Deaths | Gay Marriage | Gay Rights | News

Mildred Loving Dies

Mildredloving

Mildred Loving, whose 1967 Supreme Court case against the state of Virginia over interracial marriage resulted in the banishment of the last of the nation's segregation laws, died on May 2 at the age of 68. The final sentence in Loving's NYT obituary makes note of her June 2007 statement to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia.

Said Loving at the conclusion of that statement:

"The older generation’s fears and prejudices have given way, and today’s young people realize that if someone loves someone they have a right 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. I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about."

May she rest in peace.

Read the full, powerful statement AFTER THE JUMP...

***STATEMENT by MILDRED LOVING***

Loving for All

By Mildred Loving

Prepared for Delivery on June 12, 2007,
The 40th Anniversary of the Loving vs. Virginia Announcement

When my late husband, Richard, and I got married in Washington, DC in 1958, it wasn’t to make a political statement or start a fight. We were in love, and we wanted to be married.

We didn’t get married in Washington because we wanted to marry there. We did it there because the government wouldn’t allow us to marry back home in Virginia where we grew up, where we met, where we fell in love, and where we wanted to be together and build our family. You see, I am a woman of color and Richard was white, and at that time people believed it was okay to keep us from marrying because of their ideas of who should marry whom.

When Richard and I came back to our home in Virginia, happily married, we had no intention of battling over the law. We made a commitment to each other in our love and lives, and now had the legal commitment, called marriage, to match. Isn’t that what marriage is?

Not long after our wedding, we were awakened in the middle of the night in our own bedroom by deputy sheriffs and actually arrested for the “crime” of marrying the wrong kind of person. Our marriage certificate was hanging on the wall above the bed. The state prosecuted Richard and me, and after we were found guilty, the judge declared: “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.” He sentenced us to a year in prison, but offered to suspend the sentence if we left our home in Virginia for 25 years exile.

We left, and got a lawyer. Richard and I had to fight, but still were not fighting for a cause. We were fighting for our love.

Though it turned out we had to fight, happily Richard and I didn’t have to fight alone. Thanks to groups like the ACLU and the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, and so many good people around the country willing to speak up, we took our case for the freedom to marry all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. And on June 12, 1967, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that, “The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men,” a “basic civil right.”

My generation was bitterly divided over something that should have been so clear and right. The majority believed that what the judge said, that it was God’s plan to keep people apart, and that government should discriminate against people in love. But I have lived long enough now to see big changes. The older generation’s fears and prejudices have given way, and today’s young people realize that if someone loves someone they have a right 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.

I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.

***END STATEMENT***

Feed This post's comment feed

Comments

  1. "My generation was bitterly divided over something that should have been so clear and right."

    RIP Mrs. Loving.

    Posted by: david | May 6, 2008 10:00:22 AM


  2. She will be missed.

    Posted by: Nite in Shining Armour | May 6, 2008 10:05:46 AM


  3. What a beautiful woman.

    Posted by: Rey | May 6, 2008 10:19:27 AM


  4. What a great lady.

    Posted by: sam | May 6, 2008 10:21:08 AM


  5. Mildred Loving was a truly inspirational woman. It's hard to fight against closed minds but she did it - and succeeded. I hope she gets due recognition from all the mainstream media. Thoughts to her family and friends.

    Posted by: jason | May 6, 2008 10:22:07 AM


  6. Rest in peace

    and peace be with her family

    Posted by: Jimmyboyo | May 6, 2008 10:27:20 AM


  7. PS

    Jason

    The Washington Post has the story on its front page . Others will have to chime in on other media sources covering this.

    Posted by: Jimmyboyo | May 6, 2008 10:33:41 AM


  8. Both the Lovings died too young by today's life expectancy, but they accomplished more in their lives than I could do if I lived to be two hundred.

    It is sad that Mrs Loving had to come back to Andy's Blog under these circumstances, but after the news stories of bigotry committed two women of color this week (the Ohio university campus administrator, and the Memphis highschool administrator), it is a relief to me that we have a story about a black woman who believed in human, civil & marriage rights for everybody.

    Well, she certainly picked a husband with an appropriate surname for what they both stood for, didn't she?

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | May 6, 2008 10:42:12 AM


  9. An amazing woman. R.I.P.

    Posted by: Tintin Malfoy | May 6, 2008 10:55:00 AM


  10. What a truly beautiful story! I wish I knew about her story before her death. People like Mildred Loving give me great hope for our future - despite what the mainstream media and local news might have you believe.

    The next time I find someone who doesn't believe in gay marriage I'll just think of this eloquent woman and her vision of love for all.

    Posted by: Kurt from Milwaukee | May 6, 2008 11:26:38 AM


  11. God bless Mildred and Richard Loving. They truly lived up to their name.

    Posted by: JerzeeMike | May 6, 2008 11:33:26 AM


  12. As with so many things relatively not that long ago—the first decade or so of AIDS, segregation & Jim Crow laws, the treatment of migratory farm workers, the treatment of women pre modern feminism, the treatment of gays—one had to have lived during the Lovings time to really grasp what it was like.

    And from such visceral pain, the courage and example of the Lovings [and others who fought for interracial marriage equality] is all the more remarkable; to be honored and remembered. As heinous as the ban on gay marriage equality is, we do not risk jail for attempting it. Still, Mrs. Loving would tell us not to take "No" for an answer.

    Bless her and her husband.

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | May 6, 2008 11:34:58 AM


  13. "It is sad that Mrs Loving had to come back to Andy's Blog under these circumstances, but after the news stories of bigotry committed two women of color this week (the Ohio university campus administrator, and the Memphis highschool administrator), it is a relief to me that we have a story about a black woman who believed in human, civil & marriage rights for everybody."

    --Dude,

    You totally just spat on Midred Loving's memory by committing an act of racism. Damn, why didn't you just come out and say that she was a credit to her race or something else as condescendingly racist?!

    So what if two women of color said something homophobic? They don't speak for all African-Americans any more than you represent all gay people.

    The Lovings fought for the right to be individuals who could marry whom they chose and not be subject to raced-based groupings and laws to enforce that. The actions of one person should not be reflective of a group that comprises millions of people!

    African-Americans as a whole are not responsible for the actions of two of their numbers. How often to do we read of stories about white people saying and doing extremely violent anti-gay activities? John Hagee? Peter Labrera? Have you ever written a reply that says how wonderful it is that a white, heterosexual male has done something nice?

    Lawrence King was biracial. His murderer was white. Last year, Michael Sandy was murdered by white youths. Do all white people bear responsibility for King's and Sandy's murder?

    Get your head out of your privileged, bigoted, condescending ass!

    The reason behind the law that the Loving case overturned was about maintaining the absurdity of white purity. Under the law of the land in New Orleans, a white person with 1/64 African ancestry was declared black. Loving was mixed-race herself. Look at her picture.

    The laws were put there to ensure white supremacy and codify that African ancestry was a horrible stain. By your words, you continue the same terrible line of thought that makes blackness a bad thing: Mildred Loving's words rehabilitate women of color because she shares the same dreadful DNA as two other people. So what if Loving never met the two other women, Loving and others who share the same DNA must bear the burden for those horrible women.

    Let's be honest about this: In the history of America, black women do not have a historical role in the oppression of gay people, white, black, or other. Black women have not been the controlling factor in American law, business, or culture.


    When Pat Buchanan goes on a tear and writes as he did last month that blacks should be grateful for slavery because it brought them Christian salvation, did you hear a peep in the media? Did any other white people not connected to Buchanan feel that they had to bear the burden of his words or was he just some nut?

    In truth, white Americans are not held to judgement in the same way that members of a minority group are (including gays). If the news reports on a crime involving someone gay, it's used as an indictment against all gay people.

    Posted by: noah | May 6, 2008 11:37:20 AM


  14. “ Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay and red, and He placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with His arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that He separated the races shows that He did not intend for the races to mix. ”

    that was the statement included in the ruling against the lovings by the virginia judge. thank goodness that the supreme court of the u.s. disagreed.

    the lovings were a strong inspirational couple. i am sure that mildred loving will be welcomed into the spiritual world with loving arms. what a remarkable woman! i know that she rests in peace.

    Posted by: nic | May 6, 2008 11:45:21 AM


  15. Posted by: 1♥ | May 6, 2008 11:51:42 AM


  16. NOAH,

    wtf?

    Posted by: nic | May 6, 2008 11:56:17 AM


  17. NOAH...if I'm not mistaken, DERRICK FROM PHILLY is a black guy. I would say that entitles him to write the words he wrote about the two women of color who discriminated against gays. Besides, I didn't see his words as all that racist...he was merely saying that after reading two stories about bigoted black women it was nice to read a story about a black woman who believed in equality for all.

    Posted by: peterparker | May 6, 2008 12:22:01 PM


  18. Thank you, Mrs. Loving for your courage and your compassion! May you rest in peace.

    Posted by: peterparker | May 6, 2008 12:27:55 PM


  19. Noah - I've been reading all of the comments and I honestly don't know why you are accusing Derrick From Philly of "spitting on Mildred Loving's memory" or of an act of racism. I get the gist of your argument, but it's a bit misguided.

    For starters, right or wrong, we still live in a society where individuals are judged by the behavior of others simply because of a common characteristic - gays, women, men, Blacks, and even Whites, among non-Whites. As a person of color, I give a sigh of relief every time a crime is committed and the perpetrator is not Black, because while Whites may not judge themselves when crimes are committed by other Whites, the rest of us aren't necessarily exempt.

    Praising a woman (of color) whose own experience gave her insight into the fight for marriage equality - as well as a platform for speaking out against discrimination in marriage (and whom you choose to love) - in comparison to two other, bigoted women (of color) who've recently been in the news) doesn't strike me as an act of racism; just pride in knowing that there are still people who look like you and come from a similar background who are okay with you being who you are.

    And, on another note, in response to your comment on the absurdity of white purity: The one-drop rule is still very much in effect in the US. The day that this wealthy, powerful nation follows the lead of other nations and ceases to "log" and record the ethnicity of its citizens, in every facet of our lives, will be a huge step towards truly indicating that "race" doesn't not matter in the USA.

    Until then, no matter how hopeful we should all be, we still have to live in the real world.

    Posted by: Christian | May 6, 2008 12:30:01 PM


  20. oops, that should read "...doesn't matter in the USA."

    Posted by: Christian | May 6, 2008 12:32:53 PM


  21. She was a courageous and wise woman, with an inspiring story...

    RIP, Mildred Loving

    Posted by: cognitive dissident | May 6, 2008 12:50:04 PM


  22. NOAH,

    you quoted my comment perfectly, but the intent of my comment is obviously opposite to what I wanted--in your mind. Maybe I worded it badly or something. What I tried to say was after having homophobic behavior by women of color highlighted earlier this week on this blog, we have a story about a very courageous woman of color who is in direct contrast to what we read about in the Ohio & Memphis cases.

    Don't you ever spew such shit at me again on this blog, NOAH! I don't deserve it.

    "priviledged, bigoted, condescending ass."

    You certainly gave some people on this blog something to laugh about this morning, NOAH, "one nigger telling another nigger off on TOWLEROAD."

    And if you aren't black, the racists on this blog have still considered you a "nigger lover" because of your courageous comments against racism. Naturally, I admired your posts against racism, so your admonition today must give the bigots something to chuckle about.

    "condescendingly racist"?

    Is comparing the behavior of Ken Hutcherson to that of Jeremiah Wright on the issue of gay people's human rights--is that racist? If I praise Reverend Wright for being a black man who believes it is wrong to oppress gay people it's
    because bigoted black men like Hutcherson get so much press. Is that being condescendingly racist?

    I don't see how anyone visiting this blog, and reading this thread could have construed my comments to be disrespectful to Mrs Lovings and her sacrifice.

    You went after the wrong faggot this afternoon, NOAH? Ironic: the two nastiest comments ever made directly to me on Towleroad were by black men. That's all right, I've experienced white racists and hateful black bigots(gay & straight) all my life.

    I had a few more words, but they were all full of anger and profanity; so I erased them. Aint no place for that, not on a thread about such a wonderful woman.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | May 6, 2008 12:55:59 PM


  23. Derrick from Philly's comment (if he is black) reminds me of the moments I cringe when I hear news stories about blacks involved in crime, etc. I think it's natural for a black person to feel, to some degree, that criminal/negative behavior of other blacks reflects poorly on them. By the way I am black. I do however feel that Noah's points still require examining and discussion for they speak to a lot of truth. Perhaps a reason for the media not being more culturally or race sensitive is because there is an enormous lack of diversity in the positions that decide what is going to make news (and money). It is very shocking that the world described by the Loving story was not so long ago. Yet sometimes statements made in the media by black's about their personal experiences are given the treatment - "Is this statement critical of America? Is this statement critical of another group?" If so - a double standard is in full effect. It takes some cultural understanding to comprehend the context of some statements made by some especially in light of the Black experience. Our world tends to sometimes operate in a color blind dimension - an ideal but not a reality. The Loving's brought us a lot closer to this ideal world. May they rest in peace.

    Posted by: DCMNYC | May 6, 2008 1:01:04 PM


  24. Racism in the gay community is far more rampant than many want to admit, and too many others are more than happy to let continue.

    For me, Derrick's comment was a Gay Black man's attempt to highlight the work of a wonderful African American woman for those (and YES there were far too many that did) who had racist thoughts over the actions of 2 other and less rational African American women earlier.

    I also don't think NOAH was trying to be an ass towards derrick. I think he misunderstood intent while later in his post pionting out some very valid tangents ... i.e. pat robertson's extremely ignorant schtick and the media not saying a peep... etc

    Correct me if I am wrong, but NOAH is also a Gay African American Male.

    The 2 of you have at least 3 things in common.

    Gay

    African American

    Male

    Now kiss and make peace :-)

    Posted by: Jimmyboyo | May 6, 2008 1:40:16 PM


  25. A beautiful, open-hearted woman. Let's hope she shall always be remembered.

    And still some people don't recognize how completely the words about her own marriage in 1958 apply to thousands of gay men and lesbians who want to marry not to make a political statement but because they are, simply, in love.

    RIP.

    Posted by: Ernie | May 6, 2008 1:46:15 PM


  26. 1 2 »

Post a comment







Trending


« «Austrian National Rugby Team are Fantastic Losers« «