On this day, 44 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Loving v. Virginia struck down laws that forbade African Americans and whites from marrying.
The Loving decision was a watershed moment in the civil rights movement, and has deep implications today for gay and lesbian couples who want nothing more than the freedom to marry.
To commemorate the anniversary, the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) co-counsel in the Prop. 8 case, Ted Olson and David Boies, recorded this message about how the Loving case set an important precedent for the current fight for marriage equality.
This year, the timing of this anniversary holds special significance.
On Monday, a federal judge in San Francisco will hear arguments in a motion to vacate Judge Vaughn Walker’s August 2010 decision that California’s Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.
The issue surrounding the ruling is whether Judge Walker should have disclosed his openly-gay relationship of 10 years before ruling on the same-sex marriage ban.
Proponents of Prop 8 said said Walker should have disclosed his involvement with his male partner before presiding over the marriage trial because it constituted a conflict of interest.
“Judge Walker’s 10-year-long same-sex relationship creates the unavoidable impression that he was not the impartial judge the law requires,” ProtectMarriage argued in the legal filing.
Walker, who on April 6 publicly disclosed he is gay, said he never considered his own homosexuality a reason to recuse himself from the case.
Court and legal analysts have said that it is highly unlikely that ProtectMarriage’s bid to have Walker’s ruling vacated will succeed.