June 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia, declaring bans on interracial marriage unconstitutional
Mildred Jeter, a black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man, drove from Central Point, Virginia to Washington D.C. to get married in June 1958, several years after they met and fell in love. It was illegal for interracial couples to marry in their home state of Virginia, along with 15 other states. Virginia’s “Racial Integrity Act of 1924” made marrying a person outside your own race a crime, explains Huffington Post.
Acting on a tip just weeks after the couple married, sheriff’s deputies burst through the Loving’s front door and promptly arrested the couple.
The couple left Virginia after a judge told them to leave Virginia or go to prison. Five years later, police arrested the couple while they visiting family. Mildred wrote a letter asking for help from then-Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, who then contacted the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
The case wound up in the U.S. Supreme Court, where Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote the opinion for the court, accusing Virginia of white supremacy. The decision, available at the Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute, struck down laws against interracial marriage.
Loving v. Virginia 50th Anniversary
To mark the 50th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia this month, interracial couples and supporters celebrate the landmark decision and contributions made by Richard and Mildred when they fought for the right to love and marry whom they wanted to, regardless of race.
“Loving Day” celebrates the annual anniversary on June 12, including a “Flagship Celebration” in New York City. The Loving Project provides a link to a rare television interview with the Lovings, and documents experiences of married couples affected by their courageous efforts, including an interracial gay couple, who would not have been allowed to marry before the 1967 decision. Virginia Congressman A. Donald McEachin commemorates the 50th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia with a statement calling for Americans to “Recommit ourselves for supporting others no matter who they love.”
Life still sometimes becomes difficult for interracial and LGBT couples, as with any other marriage, calling for the need for law firms with experience to handle unique issues of unique marriages.
Since the Loving v. Virginia decision that held laws against interracial marriage unconstitutional, the case gained worldwide attention, with individuals and organizations now celebrating the 50th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia.