National Loving Day
National Loving Day is on June 12, and the name for this day is an interesting one. The holiday is, of course, about spreading love but, ironically, it also references the names of Mildred and Richard Loving, who fought against the laws confining them and everyone else from marrying interracially.
HISTORY OF NATIONAL LOVING DAY
‘The freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual, and cannot be infringed by the state.’
It is hard to imagine now that there was a time when this statement wasn’t true. The opposite of this was the reality in America. Every June 12, we honor the United States Supreme Court’s 1967 decision to strike down laws in several states that banned interracial marriage. The decision was sparked by Loving v. Virginia, a court case involving Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple from Virginia who married in 1958.
Mildred and Richard started off as childhood friends and, over the years, their friendship developed into love. On her 18th birthday, in 1958, Mildred was married to Richard in Washington, after which the couple returned to their hometown. Two weeks later, they were arrested by authorities. The two were unaware that the state where they resided considered interracial marriage to be illegal. Pleading guilty, the Lovings agreed to leave Virginia.
After moving to Washington D.C., the couple pursued legal action by writing a plea to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. The case was forwarded to the American Civil Liberties Union and, eventually, the ruling was in the Lovings’ favor. Richard and Mildred returned to their home in Virginia, where they settled with their three children. The couple fought back against the laws that forbid their partnership and ultimately won the right to marry. Richard and Mildred’s determination changed the lives of millions of Americans and shaped the future of relationships in the country.
From June 12, 1967, onward, Americans were no longer prohibited from marrying someone they loved solely because they were of different races. At the time of the Supreme Court’s decision, 16 U.S. states still forbade interracial marriage, so the ruling was a necessary game-changer. The holiday was not created until decades after the decision, in 2004. It was launched by Ken Tanabe, who grew up in an interracial family with a Japanese father and a Belgian mother. He launched the holiday in hopes that the day of celebration would bring together multiethnic families from around the world.
‘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.’
WHY WE LOVE NATIONAL LOVING DAY
A. It celebrates love in all forms
National Loving Day is a great opportunity to acknowledge the fact that love does not discriminate, and that millions of families throughout the U.S. and around the world consist of multiple races and ethnicities. Love is love — and what’s more beautiful than that?
B. It honors the Loving couple’s bravery
Richard and Mildred Loving’s bold choice to fight for their rights created a better future for so many of their fellow Americans. Had the Supreme Court not ruled in their favor, millions of happy families that consist of more than one race may not exist today. The freedom to marry whomever we love was granted far more recently than most of us realize, and it’s important to protect that right in any way we can. National Loving Day is a great reminder to appreciate our current liberties and to ensure our rights are always recognized.
C. It spreads awareness
National Loving Day is a great cue to ditch discrimination and treat all families and couples with the respect they deserve. It’s also a reminder that race is not what matters in a happy relationship — what’s important is that a couple is happy and compatible.
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