Sunday, December 28, 2008

Addressing CA's Prop 8... Part 1

I started writing this thinking I could fit it in one post, but then my friend posted the story of Mildred and Richard Loving, and I decided that there was no way anyone would read this all in one post, so I think it will be a two or three part series.

Obviously from the title, you can see I disagree with CA's Prop 8 (Constitutional Amendment) which defined marriage as being a union between a man and a woman.

Stealing shamelessly from my friend Schokolade Maedchen's post Loving Beyond Black and White.


Mildred Loving had no intention of being a civil-rights hero. She and her husband simply wanted to go home. And that wish turned the soft-spoken Loving into a crusader who struck down laws prohibiting interracial couples from marrying.

Mildred Jeter, who was African- and Native-American, and Richard Loving, who was white, first met as children in Central Point, Va. In 1958, they traveled to Washington, D.C., to wed, because interracial couples could not marry in Virginia. They didn't raise a ruckus over flouting the Virginia law, they simply returned home to live their lives. But a month later the police raided their home in the middle of the night and arrested them for "cohabiting as man and wife, against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth." Richard spent a night in jail. Mildred, who was pregnant at the time, was jailed for five days. They pleaded guilty and the judge in the case sentenced them each to a year in prison, but suspended the sentence provided they left Virginia and did not return together for 25 years. During the sentencing, Judge Leon Bazile said that God never intended for the races to mix, so their marriage was an abomination.

The Lovings moved to Washington and had three children, but they missed the rural Virginia town where they grew up and fell in love, and where their family still lived. In 1963, as Congress was preparing to pass the Civil Rights Act, Mildred wrote a letter to Attorney General Robert Kennedy, asking if this new law would allow them to go home. The answer was no, but he referred the Lovings to the ACLU, which immediately took up the case.

On June 12, 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in their favor. In the decision, Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote, "[t]he freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men." At the time, 16 states had laws against interracial marriage — Maryland's anti-miscegenation law was overturned a few months before the ruling. They were all struck down.

And the Lovings went back to their life. Richard, a bricklayer, built them a house in Central Point. Mildred raised their children. In 1975, Richard was killed in a car accident. Mildred, who never remarried, died on May 2, 2008 in the house Richard built her.

Mildred Loving was, by all accounts, a humble woman who never considered herself a hero. She rarely talked to the press, but in 2007, in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision, she issued a statement that was read at the National Press Club. She and her husband didn't get married "to make a political statement or start a fight. We were in love, and we wanted to be married," she wrote. "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. ... That's what Loving [the decision], and loving, are all about."

—Anna Ditkoff


Think about it and come back for Part II!


m-m-m-melissa said...

AMEN, SISTER. i concur. and i leave you with this thought: is gay the new black?

Maria said...

Hey! No jumping ahead! ;-)

m-m-m-melissa said...

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!! i am a mind-reader. : )

♥Joy♥ said...

Hey Maria,

I have a question for you about the Fuzzi Bunz. Actually, it's not about the FB's as much as it is about "gdiapers". They are kind of like FB's but instead of a Hemp Insert it's a disposable insert. If you could e mail me, I'd appreciate it.

Thanks =D

Rebecca said...

Looking forward to the next parts. I don't understand why people can't see this for what it is - two loving people who want to get married. Why is that so wrong?

maggie's mind said...

I will not ever really understand why it's ever anyone else's business who decides to become legally entangled with whom, regardless of reason if both parties wish it to be so and since it takes nothing away from anyone else. Also, this is a beautiful post, and I look forward to the next part.

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