Thursday, July 14, 2016

Loving Day

Some people are trying to make June 12 a national day of commemoration called Loving Day.  I think it's a good idea, and of course I like the idea of saluting our great freedom to marry whom we want, and one other fact...

I am crazy about the wry twist of fate that the people involved in a Supreme Court case, about the right to marry the people you love, were named Loving.  I mean, it would be almost that cool if baseball immortal Darryl Strawberry started the first strawberry farm, or the sandwich had been invented by the Earl of Sandwich.  

Oh wait.  It was.

The Loving Family
But, to the point, in 1958, in the state of Virginia, in the freedom of the United States of America, a couple of young people fell in love.  They were not allowed to get married in that state, because he, Richard Loving, was white and she, Mildred Jeter, was black.

They eloped to Washington, D.C. and got hitched there, since it was legal in the nation's capital, and then came back to their home state, only to be arrested at 2 AM for the crime of being in love and married because of that.

This was during my lifetime, that two people were told by some redneck judge that their marriage was a crime.  That distinguished man of the law, hizzoner Leon Bazile, of the Caroline County Circuit Court, made the following statement from his bench:  

"Almighty God created the races, white, black, yellow, Malay, and red and 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 the races to mix."
Judge Bazile
as he ordered them to leave the state for 25 years. I can hear him now, banging on his gavel, spitting tobacco juice into a brass spittoon, pulling on his hood...

Well, Richard and Mildred Loving left Virginia, all right, but for some reason they wanted to return, so from their temporary home back in D.C. they sued, and it wasn't until June 12, 1967, that the US Supreme Court ruled that it was ok for people of different races to be married.  

Mr Loving died in a car crash in 1975, but Mrs Loving survives, and I think it would be nice if she felt some appreciation for her bravery. She lives privately now, but told the Washington Post in 1992, "Since the older generation is dying, the younger ones . . . realize that if someone loves someone they have a right to marry."

Uh yeah! Still stunned to think that it took Supreme Court action during my lifetime to say so!

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