Fifty years ago on June 12 the Supreme Court ruled that laws banned interracial marriage were unconstitutional. In 1966 the AFRO covered the case closely. The below article recounts the couple’s appeal to the Supreme Court, which they ultimately won.
Mixed pair wants to live as man and wife
August 6, 1966
A white man and his colored wife Friday asked the Supreme Court to strike down a Virginia law making marriage between the two races a crime.
The court is in summer recess now and cannot act on the appeal until October. If it accepts review, arguments will be heard later in the term followed by a written opinion.
The appeal was brought by Richard Loving, 31, a construction worker and his colored wife, Mildred. The two grew up together in the Caroline County Hill country north of Richmond.
In 1958 they travelled Washington, D.C. and were married. But when they returned home they were arrested and charged with attempting to evade the anti-miscegenation law.
Caroline county circuit Judge Leon M. Brazile imposed a one year prison term but suspended it on condition that the couple depart and not return to Virginia together for 25 years.
In 1963 they determined to go back home and fight the banishment edict.
The Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia upheld the constitutionality of the anti-miscegenation statute on March 7, 1966.
The American Civil Liberties, which represents the Lovings, contend that the law violates their constitutional right to privacy and freedom to marry.
“Is a state law valid under our constitution which makes the color of a person’s skin the test of whether his marriage constitutes a criminal offense,” the appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court asked.
The ACLU also claimed the law violates the constitution’s guarantee of “due process of law” and the “equal protection of the law” as well as federal civil rights law.
ACLU attorneys said 17 states now consider interracial marriage a felony a Supreme Court ruling in the Loving case could be a “landmark decision.”