Unit Three Summative

By Katy Pickens

Section One of the Fourteenth Amendment

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Loving v. Virginia


Decided in 1967

Historical Conext of the Case

During the 1950's and 1960's in America, in sixteen states it was illegal for two people of different races to marry (www.blog.constitutioncenter.org). The Civil Rights Movement had begun and people of all different colors were fighting for equality and to end the discrimination against African Americans. As a result of these protests, many were becoming more tolerant of black people as they were fighting for their rights (www.history.com). Martin Luther King Jr. was serving as a revolutionary and an inspiration for countless Americans that had their rights stolen from them (www.infoplease.com).

Facts of the Case

In 1958, Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving were married in the District of Colombia.

They returned to Virginia and were charged with violating Virginia's law against interracial marriage and were given the option to either go to jail for a year or to leave Virginia and not come back for 25 years (www.oyez.org)

Question before the court

Does Virginia's law against interracial marriage violate the fourteenth amendment of the United States' Constitution?

The ruling

According to www.oyez.org, there were 9 votes for Loving and 0 against him. Chief Justice Earl Warren said "Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual, and cannot be infringed by the State."

The implications of the case

People of different races could now get married any where in America.
Big image

Obergfell v. Hodges

2009- Present

To be decided this month


37 states have already legalized same-sex marriage (www.freedomtomarry.com) and the majority of Americans support same-sex marriage (www.quinnipiac.edu). Only 13 states have yet to legalize same-sex marriage. 60% of Americans also believe that same-sex marriages should be recognized as valid in all states (www.pollingreport.com). Bigotry or religion often cause people to feel negatively toward gay marriage. Although in 1972 the Supreme Court struck down Baker v. Nelson, another same-sex marriage case (www.scarinciattorney.com) there has a been a rally cry, especially from young people, to legalize gay marriage in all of America, not just the states that have already legalized it.

Facts of the case

Many same-sex couples sued on the basis that the ban of same-sex marriage in their states was unconstitutional and the fact that other states did not recognize their marriages if they were legally married violated the Fourteenth Amendment. In the lower courts, they ruled in favor of the same-sex couples, but in the court of appeals, they ruled that "the states’ bans on same-sex marriage and refusal to recognize marriages performed in other states did not violate the couples’ Fourteenth Amendment rights to equal protection and due process." (www.oyez.com)

Questions before the court

Is it unconstitutional for states to ban marriage between same-sex couples? Do states have to recognize legally licensed marriages between people of the same sex if they were married in another state?

What should they rule based on the context and today's society?

I believe that the court should rule in favor of same-sex marriage. Not only have the majority of states already a legalized gay marriage, but the majority of Americans also support it. The case Loving v. Virginia decided that not allowing people to marry on the basis of their sexual preference violates the fourteenth amendment equal protection clause, and the same should be decided when it is concerning sexual orientation.

What would be the implications of the case?

There are three ways that the court can rule; (1) that marriage is a constitutional right that cannot be denied based on sexual preference and each state has to recognize marriages between two people of the same sex, (2) that the states have the desicion of whether or not to legalize gay marriage but say that each state has to recognize the marriage of two people of the same sex, or (3) that same-sex marriage of any kind is unconstitutional. If the court decides the first option, the laws banning same-sex marriage in the thirteen states that have yet to legalize it would be immediately struck down and all states would have to recognize the marriage between two people, regardless of their genders. If the court rules in favor of option two, the laws concerning same-sex marriage in each state would stay the same, but each state would have to recognize marriages between people of the same sex. Though options one and two are far more likely, if the court rules in favor of option three, no same-sex couples could get married in any state.


The decision to allow interracial marriage in the Loving v. Virginia case was heavily influenced by the events that happened during the same time as the case- the Civil Rights Movement. The protests that were occurring were to give African Americans more rights and for the United States to discriminate less, so the Supreme Court decided to make interracial marriage legal to encourage this state of mind and keep the Civil Rights Movement going forward. I think that the Supreme Court should extend the right to marriage to same-sex couples because, just like in the Loving v. Virginia case, today's society calls for it. The majority of states have already legalized gay marriage and the majority of Americans are in favor of it becoming legal everywhere. There have been countless demonstrations in support of gay marriage, and today in 2015, many people are tolerant of gay marriage and are ready for it to be legalized.



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Gay and Lesbian Flag. Digital image. Mashable. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 June 2015. <http://mashable.com/2012/07/19/chick-fil-a-gay-marriage/>.

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Martin Luther King Jr. Digital image. Manasseh Secondary School. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 June 2015. <http://www.manhassetschools.org/Domain/299>.

Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving. Digital image. Slant. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 June 2015. <http://www.slantmagazine.com/house/article/full-frame-documentary-film-festival-2011-the-loving-story>.

Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving. Digital image. Wikipedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 June 2015. <http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loving_v._Virginia>.

Mixed Marriage. Digital image. Atlanta Black Star. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 June 2015. <http://atlantablackstar.com/2012/04/29/interracial-marriages-on-the-rise-in-america/>.

Protesters march in Washington D.C. Digital image. Wikipedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 June 2015. <http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/African-American_Civil_Rights_Movement_(1954–68)>.

Same-sex marriage. Digital image. Johnathan Merritt. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 June 2015. <http://www.jonathanmerritt.com/tag/gay-marriage/>.

States that used to prohibit interracial marriage. Digital image. U.S. News. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 June 2015. <http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/press-past/2013/03/28/as-the-supreme-court-weighs-gay-marriage-a-look-at-its-last-major-marriage-ruling>.

States where gay marriage is legal. Digital image. Planet Mundus. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 June 2015. <http://planetmundus.com/dichotomous-america/>.