by Dietmar Hoskin
Coming from a bi-racial home and seeing that the population will no longer be a majority of white faces. I wanted to talk about what our world is going to be in the next 20 years or so. With as many races mixing by the end of this century, what will our population be in the next 20 years? I myself have suffered identifying with white or black. Being raised in a bi-racial home, even though it was a loving relationship we did not discuss ethnicity in one direction or another. Even in my childhood I was referred to as mullato, many of you probably are not even familiar with the word. As a gay man in my forties, it was hard enough to come to terms with being gay. Believe it or not there is a word they used in the 19th century called ‘miscegenation’, it was a new word for me as well, it means ‘interracial marriage’.
With all of this talk about legalizing gay marriage, it reminds me of an age not too long ago, where interracial marriages where not allowed. In some states, it is still on the books that a marriage between races is not allowed. Although, no one actually enforces it. In some states it is still on the books! Even though it is painful to watch how much hatred is being backed by the church and religion to promote such bad behavior.
South Carolina wakes up
In November 1998, South Carolina finally removed its constitutional ban on interracial marriage, which was added to the state constitution in 1895. Although the prohibition had not been recently enforced, the clause prohibited “marriage of a white person with a Negro or mulatto or a person who shall have one-eighth or more of Negro blood.” A Mason-Dixon poll conducted in August 1998 showed two-thirds of voters favored removing the ban, 22 percent opposed it and 11 percent remained undecided. The sample of 806 registered voters contained about twice as many whites as blacks.
Alabama gets that banjo off its knee
In November 2000, Alabama became the last state to overturn a law banning interracial marriage. The one-time home of George Wallace and Martin Luther King Jr. had held onto the provision for 33 years after the Supreme Court declared anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional. Yet as the election revealed—40 percent of Alabamans voted to keep the ban—apparently many Alabamans still see the necessity for a law that prohibits blacks and whites from mixing blood.
Gay marriage rights in 2012
Did you know that when Barack Obama parent’s, an American Mother and Kenyan father met and married in 1961 interracial marriage was still illegal in 22 states. Not until the Supreme Court struck down anti-miscegenation laws in 1967 that mixed-race marriage became legal throughout the United States.
The case that led to that historic decision was filed by an interracial married couple, Richard and Mildred Loving. Their story is the subject of a new documentary called The Loving Story that screened recently at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York and will debut on HBO in February 2012. Its kind of amazing that there are no other movies or documentaries about their love story. Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter met in Virginia in 1951. In 1958, they got married in nearby Washington, D.C. because at the time it was illegal for them to be married in Virginia. Six weeks later they were arrested in their own home and in their own bedroom in the middle of the night for miscegenation. They were eventually sentenced to 25 years banishment from the state of Virginia. They moved to nearby Washington, D.C., but in 1963 Mildred Loving wrote to the attorney general about the situation and asked what she could do to challenge the law. Soon after, Mildred filed a lawsuit challenging the law. On June 12, 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Lovings and struck down the anti-miscegenation laws in the 16 U.S. states that still had them.
As gay men and lesbians think and contemplate about marriage, take a moment and think about the open road that was laid by some of the unsung heros such as Mildred Loving. If it weren’t for some of these earlier struggles, whether they were planned or not, we would be living in a much different world. These heros need and deserve recognition. Because of people like Mildred Loving, I was born-
I was born in the late 1960’s and if it was not for her and many others we would not be at the steps of marriage (gay men and women).