June is a month for celebrating! Besides dads and graduates we celebrate Juneteenth, the end of slavery, no matter how late the message came.
But there's more! June 12 is Loving Day, the anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, the aptly named 1967 Supreme Court decision that vacated the two 1-year sentences of Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter Loving who each pled guilty to a law criminalizing marriage between persons of different races, on the grounds that the Virginia statutory scheme violated the equal protection and due process clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.
And More! That decision was relied upon in 2013 in U.S. v. Windsor, which granted Edith Windsor a marriage exemption of $363,053 after her Canadian-wed wife passed away and the IRS denied her estate tax refund, striking down the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional in the process.
Still More! In 2025 it was cited in Obergefell v. Hodges, which held that Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, and
Tennessee’s statutory definition of marriage violated the Fourteenth Amendment and recognized a
marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawful, licensed and performed out-of-state.
Think about your attitude toward same sex marriage just a few years ago. Think about what it took to change minds. think of the brave and dedicated people and the hurdles and setbacks they faced as they worked to enable everybody to pursue happiness in their own way.
Now there's a backlash from those who can't abide what? People being happy? I heard a definition of a Puritan as one who is haunted by the thought that someone, somewhere is happy--I guess it's not just Puritans. Some of the battles we thought to be won need to fought again.
That reminds me of this quote from Agnes Martin,
"Of all the pitfalls in our paths and the tremendous delays and wanderings off the track I want to say that they are not what they seem to be. I want to say that all that seems like fantastic mistakes are not mistakes, all that seems like error is not error; and it all has to be done. That which seems like a false step is the next step."
That reminds me that I used to tell my students, "If you make a line you don't like, don't erase it. Leave it because now you know where you don't want to go. Let it show you where you do want to go. And then move on. Don't let perceived mistakes slow you down."
So let us beat on, boats against the current tide, remembering always to love kindness, seek justice and walk humbly.
June 22, 2023