A Word In Edgewise: Here’s To The Many-Splendored Thing

Forty years ago, Mildred and Richard Loving, after a ruling by the United States Supreme Court, won the right to live together in their home state of Virginia.

In 1958, they had moved to Washington, DC, where it was legal for a mixed-race couple to wed, married on June 2, and returned immediately to Virginia. At 2AM on July 11, they were rousted from their bed and arrested for being married. On January 6, 1959, they were sentenced to one year in jail, suspended “on the condition that the Lovings leave the State and not return to Virginia together for 25 years.”

Judge Leon M. Bazine ruled, “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay, and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”

Today Texas (Tea-Party-backed) Senator Ted Cruz (R) echos Bazine, urging supporters to “simply pray” that GLBT Americans not be allowed to have equal rights because the “thought [italics mine] of same-sex marriage” is “heartbreaking.” He wants to introduce a State Marriage Defense Act, undoing the civil rights of thousands because of his “thought.”

Friends of mine (a same-sex couple) married this Valentine’s Day. On February 14, 2015, they will celebrate their first anniversary of married life–and their thirty-third anniversary of meeting that day in 1982. In the first thirty-two years together they established a home, careers, and a respected place in the community.

I know, or know of, many other gay and lesbian couples that have married in Minnesota since last August, a number of whom have been together twenty or more years. They didn’t destroy society, or stain the “sanctity” of marriage during their partnerships, nor will they by their now state-sanctioned marriages.

Any marriage, for couples of any color, religion, or gender, is only as strong as the intentions and determination brought into the union. Marriage isn’t for everyone, but it must be a choice open to all. I salute those who have or are about to marry in Minnesota. As Mildred Loving said, “That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.”

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