In 1948, the Supreme Court of California struck down laws that prevented inter-racial marriage, in Perez v. Sharp.
In 1968, in Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down such laws nationally.
Now, what was the view of the people? As shown by Gallup, not until 1991 did a plurality of Americans approve of inter-racial marriages. Indeed, one might argue that the decision of 1968 sped it up, and even then, the electorate only caught up with the law 30 years later.
And even today, relationships between black and white can be politically perilous. Despite having a mixed-race president in the White House.
A sharp counterpoint was the 2006 Tennessee Senate race which then-Rep. Harold Ford, an African-American, lost narrowly to Republican Bob Corker after the final days of the campaign were consumed by a Republican National Committee ad linking Ford to a scantily clad young blond woman. Ford’s allies charged it was a thinly veiled attempt to tap into old Southern fears about black men and white women.And, in case you think that's an aberration, think again. Reported in the AP,
And it seems to be a current that still remains just below the surface in Tennessee politics: Ford’s subsequent marriage to a white woman was widely viewed as a major barrier to another run.
A Louisiana justice of the peace said he refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple out of concern for any children the couple might have. Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, says it is his experience that most interracial marriages do not last long.Racism and other forms of bigotry run deep. But don't tell anyone to wait for the electorate to catch up. Justice delayed is justice denied. Still, we believe that the arc of history bends towards justice.
"I'm not a racist. I just don't believe in mixing the races that way," Bardwell told the Associated Press on Thursday. "I have piles and piles of black friends. They come to my home, I marry them, they use my bathroom. I treat them just like everyone else."