Equality

A hearing is scheduled at the State House today for the “Marriage Equality Bill” that would allow same-sex couples to legally marry in Rhode Island. If it were not for a Supreme Court decision, Loving v. Virginia, 1967, we might still be fighting state by state for the right to marry regardless of race. This is what happened to the Lovings in 1958–

The plaintiffs, Mildred Loving and Richard Perry Loving, were residents of the Commonwealth of Virginia who had been married in June 1958 in the District of Columbia, having left Virginia to evade the Racial Integrity Act, a state law banning marriages between any white person and any non-white person. Upon their return to Caroline County, Virginia, they were charged with violation of the ban. They were caught sleeping in their bed by a group of police officers who had invaded their home in the hopes of finding them in the act of sex (another crime). In their defense, Ms. Loving had pointed to a marriage certificate on the wall in their bedroom. That, instead of defending them, became the evidence the police needed for a criminal charge since it showed they had been married in another state. Specifically, they were charged under Section 20-58 of the Virginia Code, which prohibited interracial couples from being married out of state and then returning to Virginia, and Section 20-59, which classified “miscegenation” as a felony punishable by a prison sentence of between one and five years. On January 6, 1959, the Lovings pleaded guilty and were sentenced to one year in prison, with the sentence suspended for 25 years on condition that the couple leave the state of Virginia.

Before she died, Mildred Loving stated her support for marriage equality. Marriage is a right of citizenship, with privileges and responsibilities. As we move through uncertain economic times, it’s good for all of us to encourage open, legal bonds, because the state can never match the support that spouses give one another.

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4 responses

  1. I happened to be flipping through the channels when I saw the hearing and watched for a while.I don’t have any strong position one way or the other on the issue.I think it will wind up in the US Supreme Court anyway because of the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution.It is one of the few issues more amenable to a judicial decision than legislation or referendum precisely because of that clause.
    In any event,I saw you and your husband and you presented your testimony very well.
    My general attitude is not to be judgmental of relationships between consenting adults.
    I can’t say i share your enthusiasm for Sen.Perry and she certainly doesn’t like me very much since I testified against a bill she co-sponsored which would have limited police involvement in potential immigration violations to the extent that is was outright obstructive.
    She is also rabidly anti-2nd amendment and I strongly oppose anyone in that camp. Other than that,I don’t have a problem with her.At least she seems to be honest,which is not that common in the General Assembly.
    I have testified once in the Senate and once in the House and found the experience to be grossly unfair in the House where the “3 minutes” allowed each person depended on who they were.A retired minister who preceded me got about 12 minutes and when I testified they used a #$%@$& egg timer!!Maybe I should have turned my collar around.
    The Senate was more evenhanded by far,although I found Sen.Levesque completely obnoxious.

  2. 3 minutes?! i was wondering about that. there were a few speakers who read long bible passages as the rest of us waited in the hall for hours. there was no sign of a time limit. and we started late, and apparently the first people who signed up got called last, we thought they flipped the pages upside down.
    but thank you for watching. i value my marriage very much, and i would not deny a homosexual couple the right to legally marry.

  3. Nancy-the egg timer crap was in the House-this same committee in the Senate-Judiciary-gave all of us all the time we wanted.I just wanted to throw up after being within 25 feet of Levesque.We both share our marriages very much and we are both in interracial marriages,but I don’t think marriages between Hispanics and anyone else were ever prohibited.Asians and Blacks were victimized by those disgusting laws.In the case of Asians,American women who married Asian men lost their citizenship at one time.Imagine that!!I learned things in the Border Patrol Academy that were completely surprising.

  4. I meant VALUE our marriages very much-I don’t want to start people talking-LOL.

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