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A couple of years ago after doing a wedding the thought occurred to me, “That used to be illegal in this state.” It wasn’t the first time I had done what used to called an “interracial wedding” (which we now just call, “a wedding”). I guess I hadn’t really even given it much thought before, but this time it drove me to Google. Which is a pretty short drive given there is a usually a keyboard within my reach most of the time.
I was surprised to learn that it all came about much more recently than I had thought. It was a 1967 Supreme Court decision that over turned laws in the 15 or so states, including Missouri, which still had laws on the books preventing someone to marry a person they loved who happened to be categorized as in another racial group. The legal term is “anti-miscegenation.” Isn’t Google great!?
I can only imagine both the concern and the celebrations the prospect of great cataclysmic change unleashed by the ruling. I say, “I can only imagine,” because I was six years old at the time and have no memory of it. I have grown up in a world where it seems that such marriages have always been possible, and I can’t imagine it any differently.
Monday marked the 50th anniversary of the landmark decision. Today one in six marriages in the U.S. are “interracial.” America twice elected a president who was the son of an African father and a Caucasian mother. However we may disagree about his politics, his very existence would not have been legal in a large part of the country within his own lifetime (he’s 56).
Ironically the case, which eventually worked its way all the way up to the Supreme Court and resulted in the anti-miscegenation laws being over-turned was “Loving v. Virginia.” Richard and Mildred Loving brought suit to be able to marry as he was White and she was Black. It took eight years for their case to be settled and the laws preventing their union to be ruled unconstitutional. June 12th, the date of the final decision, has become known as “Loving Day.”
My hope and prayer is that every day is Loving Day as we work together to build a community founded on God’s love that knows no boundaries.
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