Thursday, June 12, 2008

Happy Loving Day

Today is Loving Day! No, not the day where we all get to be all smoochy with each other ... wait, that's exactly what it is, that we all get to be smoochy with each other! Loving Day is the commemoration of the June 12, 1967, Supreme Court ruling that struck down the U.S. anti-miscegenation laws that prevented whites and other races from marrying. 

The day is named after Richard and Mildred Loving, the couple at the center of the case who saw that love was more than skin deep. I could give the entire history of the case here
, but the Loving Day site has done a great job of laying out the history, so you can read it there. But this is one of my favorite parts of the case: According to a New York Times story, when Mr. Loving's lawyer was explaining to them all the legal strategies involve with the case, Mr. Loving said: "Mr. Cohen, tell the court I love my wife, and it is just unfair that I can't live with her in Virginia." 

 Mrs. Loving died in May, and throughout her life she remained a private person who rarely gave interviews about her courageous act. Throughout her life, she didn't think what she did was extraordinary. Rather, she said, "It wasn't my doing. It was God's work." However, last year on the 40th anniversary of Loving Day, she issued this statement, which moves me to tears every time I read it:

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.

California begins  marrying lesbians and gays on Tuesday. How cool it is that both of these days of loving are marked in the same week. Hopefully this is the event that finally normalizes love for everyone.

Now here's some disclosure: As you all well know, I'm biracial. But even though the state where I was born and still live had the anti-miscegenation laws on the books until they were struck down by the Loving case, that law specifically addressed black/white marriages, so I'm not sure that anyone would have had a fit by my parents' marriage. Not only that, but the U.S. legalized marriages between U.S. military and Japanese nationals in 1952, so again, I'm not actually affected. 

But you know, none of us have our civil rights unless we all have our civil rights. We can't love freely until we all love freely. 

Loving for everyone. Loving for all. 

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