Interracial Marriage & Gay Marriage

English: Interracial married couple with Hmong...
English: Interracial married couple with Hmong traditional clothing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gay marriage isn’t the only type of refused marriage in the news — a Louisiana Justice of the Peace refused to wed an interracial couple. The JP, Keith Bardwell, said his decision was because life was harder for bi-racial children. Things like this are just crazy to me. While children are often a result of marriage, I believe the purpose of marriage is not just TO create children (or to join families, or other past reasons), but as an expression of love. Given changes to the tax code, it’s not even a given that you’ll be ahead of the game when April 15th rolls around anymore if you’re wed. But being wed does grant a lot of other privileges, too — stuff like not being denied to see your dying spouse in the hospital, say. That’s a big one.

Interracial marriage was first allowed by the Supreme Court in the appropriately named case, Loving v. Virginia. Loving has also been citied often as an argument to allow gay marriage. The parallels are clear to me — both groups have been unfairly marginalized in our society (and, I’m not going to lie, both continue to be as well, unfortunately) — and the denying of basic rights appears to be more along the lines of keeping folks down than having any real particular reason.

To me, it shouldn’t matter at all. Love is love, and that’s the most important thing. Love is an infinite good; love cannot be bad. We shouldn’t allow bigotry of any kind to get in the way of any loving couple. Luckily, in this case, the same day, the couple in question was able to leave Justice Bardwell’s office and be married by a different JP. Unfortunately, gay couples don’t have that option — yet. I know the tide is turning; it’s important to help it along.

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  1. Lee H

    I think the history of interracial marriage in the US is an excellent parallel to the struggle for gay marriage equality. Imagine if the rights of interracial couples had been put to a popular vote, the way gay people’s rights have been. The outcome would doubtless have been just as hateful and ugly as what we see happening right now. (This is also why “it should be left to the states” is a BULLSHIT COP-OUT and I’m sick of hearing it from politicians whom I normally like.)

  2. Rev. Syung Myung Me

    the parallels have always just seemed super obvious to me, which is why (aside from the fact that it’s bafflingly in the news lately — I mean, jeez. I’m not crazy enough to think we’ve licked racism, but it’s 2009, really? Really?) I wanted to lead off with this piece.

    And yeah — putting rights up to a vote is never a good idea — even if it comes out OK, like I hope this vote in WA will, it’s just not something that SHOULD be. I don’t think it’s morally right to assign rights by majority rule. Civil rights are bigger than that, and, well, let’s be honest — society’s never really done well on deciding whether or not a minority group should get rights… and even if they do, it can often come off as patronizing. For example: R-71 is about allowing to stand a resolution passed by the Legislature for Civil Unions that gives most/all the rights as marriage EXCEPT the use of the term “marriage”. Isn’t that a little… weird? Anyone else bugged by that? It almost seems like it’s the Easy Bake Oven version of marriage or something — yeah, you can make cupcakes with your little light bulb, but you can’t make a turkey dinner like I can with my REAL oven.

    Um, sorry if that analogy is a little weird; I’m trying to figure out what I want for lunch.

    But yeah. I really wish I knew more about the history of Interracial Marriage in the US — it would be a great essay to bust out with all sorts of facts and correlations and whatnot.

    (And, yeah – in the original story — as Forrest points out, being biracial seemed to work out pretty well for Barry…)

  3. Forrest Graham Baum

    Hey, Rodney & Liz:
    Somehow, I don’t think you bitches give a crap about the topic at hand. And yet somehow you answered the mathchka…
    son of a.

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