In honor of Loving Day, June 12th, 2015, I am reposting this piece from three years ago. Great progress has been made since then. Gay marriage is now legal in thirty-seven states! But the fight for marriage equality is not yet over. There are still bans in place in thirteen states, as well as a number of organizations and individuals who cite religious beliefs to justify their right to discriminate (just as they once did against interracial unions).
As fewer and fewer eyebrows are raised by interracial marriages, I look forward to the day where same-sex marriages elicit the same ho-hum reactions. A marriage is a marriage. Love has no room for bigotry.
So here’s the repost:
I am glad to say that by now—nearly a week after Valentine’s Day, 2012, the day “The Loving Story” aired on HBO—interracial marriage is more accepted in this country than ever. According to a new poll from the Pew Research Center, about one out of every seven new marriages in the U.S. is interracial. (Which you can read about in this link from GOOD Magazine.) On that note, I believe it’s time to extend marriage rights to same sex couples.
I believe that a marriage between two people of different races is no less a marriage than one between two people of the same race.
I believe that a marriage between two people of the same sex is no less a marriage than one between two people of different sexes.
If you love and wish to marry someone of a different race, and I love and wish to marry someone of my same race, I do not believe that your marriage in any way undermines my marriage.
If I love and wish to marry someone of a different gender and you love and wish to marry someone of your own gender, I do not believe that your marriage in any way undermines my marriage.
But what about the children? One reason people used to give (and still give) for opposing interracial marriage was the children. As in: Think of the children! Won’t they have issues? Well, yes we do have issues, just as every other group or combination of groups has issues. We are also teachers, doctors, lawyers, dancers, writers, husbands, wives, same-sex partners, parents … and—oh yeah—the U.S. president. We’re doing OK. As are children of same-sex parents, last I checked.
What about that business about undermining the sanctity of marriage in general?
I believe that if one couple’s inter-sex marriage is undermined by another couple’s same-sex marriage, then the first marriage wasn’t particularly strong to begin with. Same-sex marriages don’t undermine marriage any more than same-race marriages do.
What undermines marriage is marrying someone because your publicist told you to. What undermines marriage is doing it for reality show ratings. What undermines marriage is infidelity. What undermines marriage is denigrating other peoples’ marriages when you are supplementing your marriage with extramarital partners. What undermines marriage is going into it while keeping your options open. What undermines marriage is violence.
My parents—a black man and a white, Jewish woman—got married in Chicago, Illinois in 1950, eight years before Richard and Mildred Loving wed. At the time, interracial marriage was illegal in over thirty states. My parents were married for forty-five years when my father died. In four and a half decades, their interracial marriage did not threaten the sanctity of anyone’s same-race marriage. Not even a little bit.
I think it is time to acknowledge that marriage is a loving, committed relationship between two people who love and commit to one another.