Thursday, October 07, 2004

Wrong, wrong, wrong. Following up on my note yesterday regarding John Edwards' claim: "Under the law of this country for the last 200 years, no state has been required to recognize another state's marriage." John Edwards is so wrong on this it would be laughable, if not so serious.

Let's lay aside all the "little" cases such as Franzen v E. I. Du Pont De Nemours & Co., 146 F.2d 837 (3d Cir. 1944) (a non-commonlaw marriage state recognizing a common-law marriage), In re May's Estate, 114 N.E.2d 4 (N.Y.1953) (validating uncle-niece marriage), and McDonald v. McDonald, 58 P.2d 163 (Cal. 1936) (recognizing an "underage" marriage performed outside the state), and go straight to the biggie. In Loving v. Virginia, the United States Supreme Court dealt with a Virginia couple who were married in D.C., in violation of a Virginia state statute forbidding inter-racial marriages, and then returned to Virginia. The Lovings were convicted of violating Virginia's antimiscegenation statutes and received a suspended sentence (see the case for details -- in esscence they were exiled from Virginia for 25 years).

One of the provisions of the antimiscegenation statutes was section 20-57, which automatically voided all marriages between "a white person and a colored person" without any judicial proceeding.

The unanimous court overturned the conviction holding that these antimiscegenation statutes violated the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.

In short, the Commonwealth of Virginia, which had by law declared the Lovings marriage void was forced to recognize their marriage. (Quite properly, I might add -- the Commonwealth was wrong, wrong, wrong.)

I believe John Edwards, who "earned a law degree with honors in 1977 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill" knows better.

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