To the editor:
Through the late 1950s, it was illegal in many states for whites and blacks to intermarry as it ran contrary to popular religious beliefs. In 1958, two residents of Virginia, a black woman and a white man, were married in the District of Columbia pursuant to its laws. Shortly after their marriage, the couple returned to Virginia where they lived as husband and wife. A Virginia grand jury issued an indictment charging them with violating Virginia’s ban on interracial marriages. The couple were sentenced to one year in jail. The sentencing judge declared:
“Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with His arrangement, there would be no cause for such marriage. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”
The Virginia judge and our Kansas governor have much in common. They both believe that being required to treat their fellow citizens as equals infringes upon their religious liberties. Isn’t it possible to be religious and yet be accepting of basic human rights such as the right to work, the right to have a roof over your head and the right to marry the person of one’s choosing whether that person be gay, straight — black or white?