This past June 12, 2012, marked the 45TH Anniversary of the Supreme Court rendering of its famous Loving vs. Virginia ruling on June 12, 1967.
They were just a man and a woman who wished to live their lives in peace, but for the intrusions of the state of Virginia and its fining and imprisoning them both under its Racial Integrity Act of 1924, the Lovings took their case to the highest court in the land and won the right to remain as husband and wife.
In honor of their memories, I will let photos and their own words speak to the eloquence and love they had for each other, and how their simple act in defiance of a state’s racist laws could not destroy their bonds of holy matrimony.
Mildred and Richard Loving April 1965. Photo credit ~ Grey Villet
Richard and Mildred Loving (AP photo).
Estate of Grey Villet Richard and Mildred Loving in the spring of 1965.
Richard Loving (to the attorneys who presented the Loving’s case before the Supreme Court):
“Tell the court, I love my wife”.
Mildred Loving (on June 12, 2007, in a statement issued on the 40th anniversary of the Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court ruling):
“My generation was bitterly divided over something that should have been so clear and right. The majority believed that what the judge said, that it was God’s plan to keep people apart, and that government should discriminate against people in love. But I have lived long enough now to see big changes. The older generation’s fears and prejudices have given way, and today’s young people realize that if someone loves someone, they have a right to marry.
Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the ‘wrong kind of person’ for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people’s civil rights.
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.”
Photo source Bettmann/Corbis via New York Times