Happy Loving Day Or, Glad-Not-to-Get-Arrested Day

my family
(L-R) Me & my wife, my son, my granddaughter, daughter, son-in-law, and grandson

June 12 is the anniversary of the day in 1967 that the Supreme Court handed down it’s ruling in Loving vs. Virginia. The ruling declared Virginia’s law prohibiting living with or marrying someone of a different race to be unconstitutional.

It’s a great day for my daughter and son-in-law. It’s a great day for my wife and me. 

inter-racial marriage
Mildred and Richard Loving, arrested in Virginia in 1958 for being married.

We are reminded once again that not long ago there were several states that had laws that would have made it illegal for us to be married. In fact, if those laws were still in effect, we could have been jailed the day of our marriage.

So, for us, it’s glad-not-to-get-arrested day.

Virginia was not the only state with such a law. The decision forced a whole swath of the U.S. to stop the massive hypocrisy of dominant white culture that outlawed the commitment of marriage, but looked the other way when it came to sex between races on the down-low.

Here is the description from the Encyclopedia Virginia:

In Loving v. Virginia, decided on June 12, 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously struck down Virginia’s law prohibiting interracial marriages as a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. The appellants, Richard and Mildred Loving, of Caroline County, had married in Washington, D.C., in June 1958 and then returned to Virginia, where they were arrested. After pleading guilty, they were forced to leave the state. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed motions and appeals on their behalf beginning in 1963, and after the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals ruled against the Lovings in 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court heard their arguments.

Virginia’s laws were especially detailed since the state, once a colony, and one of the first to start importing African slaves, had compiled laws regulating racial definitions and marriage for nearly 300 years.

That’s why the ACLU decided to use the situation of Richard and Mildred Loving to test such laws. Virginia’s were the most comprehensive and stringent.

Here is today’s report on NPR about that arrest and Supreme Court case.

This day we are reminded that attempts to discount the value of people of color and to stop integration of all people at any level is pea-brained and evil.

Conservatives will always try to outlaw and hide what they find uncomfortable or unacceptable.

That’s why clarity and pressure from liberals needs to be a part of the political debate. The civility and live-ability of our life in the U.S. is at stake in matters like this.