07/10/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

How the Catholic Church Fought for Interracial Marriage and What It Means for Gay Rights

Consider that California was the flashpoint for marriage of a different sort in 1948. Then the issue wasn't two men or two women wanting the state's blessing for their matrimony, but couples from different races seeking to be married. According to Reverend Scotty McLennan of Stanford University, author of Finding Your Religion, it was the Catholic Church that stepped forward to successfully challenge California's anti-miscegenation law on behalf of a black-white couple in Los Angeles. At the time, 40 states had such laws in force. It wasn't until 1967 that the Supreme Court struck down remaining restrictions on interracial marriage then being enforced by some twenty states. So, after the California ruling upholding Proposition 8 and as more states pass laws in support of same sex marriage, how much longer before the law of the land applies to all its citizens, gay and straight alike?

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