PARR v. WOODMEN OF THE WORLD LIFE INS. CO., 791 F.2d 888 (11th Cir. 1986)
DON L. PARR, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT, v. WOODMEN OF THE WORLD LIFE INSURANCE
United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit.
June 17, 1986.
David R. Sweat, Athens, Ga., for plaintiff-appellant.
Susan Buckingham Reilly, E.E.O.C., Washington, D.C., for amicus
Ginger S. McRae, Atlanta, Ga., for defendant-appellee.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle
District of Georgia.
Before RONEY and HATCHETT, Circuit Judges, and HENDERSON,
Senior Circuit Judge.
HATCHETT, Circuit Judge:
 Appellant, Don L. Parr, a white man married to a black woman,
seeks reversal of the judgment of the district court dismissing
his complaint against Woodmen of the World Life Insurance Company
(Woodmen), in which he alleged that the company discriminated
against him "because of race" in violation of Title VII of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. Ã‚Â§ 2000e-2000e-17, and
42 U.S.C. Ã‚Â§ 1981. Finding that Parr's complaint set forth sufficient
allegations to state a claim under both statutes, we reverse.
 In late May or early June of 1982, Parr applied for a position
as an insurance salesman with Woodmen. He had experience as an
insurance salesman and was well-qualified for the position. The
Woodmen manager who interviewed Parr told him that he would
probably be hired, but that he would have to return for a second
interview. The manager also told Parr that Woodmen did not employ
or sell insurance to black people. Parr told the employment
service which had set up his interview of the manager's remarks
and informed the employment service that he was married to a
black woman. A representative of the employment service told
Woodmen of Parr's interracial marriage, whereupon Woodmen's
manager informed the employment service that he would advise
against hiring Parr. Parr was not hired.
 Parr filed a charge of race discrimination against Woodmen with
the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC
issued a Notice of Right to Sue, and on May 31, 1983, Parr filed
this lawsuit.[fn1] On November 6, 1985, the district court held
that Parr's complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief
could be granted and dismissed his action.
 Parr contends that the district court erred in dismissing his
lawsuit because his complaint set forth sufficient allegations to
state a claim of discrimination based on an interracial marriage.
Such discrimination, Parr contends, is prohibited by section 1981
and Title VII. Woodmen contends that the issue of whether section
1981 and Title VII prohibit discrimination based on an
interracial marriage or association is not presented because
Parr's complaint did not allege that Woodmen discriminated
against him because of his interracial marriage. Rather, Woodmen
contends, Parr "alleged denial of employment because his wife was
black and because Woodmen discriminated against blacks." Finally,
Woodmen contends that even if Title VII proscribes discrimination
based upon an interracial marriage, the literal language of Title
VII precludes a finding that Parr states a claim because his race
"was not even arguably a factor in the alleged discrimination."
 Because the district court dismissed Parr's complaint for
failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted, we
must deem Parr's material allegations as true. McDonald v. Sante
Fe Trail Transportation Co., 427 U.S. 273, 277, 96 S.Ct. 2574,
2577, 49 L.Ed.2d 493, 498 (1976); Hospital Building Co. v. Rex
Hospital Trustees, 425 U.S. 738, 739, 96 S.Ct. 1848, 1850,
48 L.Ed.2d 338, 341 (1976).
 At the outset, we reiterate the often quoted maxim that
pleadings are to be liberally construed.
[I]t is well established that, in passing on a motion
to dismiss, whether on the ground of lack of
jurisdiction over the subject matter or for failure
to state a cause of action, the allegations of the
complaint should be construed favorably to the
pleader. `[I]n appraising the sufficiency of the
complaint we follow, of course, the accepted rule
that a complaint should not be dismissed for failure
to state a claim unless it appears beyond doubt that
the plaintiff can prove no set
of facts in support of his claim which would entitle
him to relief.'
 Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236-37, 94 S.Ct. 1683,
1686-87, 40 L.Ed.2d 90, 96-97 (1974) (quoting Conley v. Gibson,
355 U.S. 41, 78 S.Ct. 99, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957)).
 The most significant question in this case is whether Parr
alleged that Woodmen discriminated against him because of his
interracial marriage. After setting forth the relevant "facts,"
Parr's complaint alleged that he "was not hired by the defendant
because of race." The above-cited rule of liberal construction
requires us to construe pleadings liberally not only on the
ultimate issue of whether a claim for relief is established, but
on ancillary issues as well. Thus, we view Parr's complaint as
alleging discrimination based upon his interracial marriage. No
requirement exists that a plaintiff specifically state that he
was discriminated against because of an interracial marriage or
that he was discriminated against because of his race to allege
discrimination based on an interracial marriage.
 A. Section 1981 Claim
 In dismissing Parr's complaint, the district court failed to
address his 42 U.S.C. Ã‚Â§ 1981 claim.[fn2] It is well settled that
white persons have standing to sue under section 1981. McDonald
v. Santa Fe Trail Transportation Company, 427 U.S. 273,
96 S.Ct. 2574, 49 L.Ed.2d 493 (1976). It is also well settled that section
1981 and Title VII are not coextensive in coverage. Johnson v.
Railway Express Agency, 421 U.S. 454, 459, 95 S.Ct. 1716, 1719,
44 L.Ed.2d 295, 301 (1975).
 Parr's issue Ã¢â‚¬â€ whether a claim of discrimination based upon an
interracial marriage is cognizable under section 1981 Ã¢â‚¬â€ is not a
novel one. This court's predecessor addressed the precise issue
in Faraca v. Clements, 506 F.2d 956 (5th Cir. 1975). Faraca, a
white man married to a black woman, brought a section 1981 action
against the director of the Georgia Mental Retardation Center.
The director had refused to hire Faraca because of his
interracial marriage. The former Fifth Circuit, holding that
section 1981 proscribed such conduct, upheld the judgment of the
district court awarding Faraca compensatory damages. Faraca is
binding on this court.[fn3]
 Other circuits that have considered the issue agree with the
former Fifth Circuit that a claim of discrimination due to an
interracial relationship is cognizable under section 1981. See
Fiedler v. Marumsco Christian School, 631 F.2d 1144 (4th Cir.
1980) (white female student expelled for dating a black male
student denied the right to contract because of racial
association in violation of section 1981); DeMatteis v. Eastman
Kodak Company, 511 F.2d 306 (2d Cir. 1975) (white man forced into
early retirement because he sold his house to a black person
allowed to maintain action pursuant to section 1981).
 In light of this precedent, Woodmen only contends that we
should not recognize a claim of discrimination based on an
interracial marriage or association under section 1981 because
such a claim should not be recognized under Title VII. This
contention is without merit. We hold that section 1981 prohibits
discrimination based upon an interracial marriage or association,
and that the district court erred in dismissing Parr's complaint
which alleged such discrimination.
 B. The Title VII Claim
 Title VII prohibits racially discriminatory employment
practices.[fn4] The statute has been held to prohibit
discrimination against white as well as black persons. McDonald
v. Santa Fe Trail Transportation Company, 427 U.S. 273,
96 S.Ct. 2574, 49 L.Ed.2d 493 (1976).
 In dismissing Parr's action, the district court simply stated
that "[t]he alleged discrimination complained of is not
proscribed by Title VII." Woodmen contends that the district
court's holding is correct because Parr did not allege that he
was discriminated against because of his race. Parr contends
that the district court erred because Title VII is to be broadly
construed, and a party need not specifically allege that he was
discriminated against because of his race, but only show that
adverse actions taken against him involved racial considerations.
 Courts that have considered the issue have gone both ways. In
Ripp v. Dobbs Houses, Inc., 366 F. Supp. 205 (N.D.Ala. 1973), a
white male who was discharged because of his association with
black employees brought an action against his employer pursuant
to Title VII. Stressing that Title VII prohibits discrimination
against an individual because of "such individual's race," the
court dismissed the complaint because "plaintiff makes no
complaint that he has suffered any detriment on account of his
race." Ripp at 208 (emphasis added). Similarly, in Adams v.
Governor's Committee on Post-Secondary Education, 26 F.E.P.
Cases 1348 (N.D.Ga. 1981), the court, relying on Ripp, held
that a white man who alleged that he was discharged because of
his interracial marriage failed to state a claim under Title VII
because he did not claim that he was discriminated against
because of his race. And, in another case involving the present
appellant, Parr v. United Family Life Insurance Company, 35
F.E.P. Cases 95 (N.D. Ga. 1983), the court, also relying on
Ripp, came to the same conclusion.
 In Whitney v. Greater New York Corporation of Seventh Day
Adventists, 401 F. Supp. 1363 (S.D.N.Y. 1975), where a white woman
claimed that she was discharged in violation of Title VII because
she maintained a social relationship with a black man, the court
expressly rejected the Ripp analysis, stating:
Manifestly, if Whitney was discharged because, as
alleged, the defendant disapproved of a social
relationship between a white woman and a black man,
the plaintiff's race was as much a factor in the
decision to fire her as that of her friend.
Specifying as she does that she was discharged
because she, a white woman, associated with a black,
her complaint falls within the statutory language
that she was `[d]ischarged . . . because of [her]
 Whitney at 1366. In Reiter v. Center Consolidated School
District, No. 26-JT, 618 F. Supp. 1458 (D.Colo. 1985), where the
plaintiff alleged that she was refused employment because of her
association with the Hispanic community, the court, relying on
Whitney, held that "discriminatory employment practices based
on an individual's association with people of a particular race
or national origin are prohibited under Title VII." Reiter at
1460. The court stated that its rationale was that "the plaintiff
was discriminated against on the basis of [her] race because
[her] race was different from the race of the people [she]
associated with." Reiter at 1460.
 In Gresham v. Waffle House, Inc., 586 F. Supp. 1442
(N.D.Ga. 1984), where a white female filed a Title VII complaint
alleging that she was discharged because of her marriage to a
black man, the court discussed Ripp but chose to follow
Whitney, and held that the plaintiff stated a claim under Title
VII. The Gresham court found
Whitney's logic "irrefutable." Gresham at 1445.
 We, too, find Whitney's logic irrefutable. Where a plaintiff
claims discrimination based upon an interracial marriage or
association, he alleges, by definition, that he has been
discriminated against because of his race. It makes no
difference whether the plaintiff specifically alleges in his
complaint that he has been discriminated against because of his
race. As this court's predecessor stated in Culpepper v.
Reynolds Metal Co., 421 F.2d 888, 891 (5th Cir. 1970):
Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act provides us
with a clear mandate from Congress that no longer
will the United States tolerate this form of
discrimination. It is, therefore, the duty of the
courts to make sure that the Act works, and the
intent of Congress is not hampered by a combination
of a strict construction of the statute in a battle
with semantics. [Emphasis added.]
 Woodmen contends that even if a claim of discrimination based
upon an interracial marriage or association is cognizable under
section 1981, Parr's claim should not be entertained. Woodmen
argues that unlike the plaintiffs in Whitney and the other
cases cited, Parr cannot claim that but for his race being
different from his wife's, he would have been hired. In other
words, Woodmen contends that Parr cannot state a claim based upon
discrimination due to an interracial relationship because he also
claimed that Woodmen discriminated against blacks. Woodmen argues
that if Parr's allegations are true, had Parr been black, he
still would not have been hired. Consequently, in Woodmen's view,
Parr's race was of no significance in the hiring decision, and
thus his claim should not be cognizable. Woodmen's contentions
are not persuasive. Had Parr been black, he would not have been
hired, but that is a lawsuit for another day. Parr alleged that
he was discriminated against because of his interracial marriage.
Title VII proscribes race-conscious discriminatory practices. It
would be folly for this court to hold that a plaintiff cannot
state a claim under Title VII for discrimination based on an
interracial marriage because, had the plaintiff been a member of
the spouse's race, the plaintiff would still not have been hired.
 Several factors make us resolute in our determination that
Parr's complaint stated a claim under Title VII. First, we are
obliged to give Title VII a liberal construction. See Culpepper
v. Reynolds Metal Co., 421 F.2d 888, 891 (5th Cir. 1970).
 Second, the EEOC, which Congress charged with interpreting,
administering, and enforcing Title VII, has consistently held
that an employer who takes adverse action against an employee or
a potential employee because of an interracial association
violates Title VII. See Decision 71-969, 1973 EEOC Dec. (CCH) Ã‚Â¶
6193 (Dec. 24, 1970); Decision 71-1902, 1973 EEOC Dec. (CCH) Ã‚Â¶
6281 (April 28, 1971; Decision 76-23, 1983 EEOC Dec. (CCH) Ã‚Â¶ 6615
(Aug. 25, 1975); Decision 79-03, 1983 EEOC Dec. (CCH) Ã‚Â¶ 6734
(Oct. 6, 1978). The EEOC's interpretation of Title VII is to be
accorded "great deference." Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 401 U.S. 424,
434, 91 S.Ct. 849, 855, 28 L.Ed.2d 158, 165 (1971).
 Finally, while we have noted that section 1981 and Title VII
are not coextensive in coverage, this court has held that when
the two statutes are used as parallel bases of relief, their
legal elements are identical. Lincoln v. Board of Regents of
Univ. System, 697 F.2d 928, 935, n. 6 (11th Cir. 1983) (citing
Whiting v. Jackson State Univ., 616 F.2d 116, 121 (5th
Cir. 1980)). Thus, it would be inconsistent to hold that Parr
could state a claim of discrimination based upon an interracial
marriage pursuant to section 1981, but not Title VII.
 Accordingly, we reverse and remand.
 REVERSED AND REMANDED.
[fn1] On May 25, 1984, the district court issued an order
consolidating this case with Don L. Parr v. Life and Casualty
Insurance Company of Tennessee. The district court dismissed both
actions in its order of November 6, 1985.
[fn2] Section 1981 provides:
All persons within the jurisdiction of the United States shall
have the same right in every state and territory to make and
enforce contracts, sue, be parties, give evidence, and to the
full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the
security of persons and property as is enjoyed by white citizens,
and shall be subject to like punishment, pains, penalties, taxes,
licenses, and exactions of every kind, and to no other.
[fn3] In Bonner v. City of Prichard, 661 F.2d 1206, 1209 (11th
Cir. 1981) (en banc), this court adopted as binding precedent all
decisions of the former Fifth Circuit handed down prior to
October 1, 1981.
[fn4] Section 703(a)(1) of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. Ã‚Â§ 2000e-2(a)(1)
It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer Ã¢â‚¬â€
(1) to fail or refuse to hire or discharge any individual, or
otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to
his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment,
because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or
national origin. . . .