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Virginia that anti-miscegenation laws are unconstitutional. The first laws criminalizing marriage and sex between whites and blacks were enacted in the colonial era in the English colonies of Virginia and Maryland, which depended economically on unpaid labor such as slavery.

In 1664, Maryland enacted a law which criminalized such marriages—the 1681 marriage of Irish-born Nell Butler to an African slave was an early example of the application of this law.

Virginia (1691) was the first English colony in North America to pass a law forbidding free blacks and whites to intermarry, followed by Maryland in 1692.

In many states, anti-miscegenation laws also criminalized cohabitation and sex between whites and non-whites.

In addition, the state of Oklahoma in 1908 banned marriage "between a person of African descent" and "any person not of African descent"; Louisiana in 1920 banned marriage between Native Americans and African Americans (and from 1920–1942, concubinage as well); and Maryland in 1935 banned marriages between blacks and Filipinos.

Sharp (1948), no court in the United States had ever struck down a ban on interracial marriage.

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