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Constitutional Law

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2018

Equal protection

Holning Lau

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From Loving To Obergefell: Elevating The Significance Of Discriminatory Effects, Holning Lau Dec 2017

From Loving To Obergefell: Elevating The Significance Of Discriminatory Effects, Holning Lau

Holning Lau

Loving v. Virginia and Obergefell v. Hodges are both landmark Supreme Court cases that advanced marriage equality. In Obergefell, the Court invalidated bans on same-sex marriage by building upon precedent it set nearly five decades earlier in Loving, which declared antimiscegenation laws unconstitutional. Indeed, commentators often describe Loving as an important precursor to Obergefell. Yet Obergefell’s reasoning deviated from that of Loving. The differences between the two cases are all too often overlooked. This Essay thus seeks to address this blind spot by drawing attention to a critical distinction: Loving and Obergefell differ in their conceptualization of discrimination. 

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