June 12--Loving Day
June 12, 2008 at 11:50 AM
Today is the 41st anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967) (WL, L, Justia), that struck down Virginia's anti-miscegenation statute as violating the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the 14th Amendment. Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter, both native Virginians, married each other in the District of Columbia. After they returned to Virginia, they were charged with violating the state's ban on interracial marriages. They pled guilty and were exiled from the state for 25 years. After they won their case in the U.S. Supreme Court, they returned to Virginia. Richard Loving was killed by a drunk driver in 1975. Mildred Loving died on May 2nd of this year (Economist, NY Times, NPR obituaries).
An audio recording of the oral argument in the U.S. Supreme Court is at the Oyez Project's website. The briefs and a transcript of the oral argument can be found in the law library in volume 64 of the Landmark Briefs and Arguments set; the briefs are also on Westlaw. ABC News' website has a video of a 1967 news report on the Lovings.
Santa Clara University has two books on the history of the case and of anti-miscegenation laws in this country: Phyl Newbeck's Virginia Hasn't Always Been for Lovers and Peter Wallenstein's Tell the Court I Love My Wife. The Loving Day website, which celebrates the legalization of interracial couples, has a fascinating map where users can see the year-by-year status of interracial marriages in this country. The site also has a list of resources about interracial marriage and its legal history. The first court to strike down a state's anti-miscegenation law was the California Supreme Court in Perez v. Sharp, 32 Cal. 2d 711 (1948) (WL, L).
Last year, on the 40th anniversary of the decision in Loving, Mildred Loving released a statement about the decision and her view of the freedom to marry.