Forty-six years ago today, on June 12, 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision that would directly affect my own life several decades later. That decision was Loving v. Virginia, and in it the Court ruled that Virginia and all other state laws banning inter-racial marriage were unconstitutional. Since then, June 12th has become known as “Loving Day” – a day for “mixed” couples of all ethnicities, along with their friends and family, to celebrate.
(Estate of Grey Villet via)
In our house, Loving Day is meaningful because we’re also an inter-racial couple. We met in DC, but moved to Virginia after getting married, unlike Richard and Mildred Loving who – after getting married in 1958 – were forced to move from their home state of Virginia to the District, because DC “allowed” inter-racial marriage. For years, the Lovings dealt with city life while longing to return home to Virginia. Then in 1963, once the simple urge to go home became unbearable, Mildred Loving wrote a letter to then-Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who suggested that the Lovings contact the American Civil Liberties Union (“ACLU”). The ACLU took the case, and four years later Richard and Mildred Loving finally were able to move back to Virginia.
These days, we don’t typically encounter looks or receive comments (though there have been some occasions), and our son – born and being raised in Virginia – has no idea that less than 50 years ago our family would have been illegal in our state. And I have to thank Richard and Mildred Loving for that, for being willing to fight for their family, which consequently let my family and other families like mine live and love and create memories just like everyone else.
Post script: To learn more about the Lovings, please see this excellent article in Humanities.