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Marriage prohibition based on race

Part 3:
Mildrid Loving's statement in 2007.
Public opinion of interracial marriage.
Recent examples of opposition. Books.

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This topic is continued from the previous essay

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2007-JUN-12: Mildred Loving released a statement on the 40th anniversary of the Loving v. Virginia decision:

Mildred Loving's statement discussed the denial of the right to marry to persons because of their race and/or sexual orientation. 1 She wrote:

"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."

Mildred Loving died on 2008-MAY-02, having greatly influenced American culture by her refusal to tolerate racial bigotry and second-class citizenship. She will always be remembered as one of the most influential fighters for civil rights in America, and remains an inspiration to a new generation of fighters for equal rights for all, and for the complete application of the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the 14th Amendment in the U.S. Constitution.

As of 2014-MAY, there are over 70 active court cases in federal courts, and one in the Arkansas state court attempting to bring marriage equality on the basis of gender and sexual orientation to over 30 states. These are areas of the country where gays, lesbians, and some bisexuals are not allowed to marry the person that they love and are ready to give a lifetime committment to.

The Plaintiffs in all or essentially all of these cases are quoting Loving v. Virginia and the due process/equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution as one basis for their claim to the freedom to marry. So far, all of the approximately 12 cases that have been decided at the trial court level have found marriage equality to be the law of the land.

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Results of Gallup surveys of public opinion about interracial marriage from 1958 to 2007:

In one of the fastest changes in American public opinion in history, racist beliefs about marriage in the U.S. has been almost wiped out. Approval of interracial marriage grew from 4% in 1959 to 87% in 2013.

Graph of approval/disapproval of interracial marriage 2

Graphic including more recent data to 2013:


In 1967, when interracial marriages were legalized by the U.S. Supreme Court across the U.S., approval was slightly less than 20%!

The next major redefinition of marriage occurred 37 years later in 2004-MAY when Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage.

Approval of interracial marriage reached 55% about 1995. Approval of same-sex marriage reached this level at about the end of 2013, some 18 years later.

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2012-MAR: Recent levels of opposition to interracial marriage:

AOL News Now reported:

Even though the percentage of marriages in the U.S. that are interracial is continually increasing since the Loving v. Virginia decision, many voters in the South still believe that such marriages should be illegal.

Public Policy Polling (PPP) sampled 400 likely Republican voters in Mississippi over a three day period in late 2011-MAR. They found that:

  • A plurality of 46% believed that interracial marriages should be illegal.
  • 40% felt that such marriages should be legal.
  • 14% were unsure or did not answer. 4

Because of the small sample size, the margin of error was rather broad: ~+mn~4.9 percentage points.

When asked whether they were glad that the U.S. won the civil war, only 34% of the general population and 21% of Republican voters in Mississippi answered yes. 5

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Books on laws regarding marriage equality on the basis of race, gender and/or sexual orientation:

bullet A list of books on a related topic -- same-sex marriage -- on this web site
book cover image Susan Dudley Gold, "Loving V. Virginia: Lifting the Ban Against Interracial Marriage (Supreme Court Milestones)," Benchmark Books, (2007). Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store
bullet book cover image  Karen Alonso, "Loving V. Virginia: Interracial Marriage (Landmark Supreme Court Cases)," Southern Illinois University Press, (2008). Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store.
bullet book cover image  Phyl Newbeck, "Virginia Hasn't Always Been for Lovers: Interracial Marriage Bans and the Case of Richard and Mildred Loving," Enslow Publishers, (2000). Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store.
bullet book cover image  Kevin Maillard & Rose Villazor, Eds., "Loving v. Virginia in a Post-Racial World: Rethinking Race, Sex, and Marriage" Cambridge University Press, (2012). Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store.
bullet book cover image Fay Botham, "Almighty God Created the Races: Christianity, Interracial Marriage, and American Law," University of North Carolina Press, (2013). Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Jack M. Balkin, "Mildred Loving Speaks," Balkinization blog, 2008-MAY-06, at:
  2. "Interracial marriage in the United States," Wikipedia, as on 2013-SEP-28, at: Graph shown under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License
  3. Frank Newport, "In U.S., 87% Approve of Black-White Marriage, vs. 4% in 1958," Gallup, 2013-JUL-13, at:
  4. "46 Percent of Mississippi Republicans Want Interracial Marriage Banned, AOL News, 2011-APR-06, at:
  5. "Southern voters glad North won Civil War," Public Policy Polling, 2011-APR-25, at:

Copyright 1997 to 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2014-MAY-27
Author: B.A. Robinson

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