Gay marriage,  Law,  Stateside

Virginia: then and now

It was almost half a century ago that the US Supreme Court, in the case of Loving vs. Virginia, unanimously upheld the right of a man and a woman of different races to marry by declaring state anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional.

One of the states which banned interracial marriages was Virginia. On April 10, 1967, Virginia’s Assistant Attorney General R. D. McIlwaine III unsuccessfully argued before the high court that the law protected the state from the “sociological [and] psychological evils which attend interracial marriages.” McIlwaine cited academic research that suggested “that intermarried families are subjected to much greater pressures and problems than those of the intramarried and that the state’s prohibition of interracial marriage for this reason stands on the same footing as the prohibition of polygamous marriage, or incestuous marriage or the prescription of minimum ages at which people may marry and the prevention of the marriage of people who are mentally incompetent.”

Today a more closely divided Supreme Court affirmed the right of same-sex couples to marry in all 50 states.

Martha MacCallum, Fox News’s moron du jour, wondered what in this decision prevents three people from getting married.

Perhaps the same thing that has prevented them from getting married in the 48 years since Loving vs. Virginia?

Virginia’s current Attorney General Mark Herring emailed the following statement:

Today, the United States Supreme Court, in an historic ruling, extended marriage equality to all 50 states.

This is an extraordinary moment in our nation’s history. No American can be denied the dignity, rights and responsibilities of being able to marry the person they love. And I want to thank and congratulate all those who have fought for decades for this moment. Your passion and sacrifice has changed history.

It has been one of the highest honors of my career to join a long line of leaders and activists in helping our Commonwealth lead the nation on this civil rights issue after Virginia spent decades on the wrong side of the struggle for equality.

Our work to achieve equality and a level playing field for every Virginian is not done, but today’s ruling is a giant step in that direction.

For the court majority Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote:

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.

Former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee seems to be advocating massive resistance.