Saturday, December 06, 2008

An Ecomonic Bailout We Can All Live With: Loving

A little lesson in law, history, and economics, with a side order of love and laughter.

In 1967, in the landmark civil rights case Loving v. Virginia, the U.S. Supreme Court concluded: "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." Many believe, myself included, that the Court's reasoning in Loving will be found applicable to marriages between same-gender partners, and, apparently, so did Mildred Loving. On the 40th anniversary of the Loving decision, she delivered the following statement:

Loving for All
By Mildred Loving
Prepared for Delivery on June 12, 2007,
The 40th Anniversary of the Loving v. Virginia Announcement

When my late husband, Richard, and I got married in Washington, DC in 1958, it wasn't to make a political statement or start a fight. We were in love, and we wanted to be married.

We didn't get married in Washington because we wanted to marry there. We did it there because the government wouldn't allow us to marry back home in Virginia where we grew up, where we met, where we fell in love, and where we wanted to be together and build our family. You see, I am a woman of color and Richard was white, and at that time people believed it was okay to keep us from marrying because of their ideas of who should marry whom.

When Richard and I came back to our home in Virginia, happily married, we had no intention of battling over the law. We made a commitment to each other in our love and lives, and now had the legal commitment, called marriage, to match. Isn't that what marriage is?

Not long after our wedding, we were awakened in the middle of the night in our own bedroom by deputy sheriffs and actually arrested for the "crime" of marrying the wrong kind of person. Our marriage certificate was hanging on the wall above the bed.

The state prosecuted Richard and me, and after we were found guilty, the judge declared: "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." He sentenced us to a year in prison, but offered to suspend the sentence if we left our home in Virginia for 25 years exile. We left, and got a lawyer. Richard and I had to fight, but still were not fighting for a cause. We were fighting for our love.

Though it turned out we had to fight, happily Richard and I didn't have to fight alone. Thanks to groups like the ACLU and the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, and so many good people around the country willing to speak up, we took our case for the freedom to marry all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. And on June 12, 1967, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that, "The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men," a "basic civil right."

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.


What will happen if when same-gender marriage is legalized in the United States? Will people be able to marry chickens? Will polygamy be legal? Will gay marriage be taught in schools? Will we lose our religious freedom? Will we turn into pillars of salt? Seriously? Or not. How about this: Will legalizing same-gender marriage be the solution to the economic crisis currently facing our nation?

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die


Have a great weekend!

19 comments:

Trish said...

WHO (in their right mind) could argue with that?!

Katy said...

What a great post and I just love the video!

csquaredplus3 said...

Bravo Mrs. Loving! What a wonderful statement. It made me uncomfortable to read her experience and realize how "recent" the past she speaks of... is.

I haven't been able to watch the Jack Black video - it's taking a long time to load. I'll be back for that, 'cause I luv him.

Steph said...

Oh, brava! BRAVA!! Also? I am in tears over her experience. Very, very moving.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Off to distribute that video far and wide.

g said...

And isn't it perfect that their name is Loving?

smalltownmom said...

Excellent post.

Gary Rith Pottery Blog said...

and their name is Loving!

Jason, as himself said...

Enlightening and right on target, as usual, Cheri.

And this video cracks me up!!!

OHmommy said...

Wow... that video is awesome. I have never seen it and now feeling the need to pass it on. Thanks!

tinsenpup said...

You have been awarded on tinsenpup. Please, please don't feel you have to do anything with this. It is just an opportunity to let you know that I appreciate your blog.

Trannyhead said...

And I'd hoped I never had to look at that stupid Loving case ever again ... Just further proof that Virginia sucks. SUCKS I say. Sucks. How can that case have possibly happened that LATE (1967?!)

Anyway, hooray for same-sex marriage!

Mberenis said...

I'd like to Post a Comment

Did you know there is a bailout for you? Probably not, but Obama is making it better for us already! Most people don't realize how much money there is out there. During economic times like this, there is more money to be had than ever. Because of the bailouts and economy, lenders are bending over backwards to bail you out too. Believe it or not, there is people getting tons of cheap money nowdays to start businesses, buy homes, pay off debt, and more. Bailout is for YOU

phd in yogurtry said...

Never too soon to remind about Leviticus (why does this carry no relevance in right wing churches?)

Jason, as himself said...

Just for this and every other post and for you being you, you won an award!

It's waiting for you at The Jason Show.

I bet you already won this one because you're so, you know, fabulous.

She said...

Love this post. The video is awesome!

Have you seen MILK yet?

I wept! Really, just sat there and bawled my eyes out over the loss of Harvey Milk's life and all of the injustice!

Thanks for doing what you do here!

katydidnot said...

they. are. brilliant.

where do i get tickets?

i learn when i read your blog. and that? is a good thing. i choose love. and money. heh.

JCK said...

This video is SO good. So, so good. Loved it!

MJ said...

What a great post!

Actually, there is an economic effect of gay marriage: gay divorce which is much more costly than the common law separation. Other obligations follow marriage as well, as you would know, including spousal support and estate obligations. There might be some news articles on this from Canadian newspapers.