The Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia (1967) resulted in the striking down of state laws that prohibited whites and African Americans from marrying. Mildred Loving, one of the parties in the case, issued a statement on the fortieth-anniversary of her case in which she urged that same-sex couples be allowed to marry.
Q. Are the two issues—laws prohibiting interracial marriage and laws prohibiting same-sex marriage—similar? Why or why not?
I believe laws prohibiting interracial marriage and laws prohibiting same-sex marriage are similar. Marriage is a unique bond between a man and a woman, who agree to live together and fulfill each others moral and physical demands. However, such a bondage between a woman and a woman or a man and a man would be against nature. This is a widely accepted notion. In the Loving v. Virginia case, the judge believed when God created different races and placed them on separate continents. Men should not interfere with His arrangements and should not pursue interracial relationships. However, the ACLU filed a motion on behalf of the Lovings that Racial Integrity Act 1924 and Statutes preventing marriages solely on the basis of classification violates The Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the 14th amendment. This case holds its significance as it redefined what constituted a marriage. Some proponents of gay rights have cited this case in support of a right to marriage.
Although opponents argue that this is not viable as the ‘Loving’ marriage was still between a man and a woman. In the United States, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, Americans considered the freedom to choose a marriage partner a fundamental right. The idea that government could interfere with that choice is unthinkable. The case is also significant because it is about how the United States defined marriage. Before 1967, a legal marriage could not be contracted in states with anti-miscegenation laws if the partners were of different races. Thus the case redefined what constituted a marriage. Some proponents of gay rights have cited this case in support of a right to marriage, although opponents argue that this is not viable as the ‘Loving’ marriage was still between a man and a woman. Randall Kennedy’s “Interracial Intimacies,” saw that opponents’ arguments against interracial relationships mirrored those of gay rights opponents.
In Loving, Virginia’s Supreme Court justified a ban on interracial marriages by citing religious beliefs. Others argued against it on the grounds that it violated natural order, same is the case with same-sex marriages. the American Psychiatric Association considered homosexuality a psychological disorder until 1973. Marriages are sought majorly as a foundation for having children, the relation to procreation is different in gay relationships. The live-and-let-live phenomenon practiced by most Americans doesn’t apply to this spectrum, as it didn’t apply to interracial marriages before 1967. Majority of the Americans are against it from both the political spheres. President Clinton, during his reign signed the defense of marriage act, which refuses to recognize gay marriages, despite his election platform for gay rights.
Also, the lynching of Matthew Shepard in 1998 revealed that homosexuality triggered the same kind of violence and fear that was generated in the past by black-white sexual relations. Plus, a similar inversion of family values appears in opponents’ arguments against gay marriage and in the historical argument against interracial sex. Casual sex is more tolerable than sex that involved meaning, this stood true for interracial non-marriage relationships and again the same holds true for gays today. However, according to Colin Powell, the analogy of gays to race is wrong, explaining that race is a status and sexual orientation is a behavior.
Similar arguments against same-sex and interracial relationships appear in regards to children. There was once total opposition to couples adopting children of different races, and there is still weight placed against allowing a white couple to adopt a black child, he said, because of societal pressures. The National Association for Black Social Workers has said such cases may result in black children having “white minds.” Similarly, fears abound that adopted children whose parents are gay will be more subject to prejudice, or the child will “have confusion over their sexual orientation…or worse, they’ll end up being gay.”