When discussing why putting marriage equality on the ballot is a bad idea, we’ve often joked that if anti-miscegenation laws were put to a popular vote, interracial marriages would probably still be illegal.
Turns out we’re not as funny as we thought we were.
Last month a Gallup poll found that approval for mixed-race marriages is at 86%. Which means that 14% of Americans—more than one in ten, as Jezebel points out— don’t approve of Idina Menzel and Taye Diggs’ relationship. For shame—when gorgeous people marry, it’s always right!
Breaking down the numbers, it turns out white folks are slightly more prejudiced: Only 84% are down for the swirl, as opposed to 96% of African-Americans.
And as with gay marriage, it’s the old folks—y’know the group that goes to the voting booth in droves—who are really causing the problem. Though Southerners, the uneducated and conservatives—or as they’re known collectively, the state of Virginia—polled lower than average, the elderly were at the bottom of the barrel: Only 66% of seniors polled approved of interracial marriages.
Did they at least lift their white sheets before answering the question?
As if there needs to be any clearer parallel drawn between these two struggles, let us look at the words of the late Mrs. Mildred Loving who—along with her husband, Richard—helped tear down anti-miscegenation laws in this country:
…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.
God bless you, Mrs. Loving.