INTIMATE INTEGRATION: LESSONS FROM THE LGBT
CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT
ROBERT S. SALEM*
Professor Dorothy Roberts, from the University of Pennsylvania Law
School, is an acclaimed scholar on race, gender, and the law. Some of her
most notable work focuses on the experiences of interracial couples just after
Loving v. Virginia was decided.1 She concludes that breaking down barriers
to marriage did little to ac hieve full integration of African-Americans into
the dominant white culture.2 Similarly, Obergefell v. Hodges, which granted
marriage equality for LGBT people, has not led to swift action in the federal,
and most state legislatures, to formally prohibit discrimination based on
sexual orientation and gender identity.3 In fact, federal non-discrimination
laws for LG BT p eople rem ain elu sive.4 After the Loving and Obergefell
decisions, there was optimism the rulings would propel the movements
closer to full equality.5 Americans’ reverence for the institution of marriage
led many to believe that marriage rights signify acceptance in society.6
Copyright © 2016, Robert S. Salem.
* Clinical Professor of Law, University of Toledo Law School.
2 See generally Dorothy Roberts, Crossing Two Color Lines: Interracial Marriage and
Residential Segregation in Chicago, 45 CAP. U. L. REV. 1 (2017).
4 Beyond Marriage Equality: A Blueprint for Federal Non-Discrimination Protections,
HUM. RTS. CAMPAIGN, http://hrc-assets.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com//files/
2VVP] (Human Rights Campaign report laying out a plan of action for increasing federal
5 Tim Holbrook, Marriage Equality? Not so Fast, CNN (Mar. 26, 2016, 2:02 PM),
T5G2-LXTB] (author discusses immediate effects of same sex marriage, areas in which
inequality will remain, and areas in which outcomes are unknown post-Obergefell). See also
Peter Wallenstein, The Straight Interracial Couple Who Paved the Way for Gay Marriage,
DAILY BEAST (June 29, 2015, 11:36 AM), http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/06/29/
W9UQ-QZDC] (article on historical parallels).
6 James Esseks, The End Game Is Here for Marriage Equality, AM. CIV. LIBERTIES UNION
(Jan. 16, 2015, 4:30 PM), https://www/aclu.org/blog/speakeasy/end-game-here-marriage-
equality [https://perma.cc/L6QP-3EW9] (a uthor argues that same sex marriage is a
monumental step toward equality because of the reverence our culture has for the institution