Loving Day

On this day in 1967, the Supreme Court unanimously decided in Loving v. Virginia that Virginia’s anti-miscegenation law was unconstitutional and violated both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

For the “loving” couple at the heart of the case, Richard Perry died in 1975 at the age of 41 when a drunk driver hit their car, while Mildred Loving passed away last year on May 2 at the age of 68. While she later passed on interviews, she did issue a statement on the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling that urged that gay men and lesbians be allowed to marry.

My generation was bitterly divided over something that should have been so clear and right. The majority believed that what the judge said, that it was God’s plan to keep people apart, and that government should discriminate against people in love. But I have lived long enough now to see big changes. The older generation’s fears and prejudices have given way, and today’s young people realize that if someone loves someone, they have a right to marry.

Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the ‘wrong kind of person’ for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people’s civil rights.

I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight, seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.

Amen to that.