A Loving Day

June 12, 2017

All you need is love.
All you need is love.
All you need is love, love.
Love is all you need …

And on June 12th, 1967 the U.S. Supreme Court agreed that marriage between a man and a woman, regardless of race, was a basic right. They didn’t know it at the time, but Mildred and Richard Loving’s determination to stay married and live in their home state of Virginia paved the way for others to do the same.

It was a classic love story: Mildred Delores Jeter, a girl of African-American and Native American decent, met a Caucasian boy named Richard Loving. She thought he was a bit of a snob at first, but they soon fell in love. Since they lived in Virginia and marriage between a man and a woman of different ethnicities was not allowed, Mildred and Richard drove to Washington, D.C. and were married there.

A few days after they returned home, they were woken up in the middle of the night by the police and arrested for breaking the law. They were told to leave the state and to never return as a couple again. For years, the couple would visit family and friends in Virginia separately, but after years of doing this, they got fed up.

A friend encouraged Mildred to write then-Attorney General Robert Kennedy about their situation. He recommended that the couple contact the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), an organization that helps protect people’s rights given to them by the United States Constitution. The ACLU took the Loving’s case all the way to the Supreme Court and won. The Supreme Court declared that the Virginia law banning interracial marriage was unconstitutional. That outcome led to the end of interracial marriage bans in other states.

Happy Loving Day by Bart Everson via @Flickr CC BY 2.0

It’s been 50 years since that historic day. Although June 12th is not officially Loving Day, people all over the United States celebrate this day.

Did you celebrate Loving Day?