While the country today commemorates the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Loving v. Virginia (1967) 388 U.S. 1, holding to be unconstitutional those state statutes that banned inter-racial marriages, it’s worth also remembering that the California Supreme Court came to the same conclusion almost two decades earlier, in Perez v. Sharp (1948) 32 Cal.2d 711.

The Perez case is a footnote — literally — to the Loving decision.  The high court mentioned only in passing, and not in the opinion’s text, “The first state court to recognize that miscegenation statutes violate the Equal Protection Clause was the Supreme Court of California.”  (Loving, 388 U.S. at p. 6, fn. 5.)  A similarly understated acknowledgment of a trailblazing California Supreme Court opinion occurred two years ago when SCOTUS ruled in favor of same-sex marriages in Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) 135 S.Ct. 2584.