Mildred Loving Leaves “Freedom to Marry” Legacy

By Jonathan Adams May 05, 2008

Mildred Loving, 68, the Black woman who, with her husband, challenged Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage led to a landmark Supreme Court in 1967 striking down such laws nationwide, has died, Loving Day, a celebration of interracial couples, was started in memory of this woman’s courageous fight for her family. On the 40th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia last year, Mildred Loving prepared a statement that links her struggle for a basic civil right to gay and lesbian couples’ fight for the freedom 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.