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The Loving Story: The Couple That Changed The Face Of Marriage Equality Laws In The United States

Richard and Mildred Loving with their children in 1965

Hat tip to my friend and colleague Corey Kagan Whelan of the AFA for bringing this photo exhibit to my attention. It is hard to believe that this kind of discrimination existed a mere 45 years ago. Then again it is inconceivable to me that, in today’s society, the LGBT community is being discriminated for reasons very similar to those used to justify the ban on interracial marriage. More on the Lovings and the HBO special that airs tonight on Valentine’s Day:

“The Loving Story” a photo exhibit of an extraordinary interracial couple who helped change interracial marriage laws in the United States is currently on display at the International Center of Photography in New York City. It is hard to believe that close to fifty years ago, it was against the law to marry outside your race. However, in 1958, that was the reality for Richard and Mildred Loving.

The couple lived in Virginia, one of the sixteen states which prohibited interracial marriages. Richard, a white man, and Mildred, a woman of African American and Native American ancestry, did not want to break the law. They decided to marry in Washington D.C. They returned to Virginia, thinking they had not broken any laws

A month after they married, police burst into their home in the middle of the night and arrested them.

Richard and Mildred Loving did not consider themselves political. Yet, in seeking to justify their marriage, they changed history. The American Civil Liberties Union took the Loving’s case, and against all odds, brought it all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

In 1967, in a landmark Civil Rights ruling, the Supreme Courts ruled against America’s laws banning interracial marriage.

On Valentine’s Day, a day that celebrates love and friendship, HBO showcases “The Loving Story” at 9 p.m. The Loving’s story is an inspirational tale of love, honor, and courage which prevails over the court room to win us one our most basic civil rights in America, the right to marry the person we love regardless of race.


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