June 12, 1967: The Supreme Court declares anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional.
For forty-three years prior to this landmark civil rights case, Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act made marriage between white and non-whites a crime punishable by law. To circumvent this law, Mildred Dolores Jeter (a woman of Native American and African descent) and Richard Loving traveled in 1958 to Washington, D.C., where they were able to marry legally (though technically this was also a violation of the Virginia Code). Upon returning to Virginia, however, the Lovings were arrested and charged with “cohabiting as man and wife, against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth”, to which they pled guilty.
Fortunately, with the help of the ACLU, the Loving case made it to the state court and then to the Supreme Court as Loving v. Virginia. By this time, most mainstream American churches had already affirmed their support for interracial marriage. Finally, in, 1967, the Supreme Court unanimously declared that, under the Fourteenth Amendment, the Racial Integrity Act (and any other anti-miscegenation laws) were unconstitutional:
To deny [marriage] on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law.
This has a familiar sound.