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Loving

There were kittens in our yard, but now there are not.

You were going to get a whole post about the joys of kittens and the joys of pet fostering, with a smattering of Bob Barkerisms, but we returned from work to find said kittens and accompanying momma gone from the yard.

So, no wacky kitten pictures with captions in stilted lolzcatian English.

Honestly, I’m only mentioning it now so that in five years I can recall when it was we found the kittens in our yard.

So, for historical reference, the apparent close of the kitten incident happens to coincide with the first day of legal same-sex marriages in California.

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Just as I am a feminist, I am an advocate for civil rights for everyone, and that includes the GBLT community. I honestly don’t understand how anyone can not be an advocate and an activist for both, because each movement is rooted in a simple concept: equality for all.

As we celebrate the landmark California Supreme Court decision and the many beautiful unions that it will yield, I was also reminded today of another beautiful union – this one fifty years old.

The union in question was of Mildred and Richard Loving, two Virginia small-town sweethearts who in 1958 found themselves pregnant and decided to wed in neighboring Washington, D.C.

Back in Virginia, five weeks after their wedding the couple found themselves on the receiving end of an unfriendly visit from the local Sheriff’s department because they were in violation of the state’s Racial Integrity Act.

Richard Loving was white; his bride Mildred was black.

The Racial Integrity Act made their marriage – and, for that matter, any marriage between a white person and someone of another race – a felony.

This post isn’t meant to be a history lesson- you can read other sources detailing the Loving’s arrest, or their subsequent exodus from Virginia under threat of imprisonment, and how – nine years later on June 12, 1967 – the Supreme Court of the United States overturned the Racial Integrity Act in their landmark Loving v. Virginia decision.

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I know most people (maybe even you, reading now) see the Lovings’ story in black and white – literally and figuratively. However, laws like the Racial Integrity Act were leveraged against couples of any interracial combination across the country. If it weren’t for the Loving’s and the unanimous SCOTUS decision their case garnered, interracial marriages might never have become as visible and accepted in mainstream American society. (And, similar laws lingered on the books for decades until the last one was repealed in Alabama in 2000.)

If those same laws were prevalent today it might not be legal for me to marry Elise. And, it certainly would have been illegal for her parents – one white, the other Chinese – to marry and have children.

Consider that for a moment.

All of these years I’ve been one blessed white male in the multi-ethnic sea of America. I never experienced any personal discrimination to cause me to believe in feminism or civil rights, but I believe in them because equality should be for everyone, without strings attached.

Little did I know at age five, or age twelve, or age twenty-two that my blessed life would benefit from the battles waged before me in the most meaningful way possible – because they cleared the way for me to have and hold the love of my life.

Could you imagine denying us legal recognition of our happiness just for something as trivial as the colors of our skin?

Your answer, I suspect, is “no.”

Then, consider that as of today one of my co-best-ladies and one of my dearest friends can only legally marry each other in two states in the country, solely because they are both women.

Why is it that we can all imagine denying them legal recognition of their happiness just for something as trivial as their gender?

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In my mind, the two are the same – the two couples, the two imagined denials, and the two inevitable, ineffable sets of basic human rights.

Just as I advocated for those rights before I ever knew they would effect my life so directly, I will continue to advocate for them even after my marriage is legally recognized – because everyone should have the same rights as Elise and I, regardless of race or gender.

That’s feminism. That’s civil rights. That’s equality.

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As I write this post there is a tiny dent in the dish of cat food we put out in the yard, hoping to lure back momma and her four stray kittens.

And, at the same time thousands of Californians have had the imagined denials cleared from their path to a legally recognized life of loving.

One Comment

  1. Lindsay wrote:

    I just wrote this whole long response, but I kept getting lost in my thoughts and was rambling… so let me just say that I love you and your passion and can only hope that there are enough people like you to continue this movement that will someday result in the woman I love and I being entitled to the rights we deserve.

    Wednesday, June 18, 2008 at 9:44 am | Permalink

4 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Crushing Krisis › Alla This on Saturday, July 26, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    [...] they existed. What was their life like before the invasion, and what was it like now? While I am advocating for the rights of my lesbian friends to marry are their Iraqi counterparts struggling for the simplest of rights – for the ability to exist as [...]

  2. Crushing Krisis › Steer Clear on Thursday, August 14, 2008 at 11:45 pm

    [...] write on my door and shove crap through my mail slot for the rest of my life as long as they left Lindsay and Kate and our gay neighbors (yes, the irony) alone and in [...]

  3. Crushing Krisis › Happy Birthday To This on Tuesday, August 26, 2008 at 9:46 am

    [...] solo gig, and made friends with 13-year-olds. I spoke at my mother’s wedding, and reflected on how just a few decades ago mine would be illegal in some states. I became a big brother, and [...]

  4. Crushing Krisis › Where selflessness and procrastination collide on Wednesday, February 18, 2009 at 4:32 am

    [...] weekend was consumed by more arranging and kitten-mania. Yes, the kittens from earlier this summer are back in our yard, and have been for at least a week – sleeping in flower pots and causing all [...]

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