Today, June 12th is known as “Loving Day.”
The reason today is loving day is because it is the 53rd anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court Case “Loving Vs. Virginia.”
It is a story that should be known to remind us how far we’ve come, and how complicated our past is.
Richard Loving and a woman named Mildred Jeter fell in love in the 1960’s and wanted to be married. Loving was white, and Jeter was black. In 1924, Virginia passed “The Racial Integrity Act of Virginia.” This banned marriages between black and white people in the state.
In 1958, Richard and Mildred went to Washington D.C. to get married. They returned to Virginia as husband and wife. Two weeks later, they were arrested and jailed by the local sheriff. After six months in jail, they reached a plea bargain with a local judge. They would be freed from jail if they agreed to leave Virginia, and not return or be in the state at the same time for 25 years.
They did not like the city life of Washington D.C., and wanted to return home. They did, and were arrested again.
They reached out to attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, and the American Civil Liberties Union. Ultimately, their case reached the United States Supreme Court.
52 years ago today, the Supreme Court ruled that no state could have a law forbidding marriage between two people based on the color of skin. It was a tremendous step forward for love in America. One that should have never been needed to be taken.
Sadly, today is also the three year anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, in which 49 people were killed because of who they love.
Pulse night club reminds us of how far we still have to go.
Keep on loving, and let others do the same.
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