Loving vs. Virginia

Topics: Marriage, Miscegenation, Loving v. Virginia Pages: 7 (2600 words) Published: December 4, 2012
Loving V Virginia

Every human should be granted basic civil rights. The constitution itself claims we as American citizens are granted “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” but does the government always allow us these civil liberties? Life, yes we are all granted the right to be alive, but liberty and true pursuit of happiness maybe not as much. Webster defines Liberty as “The state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one's way of life”. Our nation has failed to provide the freedom of liberty to many. Prior to 1967, the privilege to marry outside of one’s own race was unheard of in the United States. This may seem a bit outlandish considering the many freedoms granted to us today, but these freedoms were not easy to obtain. Now we are well aware that the color of someone’s skin should not influence how they are treated and who they should marry. A person does not decide who they love and they cannot control how they feel towards someone based exclusively on race. The unjust laws banning interracial marriage were defeated by the Supreme Court case Loving V Virginia and people were free to love as they wished. Anti-miscegenation laws first came about in North America around the late 17th century. The term miscegenation means any person of a different race marrying or having a sexual relationship with a white person. Miscegenation relates closely to the word exogamy, a term used to describe people who marry someone that is from outside of their community or tribe. One of the laws put into action to discourage the act of miscegenation was The Racial Integrity Act of 1924 which stated that every person is required to have a full racial description report when they were born. There were only two groups that a child could be placed in: white people and colored people. The law made it clear that it was illegal for these two races to marry. In fact in one court case: Kirby V Kirby Mr. Kirby claimed his marriage was invalid because his wife was in fact part African American. The court made their decision that his wife was black and his marriage was void based on observations they made on her features and comparing them to an African Americans features. When these racial description reports were being created they followed the "one-drop rule". This rule meant that any human being with a drop of black blood was ruled African American (White, 2012). It did not matter if the child was almost completely white if there was any black blood in him or her it was determined they were African American. This separation of races in the union of marriage lasted for a great deal of time in our nation’s history, however, a brave couple helped to change this dated law. The case that helped all marriages or relationships of mixed races was the Loving v. Virginia case. Richard and Mildred Loving met in Caroline County, Virginia. Mildred was an African American women and Richard was a Caucasian man that loved each other and wanted to be free to participate in this love. The couple had been dating for a couple of years when Mildred became pregnant with Richard’s child at the age of 18. This pregnancy prompted the couple to decide to get married. The Loving’s got married on June 2nd, 1958 in Washington, D.C, where it was legal for interracial marriages. However, when the married couple returned back to their home in Virginia they were both arrested and charged under the Racial Integrity Act of 1924 and unlawful cohabitation. There trial was held in the Caroline County Circuit Court on January 6, 1959 at which The Loving’s pleaded guilty on their charges. Their sentence handed down from Judge Leon M. Bazile was one to three years in prison or they were not allowed to return to the state of Virginia for 25 years. The couple decides that they would move to D.C. Judge Leon Bazile concluded their trial by saying: Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay, and red and placed them...
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