National Loving Day – 12 June
National Loving Day is an annual celebration held on June 12 to honor the United States Supreme Court’s decision to strike down laws in several states that banned interracial marriage. The day is meant to focus on and discuss race and discriminatory laws and policies. On June 12, 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down state bans against interracial marriage.
On this day we honor the 1967 decision of the United States Supreme Court to repeal laws in several states that prohibited interracial marriage. It’s hard for people today to appreciate that there were once laws against interracial marriage, known as miscegenation laws. At the time, 16 states still had anti-miscegenation laws, which banned interracial marriage — mainly preventing whites and non-whites from marrying. Loving v. Virginia, struck down unconstitutional state laws against persons marrying someone outside their race.
The decision was brought about by Loving v. Virginia, a court case involving Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple from Virginia who married in 1958. Upon returning home after their wedding, they were arrested. They were given the option to leave Virginia for 25 years or stay in jail. The couple defended themselves against the laws that prohibit their association and eventually won the right to marry.
In 1959, in their effort to escape a one-year prison sentence, the couple took a plea bargain to leave Virginia and not return together for at least 25 years. The loving only got better, as the babies kept coming even after their forced move to the District of Columbia. However, the couple grew frustrated after years of social isolation and the inability to travel together back to Virginia.
Mildred Loving decided she’d had enough and wrote a protest to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, which marked the beginning of legal proceedings to appeal the 1959 ruling preventing them from living as husband and wife in Virginia.
The couple refused to give up on their right to love. As a result, June 12, 1967, is a landmark in civil rights history, as the Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage. Americans were no longer prohibited from marrying someone they loved solely because they were of different races.
The holiday was not created until decades after the decision, in 2004. It was launched by Ken Tanabe, who grew up in an interracial family with a Japanese father and a Belgian mother. He launched the holiday in hopes that the day of celebration would bring together multi-ethnic families from around the world.
Every year on June 12, the anniversary of the court decision, people celebrate in honor of the momentous day. It is a reminder that race is not what matters in a happy relationship, the important thing is that a couple is happy and compatible.
How to celebrate the day
National Love Day is a great opportunity to recognize the fact that love does not discriminate and that millions of families across the United States and around the world consist of multiple races and ethnicities. It is a day to get rid of discrimination and treat all families and couples with the respect they deserve.
National Loving Day is often celebrated with barbecues in the backyard. It’s the best time for a summer reunion, and what is better is to honor a party that is about love. There are many festivals celebrated on this day you can find one happening near you at LovingDay.org or consider hosting yours. You can watch the movie Loving, a cinematic tribute to the couple that started it all. Released in 2016, the film follows the story of Richard and Mildred Loving’s arrest, the legal battle, and the Supreme Court’s final victory nine years later.
Loving Day Quotes
- Love knows no race. Interracial couples are a symbol of beauty.
- The shade of my skin makes no limits to who I cherish.
- Love is not a color. Character is not a shade of skin.
- “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” —Mother Theresa
- “Love is blind despite the world’s attempt to give it eyes.” ―Matshona Dhliwayo
- It’s not about color. It’s about love.
- “Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within” – James Baldwin
- “I think it’s something that needs to be said – that there are interracial marriages out there, and the couples live happy lives, and there’s nothing wrong with it.” —Tia Mowry
- The emotion called love does not see any boundaries because it only sees hearts and happiness. Wishing you a very Happy National Loving Day.
Suggested Read: National Children’s Day