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Our task in this Symposium is to place Loving v. Virginia in a contemporary context: to interpret, if not reinterpret, its meaning in light of the settings in which race, sexuality, and intimacy are being negotiated and renegotiated today. So we might ask, in what way are Mildred and Richard Loving role models for us today? How, if at all, does the legal movement for marriage equality for interracial couples help us think through our arguments and strategies as we struggle today for marriage equality for same-sex couples?

One way to frame these questions is to ask whether there is a shared etiology in the racial and sexual orientation contexts. That is to say, can or should the contemporary struggle mirror the arc of justice in the racial equality context fifty years ago? Does getting the justice project right today mean that same-sex couples are entitled to our own Loving moment, and that we are entitled to it soon? Surely that is the overwhelming view in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender legal community.

But I will say here, as I have said elsewhere, that there are good reasons to resist the analogy to Loving and to resist the pull of a Loving-like notion of justice. As we push to create a less heteronormative society, we ought to rely less on lawyers and more on politics, and in so doing, we may find different analogies that inspire our political and legal strategies in the present.


Law | Law and Politics | Law and Race | Legal History | Sexuality and the Law