We've Heard this Before: The Legacy of Interracial Marriage Bans and the Implications for Today's Marriage Equality Debates

21 Pages Posted: 14 May 2009 Last revised: 29 Jun 2009

Gregory N. Johnson

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: June 16, 2009

Abstract

This article examines the many cases upholding bans on interracial marriage prior to 1948, the year the California Supreme Court became the first high court to strike down such a ban. The arguments courts made in defense of the ban on interracial marriage are strikingly similar to arguments made today against same-sex marriage. These include arguments based on religion and natural law, procreation, concern for the children, deference to the legislature, and the slippery-slope argument. The thesis of this article is that, given the commonality in arguments, the earlier struggle for marriage equality by interracial couples is relevant to today's debate on same-sex marriage. The ultimate rejection of the arguments against interracial marriage speaks to the long-term viability of the same arguments in the same-sex marriage debate.

Keywords: California Supreme Court, Interracial Marriage, 1948, same-sex marriage debate, same sex marriage

Suggested Citation

Johnson, Gregory N., We've Heard this Before: The Legacy of Interracial Marriage Bans and the Implications for Today's Marriage Equality Debates (June 16, 2009). Vermont Law Review, Fall 2009; Vermont Law School Research Paper No. 09-18. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1403915

Gregory N. Johnson (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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