Happy Loving Day! | An Ithaca Proposal Photo Shoot
June 12, celebrated as Loving Day around the US, is the day the Supreme Court struck down state bans on interracial marriage with its decision in Loving v. Virginia in 1967.
In 1958, two residents of Virginia, Mildred Jeter, a black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man, were married in the District of Columbia. The Lovings returned to Virginia shortly thereafter. The couple was then charged with violating the state’s statute banning inter-racial marriages. The Lovings were found guilty and sentenced to a year in jail (the trial judge agreed to suspend the sentence if the Lovings would leave Virginia and not return for 25 years).
In a unanimous decision, the Court held that distinctions drawn according to race were generally “odious to a free people” and were subject to “the most rigid scrutiny” under the Equal Protection Clause. “Under our Constitution,” wrote Chief Justice Earl Warren, “the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual, and cannot be infringed by the State.”
(Supreme Court wisdom via oyez.org)
I’m celebrating Loving Day with the memory of Rebecca and Jonah’s proposal shoot, to this day one of the most effervescent couples I have come across. Two musicians who met while attending Ithaca College, they were coming back for a visit after moving away and Jonah planned the most perfect secret proposal for Rebecca – he had all the details down to making sure she had a manicure all done up, and of course, getting some pictures to remember the day and their time in Ithaca. And if you look at these pictures and think, Oh what a lovely day – it was legit over 110 degrees that day with a heat advisory, and these two still managed to look so, so cool, with love and smiles pouring out of every image.
Love has no bounds! But just 53 years ago, this engagement would have been illegal. We have come a long way, but we have not come far enough. Keep the fight going!