Pulpit Bulls

Policy, Politics, and What's In Between

Requiem for “I Have a Dream”

Posted by gregoryholmes on May 27, 2009

I realize that most folks are still processing and reacting to the California Supreme Court’s decision, so I thought I would take a moment to reference the landmark decision in Loving v. Virginia, as the decision in the case goes straight to the heart of the argument for gay marriage.  Chief Justice Warren writes for the majority:

“These statutes also deprive the Lovings of liberty without due process of law in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.

Marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man,” fundamental to our very existence and survival. Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535, 541 (1942). See also Maynard v. Hill, 125 U.S. 190 (1888). To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.

These convictions must be reversed.”

These words were written at a time when only 30% of the public supported the idea of interracial marriage, and if a referendum such as Prop 8 had been held then interracial marriage would almost certainly have been banned all over again.  Indeed, part of the reason we have a system of judicial checks is to protect minorities from the whims of the 50%+1 majorities.

Dr. King once stated that he dreamed of a day when a man would be judged on the content of his character.  Forty-six years later, we are still dreaming for that day.


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