As the June 12 anniversary of Loving v. Virginia approaches, Prop 8 lawyers Ted Olson and David Boies say the 1967 Supreme Court decision laid the groundwork for their gay marriage case.

The lawyers, who are challenging the constitutionality of California's 2008 voter-approved gay marriage ban, Proposition 8, argue that the court's unanimous Loving decision makes it clear that marriage is a fundamental right protected by the constitution.

“Forty-four years ago, the United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled that marriage is one of the basic civil rights of man; fundamental to our very existence and survival. And that under our constitution, the freedom to marry or not marry a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the state,” Olson says in a two-minute-fifteen-second video released Thursday.

“At the time, interracial marriage was outlawed in Virginia and in a number of other states across the country,” Boies says.

“Forty-four years later, Loving v. Virginia has a profound significance for another group of citizens who wish to marry but are not allowed: gay and lesbian couples.”

“The freedom to marry is a constitutional right,” Boies asserts, “as recognized in Loving v. Virginia.” (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page.)