Virginia Passes the Equal Rights Amendment

In the United States of America, slavery and discrimination on the basis of colour, religion, creed existed openly throughout the history. The African Americans were affected the most by the legalized racial discriminatory laws. The Americans have struggled to settle exclusionary discrimination practices based on colour for almost over a century. Through the approval of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868, civil rights became a fundamental part of the Constitution that assured equal rights to every citizen under the law. The clause of equal rights protection gave rise to a many politically backed movements and legal efforts to demand for racial equality. “Blessings of Liberty” was promised in the Constitution of United States of America but was exploited in many scenarios.

In 1952, 30 out of 50 states made interracial marriage illegal. Many of these states also rejected to recognize such marriages done in other states. For instance, in the 1967 “Loving vs. Virginia” case, which fruitfully confronted the prohibition of interracial unions. Richard, a white man, and Mildred Loving, a black woman, married each other in the city of District of Columbia where interracial unions were lawful. When they returned to their hometown Virginia, the ruling classes charged the married couple with breaking the Virginian law. Following their charge by Virginian government, the couple was not allowed to live in there anymore and asked to leave. They relocated to Washington, D.C. The couple spent a chunk of their lives in exile there and raised three children. But their wish to return to Virginia made them take an action. In 1963, Mildred Loving sent a letter to Robert F. Kennedy, the Attorney General United States of America, requesting for help. Kennedy forwarded the case to the “American Civil Liberties Union”, that accepted it.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was also quiet on this matter. The Loving along with her legal companions started their battle in November, 1963. With the help of B. Cohen and P. Hirschkop, two young lawyers of American Civil Liberties Union, the affected couple filed their case and asked Judge Bazile to negate the conviction of Virginia and strike down the sentences imposed on them by the state. When the judge refused, P. Hirschkop and B. Cohen took this case to the Virginian Supreme Court of Appeals but it also supported the previous ruling. Succeeding another appeal, “Loving vs. Virginia” was moved to the Supreme Court of United States of America in April, 1967.

The Court gave decision in favour of Loving and stated that the laws banning the interracial unions were against the constitution and should not be practiced. Almost a decade later the Supreme Court took down the state laws that outlawed marriage on the base of racial discrimination. The Court stated marriage

“one of the ‘basic civil rights of man,’ fundamental to our very existence and survival.”

Case “Loving vs. Virginia” was also used many times in the decisions of Court almost after 50 years pronouncing marriage a vital right for the couples of same sex.

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