Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Mildred Loving’s Statement

On the 40th anniversary of the ruling in Loving v Virginia, MIldred Loving has released a public statement that really must be read. I’m going to post the full text below the fold and encourage others to distribute it far and wide, put it on Fark and Digg and Reddit and anywhere you can for the widest possible reach. Americans need to read this statement and see how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go to protect liberty and equality in this country.

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.

Comments

  1. #1 Robert
    June 15, 2007

    And people today still try to deny the parallels between this case and the fight for same sex marriage.

    So now according to the Supreme Court of the United States marriage is a basic civil right.

    According to the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights marriage is a human right.

    what rational basis do we have for excluding homosexuals from this right?

  2. #2 dogmeatib
    June 15, 2007

    ’cause they’re “icky?”

    There is no rational basis, everything those who oppose gay marriage point to can be refuted by actual evidence. It all boils down to a few cherry picked lines in the Bible that really only serve to support their basic idea that gay = man sex = icky.

  3. #3 IanR
    June 15, 2007

    It’s only been forty years? So my parents’ 1966 marriage would probably have been illegal in much of the South? I’m truly shocked.

  4. #4 raj
    June 15, 2007

    Mrs. Loving has done the honorable thing, as did Coretta Scott King (the wife of Martin Luther King, Jr.): recognize that we are all engaged in a struggle for civil rights. Mrs. King was in favor of equal rights for same-sex couples, and Mrs. Loving has expressed the same.

    They recognize that: civil rights for some means no civil rights for others.

    I am proud of the fact that the MA state Constitutional convention yesterday voted not to allow an anti-civil-rights state constitutional amendment to proceed.

  5. #5 Alex the Canuck
    June 15, 2007

    I just dugg it!
    I trully hope it gets dugg up. Everybody should read this!

  6. #6 Juju-Quisp
    June 15, 2007

    I’m white, my wife is black. It is very uncomfortable sometimes. That’s all I’ll say.

  7. #7 meatbrain
    June 15, 2007

    I’ve posted this at my own blog, Ed. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

  8. #8 Dave S.
    June 15, 2007

    It’s only been forty years? So my parents’ 1966 marriage would probably have been illegal in much of the South? I’m truly shocked.

    At the time of Loving, around 17 states (mostly former slave-holding states) still had such laws. After Loving, such laws became defunct. Alabama was the last state to actually remove the laws from the books, in 2000.

  9. #9 Steve Reuland
    June 15, 2007

    Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents.

    So God created man five separate times?

    I’m confused. The other creationists keep telling me it was just once.

  10. #10 kehrsam
    June 15, 2007

    Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents.

    So there should be a law against the Village People?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nHuw1OasKw

  11. #11 MAJeff
    June 15, 2007

    So there should be a law against the Village People?

    Just don’t tell the fundies why the young men are going to the YMCA or joining the Navy.

  12. #12 Vasili
    June 15, 2007

    Thank you Richard and Mildred Loving! It all it matters is character. It does not matter if a person is African-American, Caucasian, Native American, or Asian. We wish you well Richard and he went Home to be with the Lord on June 29, 1975. God bless the Lovings and the relatives.

  13. #13 DuWayne
    June 15, 2007

    So there should be a law against the Village People?

    Yes, yes there should.

  14. #14 Coin
    June 15, 2007

    By Mildred Loving*

    Why the asterisk?

  15. #15 Coin
    June 15, 2007

    Err, never mind, it’s in the PDF.

  16. #16 doctorgoo
    June 15, 2007

    Coin… from the pdf file:

    * Together with her husband, Richard Loving, Mildred Loving was a plaintiff in the historic Supreme Court
    Loving v. Virginia, decided 40 years ago June 12, striking down race restrictions on the freedom to marry
    and advancing racial justice and marriage equality in America.

  17. #17 Thought Provoker
    June 15, 2007

    Hi Ed,

    I another thread where we disagreed I said…

    For what it is worth, I think you bring up some very interesting subjects and present them well.

    This is an example of what I was talking about.

    Nicely done

  18. #18 Skemono
    June 15, 2007

    So God created man five separate times?

    Maybe.

    As regards the article, I’m truly stunned. Having done a lot of reading on this, I know that Mrs. Loving is not, as she says, a political person, and generally didn’t like the attention paid to Loving v. Virginia. I’m impressed by, and grateful for, this statement.

  19. #19 Mark
    June 15, 2007

    It’s stuff like this that shows the fallacy of the “slavery ended a long time ago, get over it” argument. At the time of Loving, it had been over a century since legal slavery. Clearly we’ve been pretty slow as a nation to just “get over it.”

  20. #20 Skemono
    June 15, 2007
  21. #21 Jeff Knapp
    June 16, 2007

    What can I say? That is a beautiful and eloquent letter. It says it all.

  22. #22 Ick of the East
    June 17, 2007

    Whenever a member of my family goes off on “activist judges” ruling against the wishes of the people, I remind them of this case.

    “So are you saying that you wish my marriage was still illegal in 17 states? Because if it wasn’t for an “activist” ruling, it still would be.”

  23. #23 Rieux
    June 18, 2007

    A little copy-and-paste issue:

    As a check of the PDF confirms, the (capitalized) word “Loving” in the final sentence should be italicized; she’s referring to the court decision, not (directly) to her surname.

  24. #24 sherm
    August 15, 2007

    I am new to this sight, so if there are any mistakes in my message, please forgive me. I appreciate the messages on this sight. I am so happy to see the interest in this topic. However, I do find it difficult to understand how some compare interracial marriages with same-sex marriages! Perhaps in the fact that they are seen as taboo.

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