This year many of us mourned the passing of Mildred Loving. Who is she? She was one of the first people I ever wrote about as a young journalist in Boston at WGBH-TV. She was hero and role model and a woman who lived up to her name. She and her spouse sued for the right to marry in their home state of Virginia and are the source of the name of the Court decision rendered in 1967...Loving v. Virginia.
They'd been married in Washington DC in 1958, where it was legal. Then they returned home to Virginia where they were awakened in the dead of night by deputy sheriffs banging down their bedroom door. They were arrested for marrying the 'wrong kind of person.'
She was Black and her husband Richard was white.
In her statement at the 40th anniversary of the Loving vs. Virginia decision which overturned the law against interracial marriage Mildred Loving said:
"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 beleifs over others....I support the freedom to marry for all...That's what Loving and loving are all about."
San Francisco will hear the ruling from the California Supreme Court tomorrow (Thursday, May 15, 2008). on whether or not I, as a lesbian, am allowed to marry. But it's about an even bigger concept that affects us all.
The question ultimately: is there really equality before the law for all people?
I would hope most civilized people agree there should be equality before the law for all. But the conservative right has initiated a ballot measure so that California voters can decide if we have legal equality or not. Seems ludacris to me. But given US history I guess it's not so far removed from some of our other nutty traditions like Jim Crow and keeping women from voting and holding 'suspects' for years without legal charges.
Ahh...what does one wear to the Supreme Court?