The Wednesday Pop Culture Rant has been thinking about Loving v Virginia, the 1967 Supreme Court decision that struck down the prohibition to interracial marriage in the United States. Mildred and Richard Loving slept in their bed in Central Point, Virginia one night when the police broke in to arrest them for “cohabiting as man and wife, against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth.” Mildred was black and Richard was white. They had married in Washington D.C. to avoid Virginia’s anti-miscegenation law, but an “anonymous” tip got them busted anyway. The Rant is guessing they didn’t throw many block parities in that neighborhood.
The judge in the Virginia case, Leon M. Bazile, wrote:
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.
Using God to justify discrimination. Where has The Rant heard that recently? The parallels between the Loving case and the recent decision to allow same-sex marriage are astounding. Including the hysteria in the aftermath. Some judges in the South refused to abide by the decision until the federal government had to get involved in 1970. People clamored that because a majority opposed interracial marriage, it should somehow negate the rights of individuals. A majority of Americans wouldn’t endorse the idea until 1991.
So just because Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk that won’t issue marriage licenses to gay couples, decided to hold her breath until she got her way, let’s not pretend the world is coming to an end. These things take time. Davis, by the way, has benefited her entire life from a big ole serving of nepotism, working for her mother in the clerk’s office for years before taking over herself and hiring her son. Because America. And Freedom!
Davis has also been married four times, which doesn’t count according to her supporters, because she hadn’t found the loving arms of salvation yet. But let’s just suppose a clerk had denied her a marriage license because her religious beliefs forbade divorce. Although The Rant assumes her mother just kept stamping out the licenses with her fingers crossed each time.
The war is over on interracial and same-sex marriage. There will be sighing, and the wringing of hands, and dark prophecies of doom and judgement, but it won’t change the final outcome. We will need to remain vigilant against pockets of resistance, but how about we turn our attention to some real problems like income disparity and the lack of meaningful work and the deteriorating relationship between the police and the people they are supposed to serve and protect.
The Rant believes Mildred Loving said it best in 2007, shortly before her death (Richard had died years earlier in a car accident):
Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, 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. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people’s civil rights.
Never has a person had a more appropriate last name.