Today is the 50th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision in Loving vs. Virginia. On this day fifty years ago, laws against interracial marriage were finally struck down. It took nine long years for that decision from the time Richard and Mildred Loving were arrested simply because they were married to each other. The film clip below is the director's interview for a recent HBO documentary about the Lovings. The original film clips and still pictures help us to appreciate the humanity of the people involved instead of just remembering the court case. The Loving case is truly about two people who struggled against the injustice of their day to love each other and to make it possible for others to do the same. Ten years ago before her death in 2008, Mildred Loving shared the following reflection about what her experience means in the 21st century:
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.
Today is also the first anniversary of the tragic Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando that killed 49 people and wounded 58 others. The victims of such horrific violence were targeted because they were gay. While our society has made significant progress in the area of rights for LGBTQ people, we still have work to do to insure that all people are treated with justice, because all people are made in the image of God. The witness of Mildred and Richard Loving as well as today's memorials for the victims of the Pulse Nightclub call us to live more deeply into the Biblical truth that " There is no fear in love. But perfect love casts out fear." ( I John 4:18).