New Jersey finally ready to officially codify the legalization of interracial marriage

TRENTON, NJ – It’s hard to believe, but New Jersey does not have an actual law on the books saying it is legal for interracial couples to marry each other. Now, Democrats in New Jersey are fearful that the U.S. Supreme Court could overturn the landmark Loving v. Virginia case, which legalized interracial marriage in America.

If that case is overturned, like Roe v. Wade, states would then decide the legality of interracial marriage, a topic few would expect to be an issue in 2023.

“New Jersey has never enacted a statute prohibiting miscegenation, or marriage between persons of different races,” bill A4939 states. Accordingly, New Jersey has never had to reverse, in statutory or case law, invidious discrimination in marriage or civil union status on the basis of race.

In 1967, the United States Supreme Court in Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967), overturned the convictions of a husband, a white person, and wife, a black person, who married in the District of Columbia, and returned to Virginia, where, upon their plea of guilty, were sentenced, in a Virginia state court, to one year in jail for violating Virginia’s ban on interracial marriages.  In overturning the Virginia statute, the Supreme Court analyzed the statute under the Equal Protection Clause of the federal constitution and found that the racial classifications then in existence in Virginia violated this clause.  The effect of the ruling was to legalize interracial marriages nationwide.

“Given the risk that other personal decisions, currently protected under the federal constitution, could be returned to individual states for determination, including the right of persons of different racial or ethnic backgrounds to marry, it is prudent to protect interracial marriage in New Jersey statutory law,” the bill sponsors declared. “This bill declares the right of a person to marry or enter into a civil union with a person of any race is fundamental and that race is not a prohibiting factor.”

The Supreme Court currently has no hearings on the docket regarding interracial marriage.

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