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Interracial marriage, same-sex marriage

Date published: 6/29/2014

June 12 was an unofficial memorial day called, appropriately enough, "Loving Day."

It commemorates the Supreme Court's 1967 decision in Loving v. Virginia that struck down bans on interracial marriage. The Court concluded that there was no rational basis for denying couples of different races the right to marry, which the justices declared a basic right under our Constitution.

Like the Loving case, soon the Supreme Court will decide whether that basic right extends to same-gender couples.

The current prohibitions in Virginia and elsewhere against same-sex marriage look an awful lot like the overturned bans on inter-racial marriage. Like them, they have no rational basis and represent religious and traditional prejudices that are out of place in a society dedicated to equal rights.

When Howard Owen, The Free Lance-Star's editorial page editor, asked people to rethink their prejudices against gay marriage, he wasn't being intolerant, but pleading for more acceptance of our fellow citizens' rights under the Constitution.

You can't be tolerant of intolerance, as one recent letter-writer demanded ["More tolerance, please, for gay marriage foes," June 23].

I'm old enough to remember being surprised to see interracial couples walking down the street holding hands; I got over it.

I'm still somewhat surprised today to see same-sex couples holding hands; I'm getting over it. You will, too.

Paul Metzger