“We all need to do our part to have this world be respectful of differences and be inclusive in our thinking.”- Zauyah WaitePosted in Retuning Students E-News, Uncategorized on October 6th, 2011 by zwaite – 50 Comments
A few days ago, I heard on the radio today that Saudi women are allowed to vote for the very first time…FINALLY!
On June 25, 2011 the same sex marriage bill in New York passed. Now there are six states (12%) of the country that allow same sex marriages. What I really like about NY’s law is that same sex couples don’t have to be residents of NY. On September 20, 2011, the U.S Military ended its “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that has been a joke since the day it was first introduced.
It is hard for me to believe that prior to 1967, my marriage to Jim would have been illegal in Missouri and 15 other states. There was a time in recent US history where interracial marriages were not recognized in every state. Couples in such a marriage were found in violation of law if they moved to another state that didn’t recognize that marriage.
Time for a little history lesson . . . Back in 1958, Virginia couple Mildred (African American) and Richard Loving (Caucasian) got married in Washington DC, where it was legal. Upon returning to Virginia they were charged with violation of the ban of marriages between white person and non-white persons. Ultimately, they were charged for breaking a law that prevents inter-racial couples from being married out of state and then returning to Virginia. The Lovings pleaded guilty and were sentenced to one year in prison, with the sentence suspended for 25 years on condition that the couple leave the state of Virginia. They moved to the District of Columbia.
In 1964, frustrated by their inability to travel together to visit their families in Virginia, Mildred wrote in protest to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. Kennedy referred her to the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU filed a motion to vacate the judgment and set aside the sentence. This began a series of hearings that ultimately wound up at the U.S. Supreme Court. On June 12, 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the convictions in a unanimous decision, which allowed interracial marriages to be legalized throughout the country, and that each state must recognize marriages from other states. Sadly, Richard Loving died in 1975 at the age of 41 when a drunken driver struck their car. Mildred lost her right eye in the same accident. Mildred died in 2008 in Virginia from pneumonia at the age of 68. On June 12, 2007, the 40th anniversary of Loving v Virginia, Mildred issued a rare public statement, which commented on same-sex marriage. The concluding paragraphs of her statement:
“Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, 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. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others…Especially if it denies people’s civil rights. I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.”
We really do owe a great deal of personal homage to the Loving’s for taking a stand on doing the right thing. THANK YOU MILDRED & RICHARD!
Same Sex Marriage Bill in New York
Many advocated openly for the passing of the Bill. All are considered heroes in their own rights. In actuality, there were many unsung heroes involved with making this happen. One of them is Mark Grisanti.
It was reported in the NY Times that “with his position still undeclared, Senator Mark J. Grisanti, a Republican from Buffalo who had sought office promising to oppose same-sex marriage, told his colleagues he had agonized for months before concluding he had been wrong. “I apologize for those who feel offended,” Mr. Grisanti said, adding, “I cannot deny a person, a human being, a taxpayer, a worker, the people of my district and across this state, the State of New York, and those people who make this the great state that it is the same rights that I have with my wife.”
It takes a great deal of integrity to make a stand like this when it goes against someone’s personal morals and beliefs. I am a firm believer that the more we educate our society, the more progressive thinking and ideologies will become the norm. Congratulations Mark Grisanti for having the conviction to change your belief system and do it in such a public way. He would get my vote if I lived in his district.
I am happy to see our society become more open and accepting to differences. I can only hope that the world will be a more open and caring place when my children (and future grandkids) grow older and wiser. Thanks for reading.
The New York Times, June 24, 2011