Love Conquers All – The Loving Couple

In April 2014, I posted the following story about the Loving couple who waited over a decade for a court decision making their marriage legal in the State of Virgina. On June 12th of every year there  are Loving Day celebrations across America in recognition of the Supreme Court’s decision in  Loving v. Virginia.  Hence, I thought now would be a good time to post the story again; first as a reminder of the struggles that common people undertake that serves to benefit others and secondly, to give us opportunity to look for a Loving Day celebration to participate.  

————————————————————-

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 06/09/2015, in Bloggers for Peace, Potpourri and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. Just a side note!!! I had to buy a new computer. I went with HP windows 8.1 and I HATE IT. I hate it. Did I mention I hate it. Can’t figure out twitter. The pages are all off. Oh well. I am back to tweet haha. Love and missed ya.

    Like

    • in a couple of days your likely going to see a small windows icon appear in your task tray area near your clock Microsoft is offering free upgrade to windows 10 for windows users who own 7 and 8.1 so dont get too used to the new windows yet

      Like

    • Shyloh,
      I like the dinosaur age of computers, (I love my Windows XP and Office 2003). From 1999 until 2007, I used a Windows 98. It finally locked up on me and couldn’t be recovered. That is the only reason I went to XP.

      Now, I have an excellent excuse of wanting to stay in the dinosaur age of computers. Although I’m retired, I do take on research projects for lawyers from time to time. The courts and government generally bid out for computers and programming, so their systems are never upgraded when a new version of anything is on the market. If there is anything on their systems that requires upgrading in order to work with Windows 10, that’s my excuse for also not upgrading to Windows 10. LOL!

      Like

      • My favorite OS was Windows for Workgroups 3.11 because it was so similar to UNIX, which I was learning at the same time. I finally got accustomed to Windows 7 when my PC when belly up and I ended up getting a new one. Like I told Shyloh, I’ve depended on youtube.com to learn the basics. The VERY basics!

        Like

    • I have an 8.0 Windows computer and some with older programs. Be patient, it took me a bit to get used to it and figure it out.

      I hear though. I was trying to get a new Olympic event started…………

      Computer Toss for Distance.

      Like

    • Shyloh, This is where you are going to find that youtube is your friend! My new PC also has windows 8.1. Do 2 searches, one on youtube and one on your internet browser with youtube in the search parameters. The searches will give you varying results and you can then find the most helpful ones.

      And, if you think Windows 8.1 is bad, try Facebook! I HATE Facebook!

      Like

  2. Thank you

    Like

  3. That was so awesome! Thank you! I have marked my calendar for June 12th

    Like

  4. It is awesome. I have marked my calendar also. THANK YOU!!!

    Like

  5. yahtzeebutterfly

    Just marked my calendar. Thanks!

    Like

  6. Xena,

    Great post! their story sort of reminds me of Jack Johnson

    Like

  7. kindheart101

    I burst into tears reading this because it exposes only a fraction of how brutal our society has been, and still is concerning equality.

    I just put a big heart on Friday, and I wrote in the note section: “One thing is for sure. I will share LOVE with many others in spirit today, and pledge to fight for equality always.”

    Like

  8. The Lovings, needless to say, get my vote for courage. What a story.

    Like

  9. A very brave couple. Beautiful and strong. There are thousands – millions – who can thank them for making others’ lives better. Great post.

    Like

  10. Welcome to the 21st Century Virginia. Time to catch up now! 😉
    On a serious note, all I can say about the Virginia’s take is… Really? !!!

    Like

    • Kev, Virginia was not the only state at that time with that law preventing inter-racial marriages. Because of the Loving couple however, it was the first state to be challenged on it, and because their case went before and U.S. Supreme Court, the decision became the law of the land. So, the Loving couple set precedence. So brave and determined they were.

      Funny — being an American, I had not thought of Virginia as “the south,” just as I had thought of Florida as being more of a retirement and vacation state than “the south.” Live and learn. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. yahtzeebutterfly

    Like

%d bloggers like this: