I've wanted to write about the Proposition 8 vote for several days now. It made me really pissed off that people were put in a position were they felt forced to prove that they deserve to have the same rights as everyone else.
As a person in an inter-racial relationship (and as someone who can not marry thanks to insane legal roadblocks for people with disabilities), Prop. 8 really angers me. It's no different from the laws that forbade people in relationships a lot like mine from marrying. Folks had all sorts of excuses for wanting to prevent whites and blacks from marrying. As with Prop. 8, many people used their religion as the basis for their discrimination in the exact same way. Do you think I'm making this up?
"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"Does that sound familiar to anyone? Given how short our collective memory seems to be in this country, I'm figuring that most people won't recognize that quote. Well, it came from Judge Leon Bazile's decision in the landmark Loving v. Commonwealth of Virgina case. It wasn't until 1967 that the Supreme Court recognized that the prohibition of Richard and Mildred Loving's interracial marriage was a violation of their rights. 1967! It wasn't until 2000--that's eight years ago--that the state of Alabama decided to abolish its prohibition against inter-racial marriages, but look at things now.
Now we have the same people pointing their crooked little fingers in disapproval and shock that someone should actually want to marry the person they love. What a surprise, right? If you go to any one of these mega-churches and temples, you are sure to see inter-racial couples. Down here in Louisiana, the ones I've visited have lots of families like mine and I've heard preachers talk about how proud they are that their place of worship is so "color-blind" because we are all children of God.
A few years ago, these organizations were using the same religion-based excuses to justify prohibiting consenting adult couples in love from getting married. It didn't work then. All it did was make inter-racial couples fight even harder and, eventually, even the religiously-inclined came to see the light. Hating people rarely makes them cower and give in. Loving will eventually win out. On the 40th anniversary of the Loving v. Virginia court case, the late Mildred Loving explained it better than anyone else I've heard. In part, it reads:
My generation was bitterly divided over something that should have been so clear and right. The majority believed that what the judge said, that it was God's plan to keep people apart, and that government should discriminate against people in love. But I have lived long enough now to see big changes. The older generation's fears and prejudices have given way, and today's young people realize that if someone loves someone they have a right to marry.
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.
-Loving For All