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Anti-Miscegenation Statutes in the United States

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Submitted By LRC1955
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Analyze and evaluate each case independently by providing the following (about two paragraphs per case):
In 1948, Andrea Perez, a Mexican-American woman, and Sylvester Davis, an African-American man,filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles County Clerk W.G. Sharp (Perez vs. Sharp, October 1, 1948).Earlier, they had sought a marriage license from the Los Angeles County Clerk’s Office but were denied such because Perez was racially classified as white and Davis as negro.
“In this proceeding in mandamus, petitioners seek to compel the County Clerk of Los Angeles County to issue them a certificate of registry (Civ. Code, § 69a) and a license to marry. (Civ. Code, § 69.) In the application for a license, petitioner Andrea Perez states that she is a white person and petitioner Sylvester Davis that he is a Negro. Respondent refuses to issue the certificate and license, invoking Civil Code, section 69, which provides: ". . . no license may be issued authorizing the marriage of a white person with a Negro, mulatto, Mongolian or member of the Malay race." At the time, under California state law, no marriage license could be issued between a "white" person and a "negro" person. Petitioners contend that the statutes in question are unconstitutional on the grounds that they prohibit the free exercise of their religion and deny to them the right to participate fully in the sacraments of that religion. They are members of the Roman Catholic Church. They maintain that since the church has no rule forbidding marriages between Negroes and Caucasians, they are entitled to receive the sacrament of matrimony. The case went all the way to the California Supreme Court and the couple was able to successfully overturn California’s miscegenation laws. The California Supreme Court in Perez v. Sharp (1948) 32 C.2d 711, 198 P.2d 17, 8 Summary (10th), Constitutional Law, §747, characterized…...

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