Did You Know Interracial Marriages Became Legal in the US only 51 years ago!

Yesterday June 12, thousands of mixed-race couples, celebrated what’s been dubbed #LovingDay, sharing their love stories on social media.

Fifty-one years ago Mildred and Richard Loving's landmark legal challenge shattered the laws against interracial marriage in the U.S.

Interracial marriages became legal nationwide on June 12, 1967, after the Supreme Court threw out a Virginia law that sent police into the Lovings' bedroom to arrest them just for being who they were: a married black woman and white man.

The Lovings were locked up and given a year in a Virginia prison, with the sentence suspended on the condition that they leave Virginia. Their sentence is memorialized on a marker to go up on Monday in Richmond, Virginia, in their honor.

The Supreme Court's unanimous decision struck down the Virginia law and similar statutes in roughly one-third of the states. Some of those laws went beyond black and white, prohibiting marriages between whites and Native Americans, Filipinos, Indians, Asians and in some states "all non-whites."

The Lovings, a working-class couple from a deeply rural community, weren't trying to change the world and were media-shy, said one of their lawyers, Philip Hirschkop, now 81 and living in Lorton, Virginia. They simply wanted to be married and raise their children in Virginia.

But when police raided their Central Point home in 1958 and found a pregnant Mildred in bed with her husband and a District of Columbia marriage certificate on the wall, they arrested them, leading the Lovings to plead guilty to cohabitating as man and wife in Virginia.

"Neither of them wanted to be involved in the lawsuit, or litigation or taking on a cause. They wanted to raise their children near their family where they were raised themselves," Hirschkop said.

But they knew what was at stake in their case.

"It's the principle. It's the law. I don't think it's right," Mildred Loving said in archival video footage shown in an HBO documentary. "And if, if we do win, we will be helping a lot of people."

Richard Loving died in 1975, Mildred Loving in 2008.

Since the Loving decision, Americans have increasingly dated and married across racial and ethnic lines.

In 2015, 17 percent of newlyweds - or at least 1 in 6 of newly married people - were intermarried, which means they had a spouse of a different race or ethnicity. When the Supreme Court decided the Lovings' case, only 3 percent of newlyweds were intermarried.
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