Today marks the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia. This case declared as being unconstitutional a Virginia statute that banned the intermarriage of races. Pictured above ar the Lovings themselves, Mildred and Richard.
The Court wrote:
Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival. To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. 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.
Here is a good article that speaks to the plaintiffs themselves - a man and a woman who loved each other and simply wanted to be married and raise a family.
Many could see this decision as giving support to gay marriages, given the language of the decision. Of course, sexual orientation has yet to achieve the same judicial scrutiny as does racial classification, wherein lies the difference.
I tend to take a more libertarian view towards this - marriage under the State is nothing more than a social contract. Marriage as a sacrament can be bestowed only by God - in which case, marriage is a covenant. So if gays were to be able to marry legally in my state, it does not change the nature of marriage as a covenant. As it is, I point out to people that California does not have "gay marriage" - but we have "gay divorce" for registered domestic partners.
In the meantime, remember the Lovings in your prayers - and anyday that is the anniversary of the State being shut out of governing our personal lives is a day worth celebrating.