By Shannon Price Minter, Legal Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights
(San Francisco, CA, May 5, 2008)—As an American and an attorney representing same-sex couples seeking the freedom to marry, I join millions of others around the world in mourning the death of Mrs. Mildred Loving. Mrs. Loving and her husband were indicted and initially convicted for being in an interracial marriage in Loving v. Virginia, the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court decision that finally agreed with the 1948 decision by the California Supreme Court in Perez v. Sharp, which held that laws barring interracial marriage are unconstitutional. Chief Justice Earl Warren, the former governor of California, authored the historic Supreme Court decision in Loving. Before her death, Mrs. Loving made a strong statement supporting the freedom of gay and lesbian couples to marry.
“Not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, 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.”
This month, forty-one years after Loving v. Virginia and sixty years after Perez v. Sharp, California is once again poised to play a significant role in the history of marriage freedom when the California Supreme Court issues its decision in a case that will determine whether same-sex couples have the freedom to marry in California.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.