Traditionally June is known as a month for weddings. Yet for much of our nation’s history, this was not an option for all people who wanted to get married including interracial and same sex couples. Yet June is also the month when two Supreme Court decisions expanded the right to marry. 

On June 12, 1967 the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Loving v. Virginia that state laws banning interracial marriage were unconstitutional, because they violated the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the 14th Ammendment. Mildred and Richard Loving were married legally in DC. Shortly after returning to Virginia, they were arrested in the middle of the night for violating the draconian Virginia Racial Integrity Act of 1924. Forced to flee their home to avoid imprisionment, they eventually brought their case before the Supreme Court. Following the June 1967 ruling, they returned to Virginia with their children and interracial marriage was legal throughout the nation. The first video posted below summarizes this landmark case.

Forty eight years later on June 26, 2015 a second Supreme Court decision made it possible for another group of previously excluded people to get married. In the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, the court decided that same sex couples have the right to be legally married nation wide. This struck down bans on same sex marriage in the states that still maintained that restriction. The case originated after James Obergefell and John Arthur were married in Maryland, because same sex marriage was illegal in their home state of Ohio. After John Arthur tragically contracted ALS, they sued Ohio for the right to have James Obergefell listed as the surviving spouse. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, and the majority of the court ruled that same sex marriage licenses must be issued in all states and marriages performed previously must be legally recognized in all states. Although interracial and same sex marriage are very different situations, the Obergefell decision cited the Loving decision, and both made their cases based on the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the 14th Ammendment.  The second video posted below features that historic case. 

In May of 2024, the United Methodist Church eliminated restrictions on officiating same sex weddings and ordaining LGBTQ pastors. As a United Methodist pastor, I am grateful that our denomination is finally consistent with the law of the land. While not everyone agrees with these changes, I believe that the right for heterosexual couples and same sex couples to be in a life long committed relationship affirmed by both the state and the church is good for the couple, the community, and the church. This is consistent with the way of Jesus who broke down barriers that separated people in the name of God who is love. The third video posted below comes from the May 24 General Conference of the United Methodist Church.