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At that time, 24 states across the country had laws strictly prohibiting marriage between people of different races.

Five weeks earlier, the longtime couple had learned Mildred was pregnant and decided to wed in defiance of the law. Upon their return to Virginia, they were arrested and found guilty, with the judge informing Mildred that “as long as you live you will be known as a felon.” The Lovings moved to the relative safety of Washington, but longed to return to their home state.

And who can forget that 80 percent of white evangelicals just voted for the openly racist Donald Trump?I met my wife Aretha in the fall of 1997; she had just moved from Portland, Oregon, to my hometown of Portland, Maine. Were both Americans, born on the same soil and raised within the same language and popular cultureall variables are equal except for our skin color. But overall, we thank them for their ignorance, as our relationship has only grown stronger.By Christmas we were dating, and before we knew it we were both graduating and heading to Boston for college. Yet many people see us as two entirely different types of people who do not belong together, as if Cupids arrows discriminate. For instance, if were at the mall and a few people stare at us or point in our direction, we smile and wrap our arms around each other even tighter.Gay rights advocates are casting the fight for same-sex marriage as a struggle mirrored in the nation’s past."This is a civil rights issue," Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver said during a news conference announcing Democratic plans to legalize same-sex marriage in New Jersey. Supreme Court eventually heard Richard and Mildred Loving’s case and ruled state statutes banning interracial marriage unconstitutional.

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