June 12: Loving Day
Annually on June 12th, the anniversary of the landmark supreme court decision for interracial marriage is celebrated and has become a global day of visibility, education, and community.
In 1958, Mildred and Richard Loving were arrested for what Virginia considered “unlawful cohabitation” because their recent marriage was interracial (Mildred was Black and Native American and Richard was White). The Loving’s were facing a year or more in prison unless they left Virginia, so they left and contacted the American Civil Liberties Union, who took their case to court.
In Loving v. Virginia the ACLU made the case that Virginia’s law was in violation of the 14th amendment equal protection for “the right to marry” clause. Nine years after their arrest, In 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that racial distinctions were not constitutional and that the Virginia law was in violation, making interracial marriage prohibitions unconstitutional across the nation.
The Loving v. Virginia ruling has continued to have a substantial impact on our society over the last five decades. Compared to 1967, the percentage of interracial couples in a 2015 study was more than five times greater with one in six couples having a spouse of a different race or ethnicity.
Recently, President Joe Biden signed new protections into law in the Respect for Marriage Act. With the Act, interracial and same-sex marriage must be recognized as legal in every state. The act stops states from denying any right of out-of-state marriage on basis of sex, gender, race, ethnicity, or national origin.
Learn more about Loving Day: