bazile, Virginia, 1959
Forty-seven years ago this week, in a unanimous decision, the US Supreme Court made it legal for interracial couples to marry in all of the fifty states.
Forty-seven years ago, or seven years before I was born.
Apollo 11 launched in the summer of 1969, so to put it another way, in 1967, in a country that was just two years away from putting a man on the moon, you could still be sent to prison for being in an interracial relationship.
Unlike the current state of same-sex marriage, where states that have not legalized it simply ignore marriages between gay couples that took place in other states, prior to the Loving v. Virginia decision, states where interracial marriage was illegal most definitely recognized interracial marriages that took place elesewhere. The Lovings’ marriage certificate was the smoking gun in the state’s criminal case against them.
I’m black and my girlfriend is white. It blows my mind that seven years before I was born, we could have been sent to prison for the crime of falling in love with each other.
Next week I’ll be officiating my first wedding. It will be a marriage between two men. If you’re reading this, you probably agree with me, but there is simply no credible argument against gay marriage. None. I’ve been listening intently for one my entire adult life and I haven’t heard it yet. Anyone who says that opposing marriage equality is about not redefining traditional marriage is either a liar or ignorant of history. And being ignorant of history that’s younger (or not much older) than you are is a special kind of ignorant.
Perhaps an institution with a fifty percent failure rate should be redefined, as it has been several times over the years (from its roots in this country as a transfer of female property from a white father to his white son-in-law) to accommodate the expansion of freedom to slaves, women and ethnic minorities.
In a non-legal sense, I hope that everyone who gets married “redefines” marriage on their own terms. Why should anyone outside of the relationship dictate what the relationship should be? Have the relationship you want. Marry the person you want. Fuck the haters. Fuck ‘em in the ear.