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Loving Day is an annual celebration held on June 12, the anniversary of the 1967 United States Supreme Court decision Loving vs. Virginia which struck down all anti-miscegenation laws remaining in 16 states citing "There can be no doubt that restricting the freedom to marry solely because of racial classifications violates the central meaning of the equal protection clause."[1][2][3] In the United States, anti-miscegenation laws were state laws banning interracial marriage, mainly forbidding marriage between non-whites and whites. Loving Day is not an officially, government-recognized holiday, but is celebrated by a growing number of people throughout the United States, especially by those involved in interracial relationships.

The "Loving" side of the U.S. Supreme Court case consisted of Mildred and Richard Loving. They first met when she was 11 and he was 17. He was a family friend and over the years they started courting. After she became pregnant, they got married in Washington in 1958, when she was 18.[4] Reportedly, Mildred didn't realize interracial marriage was illegal, and they were arrested a few weeks after they returned to their hometown north of Richmond. They pleaded guilty to charges of "cohabiting as man and wife, against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth," and avoided jail time by agreeing to leave Virginia. They moved to Washington, D.C. and began legal action by writing to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. Kennedy referred the case to the American Civil Liberties Union. After the Warren Court unanimously ruled in favor of the young couple, they returned to Virginia, where they lived with their three children. Mildred Loving died May 5, 2008 at the age of 68. Richard Loving died about thirty-three years earlier in a car accident. Each June 12, the anniversary of the ruling, Loving Day events around the country mark the advances of mixed-race couples.

Many organizations sponsor annual parties across the country, with Lovingday.org providing an online legal map, courtroom history of anti-miscegenation laws, as well as offering testimonials by and resources for interracial couples. Inspired by Juneteenth (which commemorates the end of slavery in the United States in 1865), Loving Day seeks both to commemorate and celebrate the Supreme Court's 1967 ruling, keeping its importance fresh in the minds of a generation which has grown up with interracial relationships being legal, as well as explore issues facing couples currently in interracial relationships. The Loving Day website features information, including court transcripts of the Loving v. Virginia case and of other court cases in which the legality of anti-miscegenation laws was challenged. To celebrate the holiday, people are encouraged to hold parties in which the case and its modern-day legacy are discussed, in smaller settings such as living rooms, backyards, etc., as well as in larger gatherings. In 2004, 2005 and 2006, several hundred people have celebrated at events in New York City, with seven major public parties taking place in 2006 in New York, Berkeley, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, and Eugene and Portland, Oregon. While taking its name from the case, the holiday is not officially endorsed by or affiliated with the Loving family.

References

  1. ^ Tucker, Neely (2006-06-13), "Loving Day Recalls a Time When the Union of a Man And a Woman Was Banned". The Washington Post, [1].
  2. ^ Bussel, Rachel Kramer (2006-06-06), "Love Actually: Talking with Ken Tanabe, founder of Loving Day". The Village Voice, [2].
  3. ^ Gandin Le, Jennifer (2007-06-08), "Loving Day: It's Not a Hallmark Holiday". The Huffington Post, [3].
  4. ^ American matriarch - News - inRich.com

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