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Unformatted text preview: McLaughlin v Florida 379 U.S. 184; 1964 CASE SUM MARY PROCED U RAL POSTURE: Defendants were convicted in a Florida state court of violating Fla. Stat. Ann. 798.05, which prohibited the habitual occupation of a room at night by "any Negro man and white woman, or any white man and Negro woman" who were not mar r ied. The Florida Supreme Court affi rmed the convictions and upheld the validity of the statute against defendants' claim i t denied them equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment. Defendants appealed. OVERV I EW: The Court reversed. I t held that the ban on interracial cohabitation was invidious discrimination forbidden by the Equal Protection Clause. The Court rejected the prosecution's claims of an overriding statutory purpose for the racial classification. The prosecution suggested that the statute was designed to prevent breaches of the basic concepts of sexual decency; the Court ruled that nothing in that suggested legislative purpose made it essential to punish promiscuity of one racial group and not that of another. The Court rejected the argument that the interracial cohabitation law was valid because i t was ancillary to and served the same purpose as the state's law against interracial mar r iage. Without expressing a view on the validity of the law against interracial mar riage, the Court ruled that the prosecution had offered no argument that the policy against interracial mar r iage could not be as adequately served by Fla. Stat. Ann. ch. 798's neutral ban on illicit behavior, without resorting to a provision that singled out a promiscuous interracial couple for special statutory t reatment. OU TCO M E: The Court reversed the convictions. ...
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- Spring '10
- Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, interracial mar, interracial cohabitation