50 years ago, the Supreme Court ruled in a landmark case known as Loving vs Virginia that legalized interracial marriage in all 50 states. Before to the ruling, 24 states actually had laws on the books that made it a crime for a white person to marry a black person. Yep, it was a CRIME, punishable by fines and jail time!
In 1958, Richard Loving, a white man, married Mildred Jeter, a black woman, in Washington, DC and later returned home to Virginia, where it was illegal for a person with "one drop" of non-white blood to marry a white person. It was also illegal for an interracial couple that married outside of Virginia to live together in Virginia.
On July 11, 1958 the police literally barged into newlyweds' bedroom at 2 o'clock in the morning and arrested them. They arrested them in their bedclothes, in the middle of the night. They were charged with breaking the Virginia law prohibiting mixed-race marriage and on January of 1959, they were convicted. The state court barred them from living in Virginia. In fact they weren't even allowed to TRAVEL to Virginia together! As a result, the couple moved to Washington DC but soon grew frustrated that they could not visit family in Virginia together. It was a truly ridiculous situation and so they reached out to the ACLU, who took up their case.
It took years to work its way through the court system, but finally, on June 12th, 1967 the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that Virginia's ridiculous law was unconstitutional. The decision affected all 24 states that had similar laws and interracial marriage was finally legal in all 50 states. This wouldn't be the last major case concerning the institution of marriage.
June is Pride month and it was just 2 years ago that anti-gay marriage laws were struck down by the Supreme Court in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges. As these cases clearly show, the United States has been very slow to reverse discriminatory laws when it comes to love and marriage, but eventually, it does catch up with history.
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