neonbunny (neonbunny) wrote,

California Supreme Court says same-sex couples have right to marry

California Supreme Court says same-sex couples have right

So you've probably already heard about this.  The California Supreme Court justices have said the state's ban on same-sex marriage violates the "fundamental constitutional right to form a family relationship."

And you'll probably see all over the place, people rising up in opposition, claiming that marriage belongs to them because they are straight, and because it has always belonged to them.

Well, here's a little history leason, so everyone can see and learn that this whole concept of marriage belonging to all straight people is also a very new thing.  In fact, used to be that marriage really only belonged to affluent white christians.

So lets go back in time a bit. The year is 1958.  A straight woman, Mildred Jeter, and her childhood sweatheart, a straight man, Richard Loving decided to get married.  So off to the nation's capital, Washington D.C. they go to join their union in the eyes of the state and their lord.  Having had a wonderful marriage, they return to their home state of Virginia, and set up a home together on the same country road they both grew up on.

And then one night, while they were both asleep in bed, the local Sheriff and his posy break down the door and they are both arrested.  They spend a few nights in jail, before they are brought to before the judge and charged under section 20-58 of the Virginia Code, also known as the Racial Integrity Act.

You see, Richard Loving was a white man, and Mildred Jeter was a black woman.

On January 6, 1959, they were sentenced to one year in prison, with 25 years suspended on the condition that they leave the state of Virginia and never return.

And so they did, moving to Washington D.C.  On November 6, 1963, the ACLU filed a motion on their behalf claiming a violation of the couples fourth amendment rights.

This set a long stream of court cases and civil uprisings into effect.  Many many people around the country stood up, claiming that marriage is an act of god, and as defined in the bible, belongs only to those of the same race.  There was even such strong opposition as to attempt to pass laws into effect before any court ruling that would limit marriage to those of the same race.

And guess which side the churches sided with?

Well, most churches claimed that by allowing blacks and whites to marry, the courts would be violating god's will of "
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." — a direct quote read by the judge who made the initial ruling against the Lovings.

Some of the churches did eventually come around.  First the prespeterian church, and finally the catholic church. 

In 1967, the Supreme Court of the United States, declared Virginia's anti-miscegenation statute, the "Racial Integrity Act of 1924", unconstitutional, thereby overturning Pace v. Alabama (1883) and ending all race-based legal restrictions on marriage in the United States.

The Lovings went on to form a family and have many children and grandchildren.  Richard Loving died in 1975.  Mildred Loving lived on, until she recently died on May 2nd, 2008.

On June 2nd, of 2007, Mildred Loving released a rare statement about the current affairs of marriage policy in the United States.

"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.

I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard's and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That's what Loving, and loving, are all about"

So keep on.  Loving doesn't come easy.  There will always be opposition to it.  Even though they have long forgotten it, straights only recently (1967) gained this freedom that they claim belongs only to them.  And it did not come to them without a long fight.  Marriage for all is only a recent development in this world.  It will not come without a fight, and may still take many years before this freedom belongs to all, not just those of a particular status quo.

More info on Loving v. Virgina can be found here.

EDIT: Equality California will hold a celebration of love and families at the San Francisco LGBT Center, Market at Octavia, at 5 pm today.  Expect much celebrating, love, and queerness.
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