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The Blog of the U.S.'s first GLBTI-specific Wedding and Events firm. Discussion spot for clients and visitors to interact with staff and experts, in an informal forum, regarding Gay Weddings or Same-Sex Marriage, LGBT weddings and Traditional weddings and other issues affecting the GLBTI.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

The Impact of Loving in 2007?
Happy Anniversary?

Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967), was a landmark civil rights case in which the United States Supreme Court declared Virginia's anti-miscegenation statute, the "Racial Integrity Act of 1924", unconstitutional, thereby ending all race-based legal restrictions on marriage in the United States.(wikipedia)
On June 12, 1967 a momentous decision rocked Virginia and the nation. This ruling broke down a major barrier for couples in love.

That is the date that Loving vs. Virginia was decided, abolishing Virginia's Anti-Miscegenation laws. People of mixed races (in this case, at the time, a 'Negro' woman and white man) could now marry. This was a tremendous step for marriage equality in this nation. What is its impact today? Are we not a nation 40 years more civilized, more informed and less afraid? Are we willing to face the truth in the answer to that question?

Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving, already married nearly ten years before, returned to their home state where they were faced with imprisonment and the ire of their community. They were not permitted to remain in their home State. They were considered 'felons' simply because they loved and married. You can read the opinion summary by clicking the source link.
"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." - Mildred (Jeter) Loving
Do GLBTI people have the right to be inspired and buoyed by this historic decision? Perhaps so. The decision proves that at least sometimes, fairness and equality win out over bigotry, ignorance, fear and hatred. How much hope can we rationally afford to have in this day and time--- a time where, clearly, the politics of GLBTI scapegoating and oppression are thriving? Is hope enough?

Can we expect the demonstrated courage, fairness and humane treatment illustrated by the decision to see light today? There is no gray area in equality. If there is then it "ain't" equal.

Our United States Supreme Court decided, in Loving, that:

"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." (Wikipedia)
Now, the plaintiffs did not represent GLBTI people's interest in the matter. However there are many parallels between the form of oppression, and the timbre of the zeitgeist in the country, the Lovings endured that which is fighting to live unrestricted today.

Much like the Lovings: gays, lesbians, bisexual, transgender and intersex citizens are looked upon as unbearable and villainous. We are loudly, overtly and commonly reviled, taunted, berated and abused by people who do not like us or with whom or how we express the love in our hearts.

It is interesting that the "n" word, in their time, was freely thrown around publicly and as shamelessly as the "f" word is today. It is tolerated on a virtually equal scale.

Also, the Lovings were hated immediately and for no other reason than the 'majority' felt justified in their racism and ordained and blessed by their "higher power". Today those same short-sighted, oppressive feelings thrive. Have we learned nothing?

One difference from the case is that our would-be plaintiffs represent the entire spectrum of humanity. From every culture, background, country, color... perhaps the Lovings represented, in their time, only the damage being done to black and white couples in love. So their experience is not exactly the same.

Their courage, however, is inspiring and proves that sanity can win over baseless rancor and discrimination when reasonable decision makers consider the facts.

There is no impact on one's neighbor down the street when one is permitted to marry the person whom they choose to love. A person's ability to marry another of the same gender has no power to convince a straight person not to procreate, thereby "destroying marriage". The evidence is shown by each and every person one sees or has ever seen. Each one of us exists as a result of procreation but guess what? GLBTI persons have been around from the beginning of time and there are record numbers of births worldwide. Procreation, for millennia, has not ceased. The counter argument, therefore, is moot and laughable.

The loudest or most numerous 'voice' isn't correct in every instance. Imagine the shrieks of the fabled "lemmings" as they followed, blindly, the march into the sea. Can that same chant be heard today? It appears so. It's being shouted as fervently, devoutly and viciously as ever.

As the fortieth anniversary of Loving vs. Virginia approaches, let's not be afraid to give thanks to the universe that someone dared to love and be loved. Let's rejoice in the bravery that this couple's actions represented. Are we not as capable of loving our mate, and our fellow citizen, enough to fight rigorously for what is fair, correct, rational and constitutionally assured. It seems nobody can cite the passage that reads "All men are created equal...except the gays, two spirits or absolutely anyone else that "we" just don't happen to care for."

Let's look to the fearless progression that the Lovings created. Perhaps one might be inclined to even say 'thanks' to them. This writer is. Marriage equality now.
To learn more, go to Loving Day. org!

To read Mildred Loving's poignant statement (in part) as posted by
Stephen J. Hyland, Esq.; NJ Domestic Partnership:The Law of Domestic Partnership
click here!

Happy Loving Day!

-MW Savant, CEO

Editor's Note
: The preceeding opinion is a statement by CEO MW Savant. It is his opinion and does not necessarily reflect the position of, its principals, staff or affiliates.

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