Today is an important anniversary in the world of love, as well as the history of Virginia, where I grew up. On June 12, 1967 the Supreme Court ruled that states cannot prohibit couples from different races from obtaining marriage licenses. Sounds obvious now? It wasn’t once upon a time.
In 1958 Richard Loving married Mildred Jeter. Richard was white and Mildred was black; they lived in Virginia and could not obtain a marriage license so they traveled to Washington D.C. and married there. Upon their return to Virginia they were arrested; it seems it was against the law for them to even be married in Virginia. They violated the “Racial Integrity Act” (it wasn’t called the “Defense of Marriage Act” back then). In 1959 they were found in violation of the law and sentenced to prison but were granted a suspended sentence if they left Virginia for 25 years. They moved to Washington D.C. and filed suit. Finally it was heard by the Supreme Court and on this day the Court ruled unanimously that laws prohibiting interracial marriage are unconstitutional. You can read the opinion here.
Tragically Richard was killed in a car accident in 1975. Mildred passed away last month and they are buried together in Saint Stephen’s Baptist Church Cemetery in Central Point, Virginia.
God Bless them.