North Carolina confronts an historic milestone on May 8 with the proposed change to our state constitution: historic, because we have typically amended our constitution to expand and protect, not take away rights. Except when it comes to marriage, and thus the milestone: from 1865 until 1967, Article XIV, Section 8 of our state constitution “forever” prohibited “[a]ll marriages between a white person and a Negro.” It took the courageous love between Richard and Mildred Loving and a United States Supreme Court decision in 1967 to invalidate that law. In Loving v. Virginia, the Court noted that “[t]here is patently no legitimate overriding purpose independent of invidious racial discrimination which justifies this classification,” and ruled such statutes in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The Court’s core holding bears repeating as North Carolina voters head to the polls on May 8:
Marriage is “one of the basic civil rights of man,” fundamental to our very existence and survival....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.
Posted by Mark Dorosin on Sat. May 5, 2012 8:04 PM