Tuesday, June 12

Happy Loving Day!

Me with my biracial Big Sister.
Today is the 45th anniversary of Loving vs. Virginia, the Supreme Court decision that legalized interracial marriage in the United States.

Loving Day is an annual celebration held on June 12, the anniversary of the 1967 United States Supreme Court decision Loving vs. Virginia which struck down all anti-miscegenation laws remaining in 16 states citing "There can be no doubt that restricting the freedom to marry solely because of racial classifications violates the central meaning of the equal protection clause."

In the United States, anti-miscegenation laws were state laws banning interracial marriage, mainly forbidding marriage between non-whites and whites.

The "Loving" side of the U.S. Supreme Court case consisted of Mildred and Richard Loving. They first met when she was 11 and he was 17. He was a family friend and over the years they started courting.

After Mildred became pregnant, they got married in Washington in 1958, when she was 18. They were arrested a few weeks after they returned to their hometown north of Richmond, Va.

Virginia is for lovers?

They pleaded guilty to charges of "cohabiting as man and wife, against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth," and avoided jail time by agreeing to leave Virginia. They moved to Washington, D.C. and began legal action by writing to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. Kennedy referred the case to the American Civil Liberties Union.

After the Warren Court unanimously ruled in favor of the young couple, they returned to Virginia, where they lived with their three children. Richard Loving was killed June 29, 1975 by a drunk driver. Mildred Loving (who lost an eye in the same accident) died May 5, 2008 at the age of 68.

Loving Day's mission is to fight racial prejudice through education and to build multicultural community. Each June 12, the anniversary of the ruling, Loving Day events around the country mark the advances of mixed-race couples.

Loving Day is not yet an official US-government-recognized holiday, but there is a movement to persuade President Obama to make it so.

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