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AztecLady sent me the link to this statement, written by a lady called Mildred Loving. It moved me beyond words.

I’ve posted the statement in its entirety, since I know how allergic to clicking on links some of you guys are:

Loving for All

By Mildred Loving*

Prepared for Delivery on June 12, 2007,
The 40th Anniversary of the Loving vs. Virginia Announcement

When my late husband, Richard, and I got married in Washington, DC in 1958, it wasn’t to make a political statement or start a fight. We were in love, and we wanted to be married.

We didn’t get married in Washington because we wanted to marry there. We did it there because the government wouldn’t allow us to marry back home in Virginia where we grew up, where we met, where we fell in love, and where we wanted to be together and build our family. You see, I am a woman of color and Richard was white, and at that time people believed it was okay to keep us from marrying because of their ideas of who should marry whom.

When Richard and I came back to our home in Virginia, happily married, we had no intention of battling over the law. We made a commitment to each other in our love and lives, and now had the legal commitment, called marriage, to match. Isn’t that what marriage is?

Not long after our wedding, we were awakened in the middle of the night in our own bedroom by deputy sheriffs and actually arrested for the “crime” of marrying the wrong kind of person. Our marriage certificate was hanging on the wall above the bed. The state prosecuted Richard and me, and after we were found guilty, the judge declared: “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay 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.” He sentenced us to a year in prison, but offered to suspend the sentence if we left our home in Virginia for 25 years exile.

We left, and got a lawyer. Richard and I had to fight, but still were not fighting for a cause. We were fighting for our love.

Though it turned out we had to fight, happily Richard and I didn’t have to fight alone. Thanks to groups like the ACLU and the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, and so many good people around the country willing to speak up, we took our case for the freedom to marry all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. And on June 12, 1967, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that, “The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men,” a “basic civil right.”

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.

It’s unimaginable to me that once upon a time, you could get thrown in jail for marrying somebody with a different skin tone to yourself. We still have a ways to go, but I do think we have come a long way from those very dark days.

15 Comments »

  • Sadly we still do have a long ways to go. There are still so many ignorant people out there. But articles like this remind us as you say we have made some progress. Thanks for posting.

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  • Emmy
    May 7
    1:37 pm

    Wow….iz all teary eyed n stuffs. And the peepo said ‘Amen’.

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  • What a beautiful letter. The struggle of Richard and Mildred Loving has such an impact on my life being that I’m in an interracial marriage. They may not have set out to be heroes, but because they chose to fight instead of caving in to the system, they are. It’s ironic that some of the same arguments used to prevent interracial marriages back in the day are being used to prevent gay marriage.

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  • Karen, I hadn’t ever read this-it’s absolutely beautiful

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  • Capo
    May 7
    2:56 pm

    What a beautiful statement. I think its cool irony their last name is Loving.

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  • They were well-named.

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  • That is a gorgeous letter. Her words just burst with the love she had for her husband.

    I’m trying to imagine being thrown in jail for loving someone…it seems like such an impossible thing.

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  • bam
    May 7
    4:02 pm

    Damn… if it weren’t for these two lovely people, my ass would have been fried in an electric chair long ago, what with my predilection for tall, lean white boys and all.

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  • Thank you for posting it, Karen.

    I had read about Ms Loving’s passing at SBTB, and then found a link to this statement at another forum. When I read it, I just couldn’t stop crying.

    There are places today where people are not just jailed but killed for loving the “wrong” person. Humanity has such a long way to go.

    But at least here some progress has been made.

    Thank you, Mr and Ms Loving, and Godspeed.

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  • That is a lovely letter. If it weren’t for the bravery of the Lovings and many other couples, my parents’ marriage would have been illegal in the states they were born in. My own marriage would be illegal.

    Everyone deserves the right to marry the person they love, regardless of race, color, creed, or sexual orientation.

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  • My parents were and interracial couple and I’m in an interracial marriage myself. They paved the way for my happiness and my life in so many ways.

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  • Now, if only same-sex couples could benefit from the Lovings’ moving and inspiring legacy. Why is it that so many people/governments just don’t get the fundamental fact that LOVE is LOVE and is not a somehow destructive force?

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  • DS
    May 8
    12:34 am

    It makes me feel very weird that this decision was handed down was within my memory, but somehow it never made current events when I was in school. I sometimes feel that for every step we take as a country we are shoved back one and a half.

    As for same sex– Virginia had a law (it was still on the books in the 90’s and have never been repealed) that alcoholic beverages could not be sold to insane persons or “known homosexuals”. I once went to a gay “bar” in a town in western Virginia where we had to BYOB and purchase set ups, i.e., coke or seven-up, at outrageous prices.

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  • More than three decades later, in the early 90s, I was contemplating settling down with a particular English gentleman. I am Eurasian, a real Europe/Asia bitzer. His mother (from the Bournemouth area) was very quick to point out to both of us, in no uncertain terms, that if we contemplated having children, our children would have a “horrible time” at school, would be made relentless fun of in public and it would all be our “fault”. Did we really want our children to be punished for the rest of their lives for our “selfishness”? That was how it was put.

    When I met my current MIL (Polish), J and I were already married. I was dreading the meeting and, in subsequent visits, her reaction to our children, who are not white-skinned.

    It’s sad that I approach more or less every single interaction with the same trepidation, on my behalf and on behalf of my kids, and I wasn’t even born yet in the 50s. We still have a long long long way to go.

    PS My MIL adores our children and is a lovely and generous woman. I’ve been very lucky. So many others aren’t.

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  • Angela
    May 8
    10:52 am

    Has anyone seen the movie based on their life, starring Lela Rochon and Timothy Hutton, “Mr and Mrs Loving”? It was a TV movie, but it was released on DVD in 2005. Very good.

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