Loving Day 2017: The U.S. Hits A Milestone Celebration

Exactly 50 years ago Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized interracial marriage in a unanimous decision known at Loving v. Virginia. Here's the story: 

In 1958, two residents of Virginia, 17-year-old Mildred Jeter, a black woman, and 23-year-old Richard Loving, a white man, were married in the District of Columbia. The Lovings returned to Virginia shortly thereafter. The couple was then charged with violating the state's anti-miscegenation statute, which banned inter-racial marriages. The Lovings were found guilty and sentenced to a year in jail (the trial judge agreed to suspend the sentence if the Lovings would leave Virginia and not return for 25 years). [...]

In a unanimous decision, the Court held that distinctions drawn according to race were generally "odious to a free people" and were subject to "the most rigid scrutiny" under the Equal Protection Clause. The Virginia law, the Court found, had no legitimate purpose "independent of invidious racial discrimination." The Court rejected the state's argument that the statute was legitimate because it applied equally to both blacks and whites and found that racial classifications were not subject to a "rational purpose" test under the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court also held that the Virginia law violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. "Under our Constitution," wrote Chief Justice Earl Warren, "the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual, and cannot be infringed by the State."

source: Daily Kos

Today, many communities nationwide commemorate "Loving Day" on June 12. 

In 2015, 17 percent of all U.S. newlyweds had a spouse of a different race or ethnicity, marking a noticible increase since 1967, when 3 percent of newlyweds were intermarried, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.

The impact of the decision in Loving v. Virginia has also affected contemporary struggles for marriage equality in the LGBT community.

Loving Day celebrations are taking place around the globe. To see a full list of scheduled events, and to get a feel for how far the love has spread, click here.

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