Freedom to Marry Honors Mildred Loving Upon Her Passing

Mrs. Loving Stood Up for Her Love and Won Equality in 1967; Added Her Voice to Today’s Struggle for Equality

May 5, 2008 —Freedom to Marry issued the following statement today from Evan Wolfson, Executive Director, upon the passing of Mildred Loving, a plaintiff along with her husband, in the historic 1967 case Loving v. Virginia which ended race discrimination in marriage in the United States:

“Freedom to Marry mourns the loss of Mildred Loving, a woman of faithful conviction and an open heart. Called to civil rights leadership through the simple act of getting married, Mrs. Loving helped end restrictions on the freedom to marry in the historic court case bearing her name, and went on to speak out for that same freedom to marry for all loving couples, gay and non-gay.

Just last year, upon the 40th anniversary of the Loving decision, Mildred Loving made a statement in support of the ongoing struggle for the freedom to marry:

'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.

...Not a day goes by that I don't think of Richard and our love, 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.

...I am proud that Richard's and my name are 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.'
(Read Mrs. Loving's full statement here.)

Mrs. Loving’s actions remind us all of the power of love and the basic human right to choose the person whom you wish to marry. She will be remembered as an embodiment of our country's historic commitment to freedom, the pursuit of happiness, and equal justice for all. Our thoughts are with her family today.”

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Freedom to Marry is the gay and non-gay partnership working to win marriage equality nationwide. Launched in 2003, Freedom to Marry is headed by Evan Wolfson, nationally recognized as a central "architect of the marriage equality movement." Freedom to Marry guides and focuses this social justice movement on a nationwide level, serving as a strategy and support center for national, state, and local partners, a catalyst that drives and shapes the national debate on marriage equality, and an alliance-builder fostering support from non-gay allies.