Unit Three Summative Assessment

By: Chiara A.

Loving v. Virginia (1967)

Historical Context:

In 1967, the time period in which this case occurred, was a time when the Civil Rights movement was occurring. Therefore, there was still segregation. The Vietnam War was snatching multitudinous lives as well. It was unheard of to marry opposite races and it was heavily discouraged. Specifically, according to blackpast.org, 94% of Americans wrote in a poll that they were against marriage between different races. In states such as Virginia, a former slave state, it was illegal for two people of different races to marry. In fact, law.cornell.edu says that it was one of the sixteen states at the time that banned marriage between different races.

Facts of the Case:

A black woman, Mildred Jeter, and a white man, Richard Loving decided to get married in the District of Colombia and, subsequently, returned to their hometown of Virginia. Because of this marriage between different races, an act violating the antimiscegenation law the state of Virginia had at the time, the couple was forced to leave Virginia and not return for at least 25 years. Additionaly, the Lovings got sentenced to one year in prison.

Question Before the Court:

A few months later, the Supreme Court was questioned "Did Virginia's antimiscegenation law violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment?", according to Oyez.org.

Amendment or Clauses Involved:

The fourteenth amendment, the right of equal protection under the law was used to question the authority of the sheriffs who found Loving and his wife.

Court's Ruling:

The Supreme Court rules 9-0 for Loving. "Under our Constitution," wrote Chief Justice Earl Warren, "the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual, and cannot be infringed by the State." In other words, it is the person's right and choice whether he or she can get married to a race different than theirs.


Because of this case, people can freely get married to whichever race they want. Without this case, people would have to marry the same race and, therefore, cause the population's diversity to decrease and diversity is what makes people unique.

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Obergefeller v. Hodges (2014-2015)

Historical Context:

At this point in time, even religious Americans support gay marriage. For example, according to Atlantic.com, from 2003-2014, the percent of supporters from, let's say, White Mainline Protestant has increased by 26%. As more people begin to accept gays into society, there becomes less reason for those few states to not allow gays to be married.

Facts of the Case:

Obergefell and his husband got married in a state that permitted same sex to marry although they then moved to Ohio. Ohio does not allow same-sex couples to remain married in their state. Because of this law, Obergefell and his husband, who has currently died of a disease he had had, could not get married with a proper ceremony but, instead, held the profession in the plane.

Question Before the Court:

"(1) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?

(2) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex that was legally licensed and performed in another state?"


Amendments or Clauses Involved:

The 14 Amendment's Equal Protection Clause is involved in this case because it has to do with equal protection under the law.

Court's Ruling: I believe the Supreme Court should rule that gay marriage has to be allowed in every state, a statement also eliminating the initial problem of the case; whether or not a same sex couple gets married in a state where it is allowed and then, later, moves to a state that does not allow same sex marriage. Therefore, this will not only be allowing freedom of more people and allowing them to be protected by the law equally but it will also knock out the question at hand.

Implications: If the Supreme a court rules that no, same sex marriage does not have to be accepted in every state, people will be infuriated, especially the gay crowd as most people nowadays support gay marriage. If they do, however, all of the gays and the many others who rightfully support them will go home pleased to be considered "normal" or "equal" under the U.S. Constitution.

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Obergefell and his husband


The Supreme Court made it's final ruling in the Loving case because it realized that, since modern times were arising, it was not up to the state to be in charge of marriages and that it was actually up to the individual to decide for him of her self. In 1965, a case occurred in which the final verdict was " to preserve one's racial integrity." Clearly, in order to have changed everyone's opinion on this issue, a rather large and a bombshell of an event had to occur and that was the Vietnam War. Since after this costly, in terms of both money and people, incident, cases such as Pace v. Alabama and McLaughlin v. Florida have succeeded in taking the final step into changing the Supreme Court's mind. Similarly, the Supreme Court should extend the law so that gay people can be married in all states. The phrase "marriage can be colorblind" does not need to be taken literally. In different terms, we can also be blind to not only race but also gender. According to the Supreme Court's oral argument on Oyez.org, between Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee only 5 marriages that have not been acknowledged. Therefore, it is useless to destroy a marriage and the stable environment provided for the children in same sex marriage families.