46 years ago, SCOTUS ruled against marriage discrimination in ‘Loving v. Virginia’
Jun 12, 2013 at 11:00 am
Today is the 46th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Loving v. Virginia, which declared bans on interracial marriage in the United States unconstitutional. The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that all Americans should be free to marry the person they love.
This month, the Supreme Court has the opportunity to stand on the Right Side of History by striking down state laws that prohibit the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. In Hollingsworth v. Perry, the legal challenge to Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative that stripped same-sex couples of the freedom to marry in 2008, the justices could strike down CA's ban on marriages for same-sex couples - and all other state bans, too.
The ruling would be in line with the Supreme Court's long-standing precedent of declaring marriage a fundamental right. In 14 cases, including Loving v. Virginia, the Court has declared marriage a fundamental right. In the Loving decision, the Court wrote, "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." Read more about the other 13 cases HERE.
The plaintiffs in the 1967 Loving case were Mildred and Richard Loving, a black woman and white man who filed their case to combat Virginia's anti-miscegenation statute, which prohibited interracial marriages.
Mildred Loving spoke out about why she and Richard married back in 1958 - an action that sentenced she and her husbadn to a year in prison. She said:
When my late husband, Richard, and I got married in Washington, DC in 1958, it wasn't to make a political statement or start a fight. We were in love, and we wanted to be married. 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.
Today, as we reflect on the 46th anniversary of the momentous Loving v. Virginia decision, we hope that this month, we have another landmark marriage victory to celebrate.
Learn more about marriage at the Supreme Court HERE.