If you’re one of the 72 percent who support same sex marriage, it’s time to start making some noise.
When Richard and Mildred Loving (yes, their real names) got married in 1962, they had to choose their location carefully. In fact they had to leave Virginia, the state where they lived.
You see, Richard was white and Mildred was black and in America in the 1960s, this made their marriage illegal in 16 states including their own. Returning home after their honeymoon, police broke into their bedroom in the middle of the night and arrested them.
Much to the disappointment of authorities, Richard and Mildred weren’t having sex at the time so they couldn’t be charged with the crime of ‘interracial intercourse’. Yes. Two people of different races having sex was a crime back then. The bewildered couple were still hauled off to jail and charged for being married. The judge ruled their vows null and void, noting that “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay and red and He placed them on separate continents. The fact that He separated the races shows that He did not intend for the races to mix”.
Richard and Mildred were forced to move to Washington DC where their marriage was recognised but after a few years they were desperate to visit their family and friends in Virginia. Facing arrest if they returned home, two civil rights lawyers took their case to the US Supreme Court where the judges overturned the Interracial Marriage Act in 1967. In their unanimous ruling, they noted that: “The freedom to marry has long been recognised as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men” (and women one would assume). Happy and orderly. Amen to that.
The idea of two people being banned from marriage because their skin didn’t match is a preposterous and offensive one to consider in 2015.