Love Conquers All – Waiting A Decade For The Court’s Decision

In 2013, a federal Judge cited the Loving case in his ruling when striking down Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban. The Loving case has become the foundation in which other courts are striking down bans against same-sex marriage. How did it come about?

Loving — The last name is so appropriate.

 

Lovings 5

Mildred and Richard Loving

In 1957, Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter married. They met and lived in Central Point, Virginia, but married in Washington, D.C. because in Virginia, it was illegal to marry a person of another race. Richard, White, and Mildred, “colored,” fell in love at first sight.

 

At about 4 a.m. one morning, the local police came to their house and arrested them. It wasn’t just the law against interracial marriage that the police was going to arrest the Lovings for violating. They were hoping to catch them in the act of making love, because there was also law against interracial sex.

Mildred showed the police their marriage certificate, but that marriage certificate became evidence for the criminal charge of “cohabiting as man and wife, against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth.”

On January 6, 1959, the Loving’s pled guilty. The law they were charged with Lovings 3violating was passed in Virginia in 1924. It was the Act for the Preservation of Racial Integrity. That law set forth that any trace of nonwhite ancestry (the infamous “one drop” rule) defined someone as ineligible to marry anyone defined as white.
The court found the Loving’s guilty and sentenced each to one year in prison, but suspended sentencing for 25 years if they moved out of Virginia.

They moved to Washington, D.C. and could only return to Virginia separately, not together, to see their families. The Loving’s were unhappy in D.C. and in 1964, Mildred wrote to Attorney General Robert Kennedy. He referred her to the ACLU. Two attorneys with no prior experience, but believers in equality and the constitution, went to work.


Their work filing appeals in Virginia were unsuccessful. Virginia Supreme Court Justice Harry L. Carrico wrote an opinion where he used Virginia cases to uphold Virginia’s anti- miscegenation statutes. He modified the Loving’s sentences, and affirmed their criminal convictions.

Attorney Bernard S. Cohen of the ACLU then took the case to the Supreme Court of the United States. Richard and Mildred were married ten years before they could return to Virginia as a married couple without being arrested.
In 1967, in Loving, Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote the opinion for the unanimous court, holding:

“Marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man,” … fundamental to our very existence and survival…. “the freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men. . . . To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law. . . . Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.”

 

Lovings 4

The Loving Family

Listening now to the argument before the Supreme Court in 1967, the same issues were present then that are present now for same-sex marriage. It’s not about sex but rather, equality under the law. It’s about property ownership, and inheritance, and social security beneficiary and survivor’s benefits.

 

 

In 2010, the federal district court decision in Perry v. Schwarzenegger that overturned California’s Proposition 8 (which restricted marriage to opposite-sex couples), Judge Vaughn R. Walker cited Loving v. Virginia to hold that “the [constitutional] right to marry protects an individual’s choice of marital partner regardless of gender”.

Lovings 2The Loving couple had three children: Donald, Peggy, and Sidney. Richard Loving lived to be 41. In 1975, he was killed when a drunk driver struck his car in Caroline County, Virginia. Mildred Loving lost her right eye in the same accident.

 

 

In June 2007, the 40th year anniversary of the issuance of the Supreme Court’s decision in their case, Mildred Loving issued a statement;

“I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry… I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight, seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.”

Lovings 6On May 2, 2008, in Milford, Virginia, Mildred Loving died from pneumonia at the age of 68.

In February 2014, Judge Arenda L. Wright, writing for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Bostic v. Rainey, which struck down Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage, prefaced her opinion with Mildred Loving’s 2007 statement.

A documentary film titled “The Loving Story” is available on DVD. Portions of it are also available on Youtube.

Lovings 7To recognize the decision in Loving v. Virginia, Loving Day Celebrations happen globally around June 12th of every year. There is a Loving Day grassroots organization whose goals are to:
• Create a common connection between multicultural communities, groups and individuals

• Build multicultural awareness, understanding, acceptance, and identity

• Educate the public about the history of interracial relationships in order to fight prejudice

• Establish a tradition of Loving Day celebrations as a means to achieve these goals

Posted on 04/04/2014, in Heroes, Cases, research, Bloggers for Peace and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 42 Comments.

  1. Beautiful!

  2. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez

    I knew this as soon as I saw the picture! This was a touching event that should have taught many back then that love matters more than color. Then again, if you fast forward to the cereal commercial…. you just know, some people will never learn beyond what their closed minds believe. This was a beautiful post. Thank you for this. ;)

    It’s funny that they brought up how they did not ant the races to mix but they never mention how white slave owners produced offspring. Makes me wonder how many people have “pure” blood now. I think it would be nearly impossible. How hypocritical!

    I love the quote:
    “I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry… I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight, seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.”

    • Good morning, Jackie!

      It’s funny that they brought up how they did not ant the races to mix but they never mention how white slave owners produced offspring.

      Oh — I could probably write a book about that hypocrisy. In summary, it was about “business.” It’s one thing when a slave owner produced offspring with a slave, because that was “product” to sell and make money. Heck! Even the mother could be sold.

      It’s quite another thing when the wife and children are provided for out of LOVE. If the house wasn’t good enough for the husband, then he wasn’t going to allow his family to live in it.

      It’s the difference between raising children in oppression and fear, and raising children in a family where they see that dad works so they expect to do the same when they grow up.

      It’s the difference between profiling African-American males as thugs to discourage them from succeeding, as opposed to not being able to discourage Barack Obama.

  3. Outstanding, beautiful article!

    Thank you so much, Xena!

  4. A wonderful post … thanks for sharing!! It gives meaning to the word love … and how it encompasses all under that “umbrella” ….. Love is love, Love is for all. Love has no barriers!! Reblog …..

    • Good morning Horty!

      ABSOLUTELY!

      Love is like a tree seedling. The roots grow deep, and it bears the fruit of love for generations eternally.

      • GM … sweets!! Love it, love it, love it!!!

        Hugs …. <3

      • Love is like a tree seedling.
        The roots grow deep,
        and it bears the fruit of love for generations eternally.

        What you have written here, Xena, is beautiful, profound, and TRUE!

        • Yahtzee,
          I’m going to combine a Bible passage;
          after perfection comes, 3 things remain, faith, hope, and love and the greatest of these is love.

          Those things are eternal. Those who are spiritual, no matter religion or no religion, have that understanding planted in their heart. All things deriving from the foundation of love continue living and brings life to others.

          Who would imagine that an act of love brought before and decided by the Supreme Court of the U.S. in 1967, would have effect decades later for others who want that same marriage equality?

          • Yes, who could have imagined that?

            They have so profoundly touched many, many lives and helped our country to grow.

            How beautiful to see their deep loving spirit and deep love for each other.

  5. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    On comment: “love matters more than color” ….. Love matter more than anything. Love has no boundaries. Love is the union of two souls, two spirits … no rules or laws apply here!!! We all are one!!

  6. Reblogged this on idealisticrebel and commented:
    A real true story that touches the heart.

  7. This is one of your best posts ever. A brilliant story. Hugs, Barbara

  8. Once on a high and windy hill
I in the morning mist

    Two lovers kissed

    And the world stood still
.

    Then your fingers touched
    
My silent heart and taught it how to sing.

    
Yes, true love’s
    
A many splendored thing

  9. In November 2000, Alabama became the last state to overturn a law banning interracial marriage. The one-time home of George Wallace and Martin Luther King Jr. had held onto the provision for 33 years after the Supreme Court declared anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional. Yet as the election revealed—40 percent of Alabamans voted to keep the ban—apparently many Alabamans still see the necessity for a law that prohibits blacks and whites from mixing blood.

    An April 2011 poll of Mississippi Republican primary voters asked “Do you think interracial marriage should be legal or illegal?”. The responses were “Legal” 40%, “Illegal” 46%, and “Not Sure” 14%.[

    • I read what you have written here about a half an hour ago, dreamer, and I was so overcome that I just could not write anything.

      I have an upset heart and my soul is nauseated from reading what you have reported to us.

      With a deep sadness of spirit I am left to turning to prayer. Fortunately, I know that prayer is powerful along with a strong connection to a caring community (here on Xena’s blog and in the world) that seeks through so many positive causes to make this a better world.

      Dr. Rex on her blog introduced me to this video:

      I do believe we have the power to create a better world in so many areas as we pay attention to and help bring about change to so many important issues affecting us, our fellow citizens, and the larger world community.

      • We can make this world a better place:

      • Yahtzee,

        I ran across that information a couple of years ago and I was stunned. I had no clue that Alabama was the last state to approve interracial marriages, which happens to be the same year I married Mr. dreamer, in 2000. What is even more troublesome to me, is the statistics that still believe it should be illegal. My journey into tracing my husbands family roots has been a real lesson in history for me. I am at a loss of words, except to say with a heavy heart, we have so much further to go. This is not about what is legal or illegal, it’s about compassion and understanding. It’s about soul searching.

  10. Amazing story, and yet more proof that the argument of “Well, this is they way it’s always been done!” just doesn’t work.

    • eurobrat,
      Your true comment brought a smile to my heart, causing me to think back to a White Southern preacher who came to our integrated church and spoke on that subject.

      He went through a series of things that people said they did because “That’s the way it’s always been done.” Then, he shared a story.

      It was about a woman who after buying watermelon, always cut off the ends off and threw them away. Her daughter asked why and she said, “I don’t know. My mother did it. That’s the way it’s always been done.”

      So, the daughter called her grandmother and asked why she cut the ends off watermelon and threw them away and the grandmother replied, “I don’t know. That’s the way my aunt did it. That’s the way it’s always been done. ”

      Several months later, the daughter got a call from her grandmother who said that the question bothered her. She realized that she was doing what her aunt did without any understanding as to why, so she made calls and got the answer.

      “In my aunt’s day, people had ice-boxes. They were small. A man came around with big blocks of ice and they were put in a box with another box on top for food to keep cold. The ends of melon were cut off so the rest would fit inside the ice-box to chill.”

      As man became wiser and refrigerators were invented, there was no need to cut off the ends of melon but that was the way things had been done without understanding how it came about.

      And, that preacher said, “Ignorance causes waste. It puts people in bondage who don’t know they are in bondage to the ideas of others.”

      • What a BEAUTIFUL, instructive story, Xena.

        Thank you so much for sharing it.

        Maybe the opportunity for me to use it will present itself to me so that I might be able to help someone develop a new outlook or soften his/her rigid thinking or biases.

      • Oh my, what a story! Exactly–let’s stop cutting the ends of our watermelons off–it’s about time :)

  11. This song was on the album I bought in 1969. It is one of my favorites.

    • Yahtzee,
      You have once again shared something that spurs my interest. I found their Facebook page, although the last entry was in 2012. Also, there are some albums on ebay.

      There’s a television program titled “Unsung” that I watch from time to time. Some of the artists have talked about how their record companies didn’t market them properly, or didn’t know how to market them.

      • Yahtzee and Xena,

        That’s a great song Yahtzee!!!. I am always listening to The Voice on Youtube. I enjoy listening to the singers in other countries, especially the UK. I have never heard of Sally Barker, she used to sing with Robert Plant, Bob Dillon, Joni Mitchell. Her husband passed away when he was 42, and she put her career on hold. She is really good, listen to some of her music when you get a chance.

        Xena, I watch Unsung as well, good show.

        • Thanks for sharing her video, dreamer. I found this song that she sang in her younger days:

        • dreamer,
          What a magnificent voice Sally Barker has!!! Thanks for the introduction.

          I try to catch Unsung as much as possible.

  12. This is a video of introductory lectures with discussion at a screening event of the “Loving Story” documentary (Note: the documentary film is not shown in this video.):

  13. I love this family photo of the Lovings:

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