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Interracial Marriage: Many Deep South Republican Voters Believe Interracial Marriage Should Be Illegal

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Despite the fact that the number of interracial marriages in the U.S. reached an all-time high this year, there are many who still believe that mixed-race marriage is unacceptable and should be made illegal, according to a new report.

On Monday, polling firm Public Policy Polling (PPP) revealed that 29 percent of likely GOP voters surveyed in Mississippi believe that interracial marriage should be illegal. Fifty-four percent said intermarriage should remain legal, and the rest responded that they weren't sure. The survey also found that 21 percent of likely GOP voters polled in Alabama believe that interracial marriage should be illegal.

Although the Supreme Court declared anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional more than four decades ago in 1967, Alabama kept a state-level law on the books until 2000. Many mixed-race couples in the Deep South are still struggling to feel safe and be accepted in their communities.

In November 2011, Stella Harville and her fiance, Ticha Chikuni, a native of Zimbabwe, were banned from a Kentucky church for being an interracial couple. The church also ruled that married interracial couples could be prohibited from becoming members. A month later, the congregation overturned their decision, deeming their earlier ruling "discriminatory."

And in May 2011, Debra Dodd, a former church secretary from Tennessee, was fired, she claims, after the all-white church where she worked learned she married a black man. The church has denied that her firing was related to her interracial marriage, but Dodd sued the church in December 2011 for racial discrimination. No updates on the lawsuit have been reported.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that 29% of self-identified Republicans in Mississippi and 21% of self-identified Republicans in Alabama felt intermarriage should be illegal. The post has been updated to correct self-identified Republicans to likely GOP voters. Also, information has been added to clarify that miscegenation laws were invalidated in 1967, but that several had remained codified until as recently as 2000.

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