Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Loving Decision

I heard on NPR the other day that it was the 40th anniversary of the Loving Decision, which resulted in the nullification of all miscegenation laws then still enacted in twelve states. While it wouldn't have been less important a decision if the Lovings had been named, say, Smith, I think that it's pretty great that a lawsuit about on a couple's marriage was named after a couple named Loving, because that's what they were doing: Loving.

The couple's lawyer, Bernard Cohen, says that "They just were in love with one another and wanted the right to live together as husband and wife in Virginia, without any interference from officialdom."

While I was listening to this story I was thinking about how much pavement the first civil rights movement laid on the road that queer people are walking on now. So much of it sounded familiar. It seemed like I could replace "husband and wife" with "spouses" and refer to places other than San Francisco, Vermont, or Canada and the story would be, as they say, today's headlines.

Forty years ago is practically in my lifetime, which in one way is shocking enough. It's hard to believe that there would be any reason to forbid by law anyone's loving anyone else just because of a difference in skin color. In a way this gives me hope that stupid things like the Defense of Marriage Act* and anti-gay marriage laws in states will someday tumble, just as miscegenation laws did.

* When I found this link via Google, there were two ads at the top of the page with the cite: One for divorce attorneys in Omaha and one for couples counseling. Ha ha ha!

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