The Loving Decision

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Same-sex marriage was beaten back at the ballot box. Now here's a history lesson on why victory is inevitable in the long run.
November 15, 2008


"...Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving got married in Washington, D.C. They went home to Virginia, there to be rousted out of their bed one night by police and charged with a felony.

"...It turned out that it wasn't just the state that hated the idea of black people marrying white people. God was onboard, too, according to the trial judge, who wrote, 'The fact that He separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.'

"But the Supreme Court, which eventually heard the case, passed over the Almighty for the Constitution, which luckily has an equal-protection clause. 'Marriage is one of the basic civil rights of man,' the unanimous opinion striking down the couple's conviction said, 'fundamental to our very existence and survival.'

"...That was in 1967.

"Fast-forward to Election Day 2008, and a flurry of state ballot propositions to outlaw gay marriage, all of which were successful. This is the latest wedge issue of the good-old-days crowd, supplanting abortion and immigration.

"...'I think the day will come when the lesbian and gay community will have its own Loving v. Virginia,' says David Buckel, the Marriage Project director for Lambda Legal."