The Many Colors of Matrimony

Marrying across racial and ethnic lines has become more common, and more accepted, in the 50 years since a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

Halil proposed to Jade by writing WILL YOU MARRY ME in the sand on a beach. Both wanted a small, frugal wedding. Jade wore a Rent the Runway dress for their vows, witnessed by a few friends, at the city clerk’s office in Manhattan.

Jade Calliste-Edgar is an African-American woman raised in Florida. Halil Binici is a Turkish man raised in Istanbul. The two 23-year-olds live in New York City, where Halil works as a cameraman and Jade is in graduate school, studying to be a mental health counselor. During two days in fall 2017, they were one of numerous pairs of mixed race or ethnicity who tied the knot at the Manhattan marriage bureau, then happily posed for National Geographic photographer Wayne Lawrence.

Jade and Halil also are part of a cultural shift. In 2015, 17 percent of U.S. newlyweds had a spouse of a different race or ethnicity, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data. That’s roughly a fivefold increase since 1967, when the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Loving v. Virginia made interracial marriage legal. Simply put, Pew reported, “Americans have become more accepting of marriages involving spouses of different races and ethnicities.”

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