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Marriage prohibitions

Part 2:
Conflict over inter-racial marriage in the U.S.:
Aftermath of Loving v. Virginia. Mississippi data.

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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.

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The aftermath of Loving v. Virginia:

In 1967, the decision by the Supreme Court annulled the laws and constitutions of 16 contiguous south-eastern states that still banned inter-racial marriages. The state of South Carolina still had an anti-miscegenation law on the books as late as 1998, although it could not be applied. By 2000-OCT, only the state of Alabama still had a clause in its constitution prohibiting a black person or descendent of a black person from marrying a white person. The people of Alabama voted during the general special election of 2000-NOV-07 in favor of deleting the clause from their constitution. However the vote was narrow. Only 59% of voters supported the repeal. A majority of voters in 24 out of the state's 67 counties wanted to retain the clause in their constitution even though it had been ruled unconstitutional by the court. 2 Racism dies hard in some localities.

It may be worth noting that a rapid change in the U.S. occurred over about four decades concerning interracial marriages:

bulletIn 1948, about 90% of American adults opposed interracial marriage when the Supreme Court of California legalized it. 3

bulletIn 1967, about 72% were opposed to interracial marriage and 48% felt that marrying a person of another race should be prosecuted as a criminal act. This was the year when the U.S. Supreme Court legalized interracial marriage everywhere in the U.S. 4,5

bullet About 1991, those adults opposed to interracial marriage finally became a minority, nationally. 4

bullet Opposition dropped at about 1 percentage point per year between 1948 and 1991. This is approximately the same rate as has occurred over same-sex marriage in recent decades.


A Pew Research survey conducted in 2011-SEP showed that:

  • 43% of American adults say that "more people of different races marrying each other has been a change for the better; 11% for the worse; 44% offered no opinion. 22% of Americans have a relative in a mixed-race marriage. One in seven new marriages in the U.S. are interracial or interethnic.

  • Adults who are White (12%), over 64 years-of-age (19%), with only high school or less education (15%), who identified themselves as conservative (14%) and from the South or Midwest (13%) were more likely to feel that more interracial marriages are a change for the worse.

  • Adults who are Black (8%), under 29 years-of-age (5%), who graduated from college (4%), who identified themselves as liberal (7%) and from the West (6%) were also more likely to feel that more interracial marriages are a change for the worse. 6

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

Graph of approval/disapproval of interracial marriage 9

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

Gallup reported that In 2011, approval of interracial marriage reached 86%; in 2013: 87%.

Approval of interracial marriage reached 55% about 1996 - 1997. Approval of same-sex marriage reached this level about the end of 2013.

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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:

Pie chart: Mississippi voters & interracial marriage

  • 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. 7

Because of the small sample size, the margin of error was rather broad: ±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. 8

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Books on laws regarding marriage:

bullet A list of books on a related topic -- same-sex marriage -- on this web site
bullet 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 Amazon.com online book store
bullet   Karen Alonso, "Loving V. Virginia: Interracial Marriage (Landmark Supreme Court Cases)," Enslow Publishers, (2000). Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com 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: http://www.intellisearchnow.com/
  2. "Alabama Interracial Marriage, Amendment 2 (2000)," Ballotpedia, as of 2012-DEC-09, at: http://ballotpedia.org/
  3. John Rogers, "Kung Fu Monkey" blog, 2005-MAR-16, at: http://kfmonkey.blogspot.com/
  4. Gail Mathabane, "Gays face same battle interracial couples fought," USA Today, 2004-JAN-25.
  5. Sean Robert Cahill, "Same-sex marriage in the United States: Focus on the facts," Lexington Books, (2004), Page 12. Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
  6. Wendy Wong, "The rise of Intermarriage," Pew Research Center, 2012-FEB-12, at: http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/
  7. "46 Percent of Mississippi Republicans Want Interracial Marriage Banned, AOL News, 2011-APR-06, at: http://www.aolnews.com/
  8. "Southern voters glad North won Civil War," Public Policy Polling, 2011-APR-25, at: http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/
  9. "Interracial marriage in the United States," Wikipedia, as on 2013-SEP-28, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/ Graph shown under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License

Copyright 1997 to 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2014-MAR-08
Author: B.A. Robinson

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