Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Loving Day

For those who were unaware, today was Loving Day, the fortieth anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia that guaranteed the rights of interracial couples to marry in the United States. It's too late to do justice to that important event, so I'll just point out Laurel's wonderful post yesterday on BMG on the subject. Laurel quotes then Chief Justice Earl Warren:

Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival. To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.
In addition, I encourage everyone to check out this profile of the case from NPR. The story has some quotes from Bernard Cohen, an ACLU attorney who took the case. Here's what he said in front of the Supreme Court forty years ago:
"The Lovings have the right to go to sleep at night knowing that if should they not wake in the morning, their children would have the right to inherit from them. They have the right to be secure in knowing that, if they go to sleep and do not wake in the morning, that one of them, a survivor of them, has the right to Social Security benefits. All of these are denied to them, and they will not be denied to them if the whole anti-miscegenistic scheme of Virginia... [is] found unconstitutional."
I also believe that same-sex couples also deserve those same rights and that those rights are not something that should be in danger of being taken away by a majority vote. I hope that a 3/4 majority of legislators feel the same way at Thursday's Constitutional Convention, or failing that, their vote can be postponed until they can be convinced that marriage equality should be protected in Massachusetts.