by Patrick Gaffney

On occasion, the Supreme Court of the United States makes decisions that affect the lives of real  people  in society.  Such was the case of Loving v. Virginia (1967).

In the summer of 1958, newlyweds Mildred and Richard Loving faced a choice: spend one year in jail, or face 25 years in exile from the state of Virginia.  The couple married legally in Washington, D.C., but Judge Leone M. Bazile ruled their new marriage a crime against a Virginia state law that forbid miscegenation, or interracial marriage, because Mildred, then 17, was black and Native American, and Richard, 23, was white.

In issuing the ruling, Bazile wrote, “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents… The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”

The Lovings chose to live in exile until they and the American Civil Liberties Union challenged the constitutionality of the Virginia law in 1964.

“After Brown v Board of Education in 1954, that was a big turning point.  A lot of states repealed their anti-miscegenation laws… and there were a few that didn’t,” Gloria Browne-Marshall said.

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Lovings, thereby voiding existing anti-miscegenation laws in 16 states.

“I don’t think there was a big backlash against that decision,” said Daniel Feldman, an associate professor at John Jay College.  But a lack of backlash didn’t mean automatic public support.  A Gallup poll in 1968 showed 73 percent of Americans opposed interracial marriage.  Opposition dropped to 42 percent in 1991 and to 17 percent by 2007.1

1 This blog was taken from: Cox, Lauren.  Loving v. Virginia (1967) Eight Supreme Court Decisions that Changed U.S. Families.  Live Science.  Retrieved from:

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