Marriage Quiz
What kinds of marriage do these quotes describe:
interracial or same-sex couples?

© 2003, Demian


How many can you guess correctly?

Quote Same-Sex Interracial
This type of legal marriage must be forbidden, said the Republican senator from Wisconsin, “simply because natural instinct revolts at it as wrong.”    
An organization opposed to this type of marriage claimed that legalizing it would result in “a degraded and ignoble population incapable of moral and intellectual development.”    
“I believe that the tendency to classify all persons who oppose XXXX marriage as ‘prejudiced’ is in itself a prejudice,” claimed a noted psychologist.    
A U.S. representative from Georgia declared that allowing this type of marriage “necessarily involves (the) degradation” of conventional marriage, an institution that “deserves admiration rather than execration.”    
“The next step will be (the demand for) a law allowing them, without restraint, to … have free and unrestrained social intercourse with your unmarried sons and daughters,” warned a Kentucky congressman. “It is bound to come to that. There is no disguising the fact. And the sooner the alarm is given and the people take heed, the better it will be for our civilization.”    
“When people (like this) marry, they cannot possibly have any progeny,” wrote an appeals judge in a Missouri case. “And such a fact sufficiently justifies those laws which forbid their marriages.”    
These types of marriages are “abominable,” according to Virginia law. If allowed, they would “pollute” America.    
In denying the appeal of this type of couple that had tried unsuccessfully to marry, a Georgia court wrote that such unions are “not only unnatural, but … always productive of deplorable results,” such as increased effeminate behavior in the population. “They are productive of evil, and evil only, without any corresponding good … (in accordance with) the God of nature.”    
A ban on this type of marriage is not discriminatory, reasoned a Republican congressman from Illinois, because it “applies equally to men and women.”    
Attorneys for the state of Tennessee argued that such unions should be illegal because they are “distasteful to our people and unfit to produce the human race.” The state Supreme Court agreed, declaring these types of marriages would be “a calamity full of the saddest and gloomiest portent to the generations that are to come after us.”    
Lawyers for California insisted that a ban on this type of marriage is necessary to prevent “traditional marriage from being contaminated by the recognition of relationships that are physically and mentally inferior,” and entered into by “the dregs of society.”    
“The law concerning marriages is to be construed and understood in relation to those persons only to whom that law relates,” thundered a Virginia judge in response to a challenge to that state’s non-recognition of these types of unions. “And not,” he continued, “to a class of persons clearly not within the idea of the legislature when contemplating the subject of marriage.”    

How to Destroy Civilization as We Know It
(And Other Light Classics)

For the authors of the above statements, it would seem that legal recognition of such marriages would offend tradition, God, the sensibilities of the majority, and the natural order. All the while threatening conventional marriage, children, and the future of our civilization. Plus, they indicate a profound sense of rage, fear, and righteous indignation.

All of these quotes refer to interracial marriage, views of race, and the “proper” interaction between the races. They date from 1823-1964 and were culled by reporter Eric Zorn from a Boston University Law Review article and a brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court. Zorn’s article was published in the Chicago Tribune, May 19, 1996.

Interracial Marriage

The original quote about not being able to produce progeny articulated the old, white-supremacist belief that the offspring of whites and blacks were sterile, just like mules that result when horses and donkeys mate.

It is chilling to know that 15 states still criminalized interracial marriage as recently as 1967, when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned those laws in Loving v. Virginia.

In the present day, some right-wing extremists claim that marriage should be denied because same-sex couples cannot produce children. However, many same-sex couples have children from previous relationship, as well as through insemination, surrogacy, or adoption, etc.

Still these same extremists wouldn’t think of denying a license to opposite-sex couples who cannot, or don’t want to, reproduce.

Marrying Cousins

Like interracial marriage law, the closeness of kin one could legally marry has changed through the centuries.

In 1076, Pope Alexander II issued a decree prohibiting marriages between couples who were more closely related than 6th cousins.

First cousin marriage is allowed in Vermont. The Alaska and Arizona marriage codes specifically prohibit marriage to a first cousin.

Because legal marriage has taken a wide variety of forms over the centuries, the only constant has been change. As these laws evolve to suit the times and public sentiments, it is clear that some people are loath to allow the changes to take place, whether the changes are regarding kinship, interracial marriage, or same-sex marriage.



Legal Marriage Resources
Governments that offer Full Legal Marriage
Nations

        Netherlands (2001)
        Belgium (2003)
        Canada (2005)
        Spain (2005)
        South Africa (2005)
        Norway (2009)
        Sweden (2009)
        Mexico City (Mexico) (2009)
        Iceland (2010)
        Argentina (2010)
        Portugal (2010)
        France (2013)
        New Zealand (2013)
US States and Territories

        Massachusetts (2004)
        California (2008)
        Connecticut (2008)
        Iowa (2009)
        Vermont (2009)
        New Hampshire (2009)
        District of Columbia (2009)
        New York (2011)
        Maine (2012)
        Washington (2012)
        Maryland (2013)
        Rhode Island (2013)
        Delaware (2013)
        Minnesota (2013)
        Illinois (2013)
        Utah (2013) - stayed, pending legal challenge
        New Jersey (2013)
        Hawaii (2013)
        New Mexico (2013)
        Michigan (2014) - stayed, pending legal challenge
        Oregon (2014)
        Wisconsin (2014) - stayed, pending legal challenge
        Arkansas (2014) - stayed, pending legal challenge
        Pennsylvania (2014)
        Indiana (2014)
Native American Tribes

        Coquille Tribe in OR (2008)
        Suquamish Tribe in WA (2011)
        Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians in MI (2013)

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