Marriage Unhitched from the State:
by Jeremy R. Garrett
In 1970, President Richard Nixon expressed his unambiguous support for
interracial marriage; as for same-sex marriage, he exclaimed, "I can't go that
far—that's the year 2000" (Wallenstein 2002, p. 240). Nixon's prescient remark,
made shortly after the Supreme Court's 1967 decision in Loving v. Virginia to
overturn anti-miscegenation laws, expresses at once hesitancy for, yet resigned
acceptance of, the inevitable expansion of civil marriage to include more and more
kinds of loving partnerships. Nearly forty years later, Nixon's uncanny prediction
appears close to being realized. At the very least, many have gone where he
claimed to be unable to go, adding their voices to a growing movement seeking
state recognition of same-sex unions as a matter of equality, rights, and justice.
And, indeed, a strong case might be made on such grounds, were the state justified
in sponsoring an institution of civil marriage in the first place.