Scott Statement on 50th Anniversary of Loving v. Virginia

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Bobby Scott issued the following statement
to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark
decision in Loving v. Virginia:

"In 1959, Mildred and Richard Loving were charged with violating
Virginia's ban on interracial marriage.  This injustice launched a
courageous legal challenge that culminated in the Supreme Court ruling on
this day, 50 years ago, that the United States would no longer allow
race-based restrictions on the right to marry.  The Loving Court
unanimously stated that marriage is one of the 'basic civil rights of
man,' confirming that America is a place of equality and freedom.

"The Loving decision is as important today as it was in 1967.  Judge Leon
M. Bazile, the state judge who originally sentenced the Loving's for
violating Virginia's anti-miscegenation law, cited his sincerely held
religious beliefs as justification for the Commonwealth's ban on
interracial marriages.  Today, we must remember that religious liberty is
a fundamental American value and we are free to believe or not-but we
should not use a sincerely held religious belief or the 'conscience-based
objections' of one person to cause harm to others.  As a nation, we must
also remember that this was the same line of reasoning used to justify
slavery, segregation, and other forms of discrimination.

"Unfortunately, on May 4th of this year, President Trump issued an
executive order permitting individuals to use their 'conscience-based
objections' to override civil rights protections.  This sets a dangerous
precedent that individuals can use their 'conscience-based objections' to
undermine civil rights laws within the United States.  To curb this
dangerous precedent, I will join Congressman Joe Kennedy in reintroducing
the Do No Harm Act, which provides that no one can seek religious
exemption from laws guaranteeing fundamental civil and legal rights to

"The Loving decision - which restored the full dignity and rights of
Americans of different races who wanted to marry - is a reminder that
protecting civil rights is a compelling government interest.  Today, I ask
my colleagues to join with me in remembering this historic case, and urge
our nation to keep in mind the equality and freedom for which the Supreme
Court's decision stands.  We are a better, stronger and fairer nation
thanks to their jurisprudence and to Mildred and Richard Loving for
standing up to demand that their rights be recognized and protected."