Emhoff on interracial marriage case: Without it, ‘I would not be married to Kamala Harris’

'Geeking out as a lawyer on this one,' Emhoff said during his recent tour of the National Archives.

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Doug Emhoff was seen this week viewing historic court documents from Loving v. Virginia, the historic Supreme Court ruling on interracial marriage.

“I gotta see this … Geeking out as a lawyer on this one,” Emhoff said as he paused during his recent tour of the National Archives.

In this screengrab, Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff speaks during last month’s virtual “United We Serve” celebration of the national MLK Day of Service. (Photo by Handout/Biden Inaugural Committee via Getty Images )

Emhoff was a notable entertainment attorney in Los Angeles before his wife, Sen. Kamala Harris, was elected as Joe Biden’s vice president.

“For hundreds of years, you could not literally marry somebody that you loved because of their race,” Emhoff said. “I would not be married to Kamala Harris but for that Supreme Court decision.

The Loving decision ruled in 1967 that state laws banning interracial marriage were unconstitutional.

“I’ve worked on hundreds and hundreds of cases as a lawyer, and you know what goes into these decisions and how much hard work, and you see the lawyers and the efforts right there in front of you, and then I’m living the decision,” Emhoff said. “So, it’s powerful.”

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“I know how we got here has been brutal, and the history has been brutal,” he continued, “and we experience it viscerally all the time. But I really look at it as a time of celebration to celebrate excellence.”

While on his tour, Emhoff also viewed original documents of the 13th Amendment, which ended slavery in the United States. Several different clerks wrote the amendment, and historians speculate that they realized how powerful the impact of the change would be and wanted to leave their mark.

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The Second Gentleman also viewed documents noting how much enslaved people were paid to build the White House. Those payments, however, were paid to their owners, not the slaves.

He said viewing the documents was “really compelling.”

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Emhoff said the documents show how far America has come and how much farther it has to go for racial equity.

“And you’re thinking, ‘Now we’ve got a woman a woman of color, Kamala Harris, who’s vice president, sitting in that office, in that house that was built by slaves,'” he said. “And so you can see where we were, and you can also see how far we’ve come.”

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