Thursday, June 12, 2008

Happy Loving Day

Today is Loving Day, the anniversary of the day in 1967 when interracial marriage became legal across the United States.

The seemingly appropriate name actually comes from a court case, one started by Mildred and Richard Loving, who were forbidden from marrying in their home state of Virginia. At the time, Virginia was one of sixteen states that had laws making it illegal for couples to marry across racial lines. The Lovings were married in Washington in 1958, but as soon as they returned to Virginia, the couple was arrested. The Lovings spent time in jail for violating Virginia's state law against people of different races "cohabitating as a man and wife."

It wasn't until nine years later that the Supreme Court set aside their conviction and ruled that the Virginia anti-miscegenation laws, and all other such state laws, were unconstitutional. Loving Day is not remembered as a victory for Civil Rights, and there are commemorations of the day in several states.

Whether or not you're celebrating Loving Day, it is a good day to remember that this kind of discrimination is not the distant past. Barack Obama's parents would have been criminals in sixteen states when he was born, for the simple act of being married.

It's also a good day to remember that this kind of legislation, including the "Defense of Marriage Acts" now in effect in more than half the states, will one day be looked on with the same distaste as the law that put the Lovings in jail.

No comments:

Your Info