A poll released this week shows that 46% percent of Mississippi Republicans believe that interracial marriage should be illegal. That staggering number is accompanied by only 40% who believe that adults should be free to marry who they want. This poll just happens to come out on the anniversary of the argument in Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967), where the Supreme Court in a 9-0 vote struck down Virginia’s anti-miscegenation statute.
The poll means that one out of two Mississippi Republicans want to return to the pre-Loving status where (under Pace v. Alabama (1883)) couples could be thrown into jail for marrying outside of their race. In the case of Mildred Loving and Richard Perry Loving, Virginia police raid their home in an effort to find them in a sexual act to bring a criminal charge but quickly changed the charge when shown a marriage license of Washington, D.C. They were charged under Section 20-58 of the Virginia Code, which prohibited interracial couples from being married out of state and then returning to Virginia as well as the miscegenation provision under Section 20-59. After they pleaded guilty, Judge Leon M. Bazile handed down a one-year sentence (suspended for 25 years on condition that the couple leave the state of Virginia) with these infamous words:
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 marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.
The argument before the Supreme Court was heard on April 10, 1967 — 44 years ago. If accurate, this poll would indicate that four decades have not changed many minds in the Mississippi GOP.
Source: Public Policy Polling as seen on Reddit.