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Abstract

In the early same-sex marriage debates advocates and opponents of marriage equality often relied upon comparing mixed-race marriage jurisprudence and the Loving v Virginia decision in order to conceptualize same-sex marriage cases. Liberal commentators relied upon the analogy between the Loving decision in order to carve out space for the protection of same-sex marriage rights. Conservative scholars, however, denounced the equal protection and due process claims that relied on the sameness of race and sexuality as inexact parallels. Finally, queer and black radicals called the goal of marriage equality into question by highlighting the white supremacist and heterosexist nature of marriage as an institution. By examining the arguments put forth by liberal scholars, conservative commentators, and black queer radicals, this paper explores the sociolegal effects of the analogy. Though effective in front of the bar, culminating in the Obergefell decision in 2015, the Loving analogy proved contentious in bot the legal and social spheres.