What are the similarities between the previous struggles for interracial marriage and the current struggle for same-gender marriage rights?
I think that the major similarity between interracial marriage and gay marriage is that there is some sort of discrimination and prejudice that exists against these sorts of groups. There have always been people who do not agree with interracial or gay marriages for various reasons, whether they be related to religion or personal choices.
I think that years ago some people did not agree with interracial marriage because the races were not seen as equal. This is not the case so much any more. Gay marriage causes a great deal of controversy today because marriage has generally been thought of as a union between a man and a woman.
In my mind, the fundamental difference is the confronting of intense social resistance to changing the parameters of marriage. Individuals who sought to advance the cause of interracial marriage faced many barriers. To some extent, these are still seen today, though perhaps not to the level faced previously in our history. The overt demonstrations of resistance were profound and struck fear in the hearts of those who wished to be married. Perhaps, not of the same caliber, but definitely of the same ilk, individuals who advocate same- gender marriage acknowledgement deal with a similar inertia. In this domain, the forces of religion and social mythology have colluded to present resistance in seeking to prevent the definition of marriage to be broadened out. Another level of similarity between Both movements is the movement to the legal realm. Both movements saw the courthouse as being critical in advancing their respective causes. The legal system has been sought to provide some some level of remedy. In this light, both movements viewed the courts as agents of social change, able to hear the issue of marriage as a Constitutional one citing equal treatment under the law. This is a pursuit distinct from one rooted in a purely social or political realm.
You can certainly argue that there are many similarities between these two.
The major similarity, to me, is that both struggles came about because of prejudice mixed with religious values. Although most people do not really think about it today, there were many sects that saw interracial marriages as something that God does not like. In my first work-study job in college, my boss was someone from a sect like that. She was very surprised to find out that I was the product of such a marriage. Before she found that out, she told me that God did not intend for people of different races to marry one another.
Nowadays, hardly anyone says stuff like that. However, during the time that interracial marriage was banned, it was a pretty prevalent attitude. Opposition to gay marriage comes from the same place. Oppositon to both kinds of marriage is caused in part by people believing that God has set out some certain way that he wants marriage to be. They feel (or felt) that these types of marriage go against that plan.