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First Comes Love

March 24, 2009 Front Page 2 Comments


The X Fact(her) with Chloé Hilliard

The problem: LGBT people are not allowed the same rights to marriage as heterosexual people. Some watchdog and religious groups have spent millions to get Prop 8 passed. Now, the thousands of LGBT couples who rushed to the altar to marry when they had the right to do so in the state of California are unsure of where their union stands.

Benjamin Manson and Sarah White waited 23 years before their marriage was deemed legal and honored by the United States of America. Their formal yet non-binding wedding ceremony in 1843 while enslaved is one of the few documented. Today, it’s viewed as a testament to the injustices of slavery and the heart wrenching tale of love conquering all. After their wedding, they returned to their respective plantations to work for their masters, spending most of their “marriage” living apart.

On April 19, 1866, 23 years, nine children and one Civil War later the two were officially acknowledge as man and wife.

Ninety-two years later, Mildred and Richard Loving eloped in Washington D.C. to avoid prosecution. She was black, he was white. Under their home state of Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act they could not marry. The Jim Crow era was in full effect. Their marriage wasn’t legal in Virginia. The two were arrested one night while they slept. Someone tipped off the local police about their nuptials. They were found guilty of being married and sentenced to either one year in jail or extradition from the state. It took a decade and a Supreme Court ruling to overturn the laws.

Today, thousands of LGBT couples, families and their supporters will take to the steps of San Francisco’s City Hall to announce the Civil Rights March to Sacramento, a 5-day march from San Francisco to Sacramento to call on the Supreme Court to overturn Prop 8.

They are walking for what they feel are their rights, not as men who love men or women who love women, but people who love people.

The Solution:

Benjamin and Sarah were people in love. Over time they were allowed to marry.

Mildred and Richard were people in love. Over time they were allowed to marry.

Raymond and Byron are people in love. Over time they will be allowed to marry.

About Chloe A. Hilliard: For the last seven years, Chloé   A. Hilliard has been a culture/entertainment journalist, writing for the Village Voice, Essence, Vibe, King, and The Source. A native of Brooklyn, Chloé holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism
from New York University and certificate from the Columbia Publishing Course. Most recently, she was a staff writer for The Village Voice, America’s largest weekly newspaper. Since joining the staff she’s chronicled lesbian thugs, BET’s transformation and eminent domain in Brooklyn.

Prior to the Voice, Chloé served as News Editor at The Source magazine for two years. There, she focused on keeping Hip-Hoppers abreast of politics, culture and trends. For her expertise on Hip-Hop culture she’s appeared on CNN Headline News, ABC News, Our World with Black Enterprise and local news broadcasts on ABC 7 and CW11. Her work is also featured in The Best African-American Essays:2009, a non-fiction collection of written works that examines African American concerns in the Obama era. Read more of her work at chloehilliard.com

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Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. Criss says:

    Excellent post.

    Puts things in perspective — I wish more people could see how ridiculous their Prop 8 and prohibitions like it are, and how inherently wrong.

    Thanks for writing it.

  2. This is very up-to-date info. I think I’ll share it on Delicious.

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