The Legality Of Interracial Marriage Matters For All Black Americans
I cannot really believe that in the 21st century we are questioning whether consenting adults of different races shoud be able to legally marry in the US. Yet — here we are.
I do know that interracial marriage was illegal in the US until 1967 — when the case of Loving v Virginia was decided by the Supreme Court. In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court ruled that Virginia’s laws making interracial marriage illegal violated the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution. This made interracial marriage legal in all 50 states. In fact, only 9 states in the US never had anti-miscegenation laws. Loving v Virginia was decided six years before Roe v Wade.
The US House of Representatives recently passed a bill that would protect same-sex, as well as interracial, marriages. This bill has yet to make it to the Senate, where there is a possibility it won’t pass. Forty-seven Republicans joined all Democrats in support of the Respect for Marriage Act that also would protect interracial marriage and repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman. The Democrat majority House has 213 Republican representatives, so 47 Republicans supporting the bill is nothing to celebrate.
Here’s why the de-legalization of interracial marriage should matter to all Black Americans—
Well, first there’s the obvious. People should be free to marry who they want to— regardless of race. However, if you make interracial marriage illegal what would the justification be?
The answer should be obvious because the United States of America, and it’s laws, was built on racism and white supremacy.
Make no mistake about it — the US government would be saying, again, that Black Americans are lesser human beings. Did you know the origins of the offensive term half-breed does not mean two different races — it means two different species.
Anti-miscegenation laws go back to the Colonial time period of the United States — when Black people were seen as sub-human. Anti-miscegenation laws, however, also served practical purposes.