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Marriage Equality

Virginia Attorney General Compares Marriage Ban to Racism

Virginia Attorney General Compares Marriage Ban to Racism


Bans on same-sex couples getting married sound awfully similar to bans on interracial marriage, says Virginia's attorney general.

Virginia's attorney general followed up his refusal to defend a ban on marriage equality with a brief on Friday that equates the ban with racism.

In an argument for marriage equality, Attorney General Mark Herring invoked the landmark Loving v. Virginia case, which struck down a ban on interracial marriages in 1967. "The clerk's slippery-slope arguments are the same ones used to oppose interracial marriage in 1967; they are no more persuasive today than then," he wrote, according to the Associated Press.

"Loving teaches that the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right to marry, even if the way in which it is practiced would have surprised the Framers or made them feel uncomfortable," he wrote, according to the AP.

After being married, Mildred and Richard Loving were forced to flee Virginia and live in Washington, D.C . or risk being arrested for violating the state's "Racial Integrity Act." The Supreme Court used their case to strike down laws banning interracial marriage all over the country.

A federal court ruled in February that Virginia's same-sex marraige ban is unconstitutional because it violates the 14th Amendment's guarantee of equal protection. Now an appeals court is expected to hear arguments in the case next month, but no matter the outcome it is expected to be appealed to the Supreme Court.

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