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He told them that the county would not issue them a license because the bride-to-be was a white woman and her fiancé was a black man. Their case gave the California Supreme Court the opportunity to score a victory for racial justice by reaffirming the meaning of marriage.
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It is difficult to believe now, but it took courage to stand against the political culture of those states in 1967 because racism and a concept of racial purity was so strongly imbedded in the local populations.
What people are surprised to learn, however, is the extent of Catholic involvement in the California Supreme Court decision that led the Nation away from institutionalized racism when it held in Perez v.
Sharp (1948) that the state's constitution prohibits race-based marriage laws.
Professor Fay Botham tells the story of Perez in “How a Catholic Theology of Marriage Crushed California’s Anti-Miscegenation Law.” Sylvester Davis, an African-American, and Andrea Perez, a Hispanic woman of Mexican descent, were members of St. They became engaged and asked Father Joseph Della Torre about getting married in the church.
Destro Most Californians know that the Catholic bishops of California strongly supported Proposition 8 that restored the definition of marriage between a man and a woman in November 2008.