Friday, April 17, 2009

Gay Marriage: A Historical Perspective from Kenneth C. Davis

Kenneth C. Davis, author of Don't Know Much About History and America's Hidden History, is our guest blogger today. Here, he reminds us of the 1967 Supreme Court ruling on "Loving v. Virginia," which declared state laws banning interracial marriages to be unconstitutional--and how it relates to the issue of gay marriage.

Gay Marriage: A Question of "Loving"

As historical anniversaries go, April 10, 1967 may not seem like a date we all should remember. But that was the day that the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case Loving v. Virginia. On June 12, 1967, the Court issued its ruling in the case, striking down state laws prohibiting interracial marriage (“miscegenation”) in America.

Yes, a little over 40 years ago, Barack Obama’s parents could not have married legally in the home state of Washington, Jefferson and Madison.The Court ruled that that anti-miscegenation laws, such as those in Virginia, violated the Fifth Amendment’s “Due Process Clause” (“No person shall be … deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law….” ) and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment (“nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law …”).

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