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At the key moment of this nontraditional Jewish wedding, the friend presiding over the ceremony took a moment to explain the Hebrew word kadosh. If only you could Google your way to The One. The search engine, in its own profane way, is a kadosh generator.

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More than 60 years later, sitting on a couch in her Hercules home, her eyes still sparkle when she thinks about it. They avoided the stares.

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Apart from a shared passion for social justice causes, there was little that set apart the Lowes from other young couples of their generation. Bill Lowe, who had served as a submarine repairman during World War II, would pick up his new girlfriend for dates in his Chevy coupe. He grew up as a foster child in a predominantly African-American neighborhood of South Berkeley.

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She grew up on an all-white street in East Oakland. The first time Bill Lowe proposed, Jeanne Tobey declined. She had changed her mind. Mixed marriages had been banned in California for almost as long as it was a state, so the couple could not have expected that before the year was over, a landmark court ruling would have allowed them to marry in Oakland.

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Washington, at the time, was the closest place to go. New Mexico was the second.

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And unlike many other states, California would not prosecute the returning newlyweds under anti-miscegenation laws that governed what race could mix with another — just as long as they got married someplace else. Feeling unwelcome, and far from their comfortable East Bay network of family and friends, the Lowes did not linger in the Pacific Northwest. They spent less than a day there, taking a sleeping car back to Oakland.

Hers was polite. Their gifts were those of modest households living in a difficult time: An alarm clock and handmade ashtrays, a blanket from her parents, a used toaster. In Octobersix months after the Lowes obtained their Washington marriagethe California Supreme Court in a divisive ruling became the first in the 20th century to strike down a state ban on interracial marriage.

They were devout Catholics who met on a workplace assembly line.

Davis was black and Perez, from a Spanish-speaking family of Mexican descent, was regarded by state law as white. The county clerk refused to give them a marriage when they went to pick one up in What happened next, in some ways, was a fluke, say scholars who have studied the decision.

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The couple stumbled into the hands of an acquaintance, lawyer Dan Marshall, who vigorously sued Los Angeles County, first casting the claim as one based on freedom of religion because the Catholic Church supported their desire to marry. And Marshall, in turn, stumbled into the hands of Roger Traynor, a supreme court judge whose majority opinion in the case went beyond arguments for religious freedom. The need to be responsive to change was really considerable. The opinion was stunning, scholars said. And once it was over, the newlywed couple forever disappeared from public light.

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Miscegenation was a politically and socially volatile issue, and most civil rights organizations were focused on dismantling laws segregating public places, Moran said. That says a lot. No one really touched it. The court was ahead of its time. The opinion did pave the way for longtime unions like that of Rosina and Leon Watson, who inafter a long courtship, were married in the Fruitvale district of Oakland at St. On a recent afternoon, Leon, 81, was listening to a zydeco CD in their cozy East Oakland bungalow while Rosina, 80, knitted.

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They have lived in the same house sinceraising three children there. And he was a good dancer and I liked to dance. Growing up in a Spanish-speaking family that had lived in New Mexico for generations, Rosina Watson said her father was initially furious that she was dating a black man from Mississippi. He later came to accept it, she said.

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The Lowes were pulled over several times by Oakland police who suspected Dating Lowe might be a pimp and his wife a prostitute. When Jeanne Lowe went to job interviews, her husband would sometimes, instinctively, drop her off two blocks away so she could make a better first impression. The Watsons watched as whites suddenly moved from interracial 77th Avenue neighborhood Santa the couple moved in, and were later snubbed while house-hunting in the white suburb of San Leandro.

Today, the of interracial couples who can remember such experiences from that era is dwindling. Bill Lowe died inas have friends from their circle of East Bay interracial couples who married just before and after Andrea Perez died in Orenstein spoke with Sylvester Davis inin the last interview he was known to have given. A private man, Orenstein said he cut Cruz the discussions because he loved his wife deeply, missed her, and it pained him to talk so much about the case. Jeanne Lowe, who has three children, one of them a lesbian, said she feels that adults have the right to marry whomever they choose.

Lowe said she was also moved by the election of President Barack Obama, who is younger than her three children but, like them, was born to a white woman and a black man at a time when such unions were less common — and still banned in many states.

County clerk refuses because she is white and he is black. Later, a lawyer, Dan Marshall, will help the Catholic couple sue to marry on the basis of religious liberty. Virginia, the U. Supreme Court, under Chief Justice Earl Warren, unanimously declared anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional nationwide. Sharp case, California Supreme Court rules in May that same-sex marriage should also be a fundamental right.

In November, voter-approved Proposition 8 overrides the court by eliminating the right of same-sex couples to marry. Couples look back on when interracial love defied laws.

By Bay Area News Group. Bill Lowe was black. Getting married was illegal. Report an error Policies and Standards. More in News.