In 1963, Richard and Mildred Loving were arrested in Virginia for living together as an interracial couple. They had married in Washington D.C., where it was legal, and then moved back to Virginia, where it was not. The judge in their case gave the statement:
Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.
The Lovings escalated the case to the Virginia Supreme Court, which upheld the ruling. They then took the case to the United States Supreme Court, which in 1967 unanimously ruled that the freedom of choice to marry is to not be restricted by racial discriminations. The ruling made all state laws banning interracial marriage unconstitutional and therefore null.
In commemoration of the legalization of interracial couples, June 12th is Loving Day.
Prior to the 1960s, an overwhemling majority of white Americans approved the illegalization of interracial marriages. Religious beliefs were the only justifications they had, besides old-fashioned racism. Old Testament verses were often cited, saying it was against God’s will to have races inter-marry. Even today, if you Google “interracial marriage” there are numerous entries about the Bible and interracial marriage, though they are mostly just clarifications of why interracial couples are not prohibited in the Bible. Mostly.
It took between 50 – 100 years for anti-interracial marriage laws to be overturned, depending on the state.
Forty-one years after the Supreme Court overturned anti-miscenegation laws, religious beliefs and/or bigotry are still hindering the rights of minorities.
Further reading on interracial marriage:
- Wikipedia entry on Anti-miscegenation laws
- Official Loving Day site
- Is interracial marriage Biblical?
Further reading on homosexual marriage: