1948 October 1

California Supreme Court Ends Ban on Interracial Marriages

 

By a 4–3 vote, the California Supreme Court, in Perez v. Sharp, on this day struck down an 1850 state law banning interracial marriage. The case involved Andrea Perez, who was a Mexican-American but classified as “white” by the state at that time, and Sylvester Davis, who was African-American. Reportedly, this was the first time any court in the U.S. had ruled on the issue of racial intermarriage.

The U.S. Supreme Court declared interracial marriage bans unconstitutional in the famous case of Loving v. Virginia on June 12, 1967.

The Court: “In summary, we hold that sections 60 and 69 are not only too vague and uncertain to be enforceable regulations of a fundamental right, but that they violate the equal protection of the laws clause of the United States Constitution by impairing the right of individuals to marry on the basis of race . . . alone and by arbitrarily and unreasonably discriminating against certain racial groups.”

Read the Court’s Opinion: http://www.multiracial.com/government/perez-v-sharp.html

Read about the Perez and the Loving cases: Peter Wallenstein, Tell the Court I Love My Wife: Race, Law, and Marriage: An American History (2002)

Learn more about African American history: Henry Louis Gates, Life Upon These Shores: Looking at African American History, 1513-2008 (2011)

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