Fifty years on from the historic decision that changed the lives and futures of families across America, Mildred and Richard Loving’s fight for equality is being remembered across Twitter.
“50 years ago today the Loving case was won,” one Twitter user wrote.
“A short 20 years later my parents were married. Happy #LovingDay. It made my family possible.”
“50 years ago today love prevailed,” another shared.
Loving Day, which takes place on June 12 each year, marks the 1967 Supreme Court decision to invalidate bans on interracial marriages across all 50 states and legalise the unions of those like Richard and Mildred Loving’s.
After years of knowing one another through a family friendship, an 18-year-old Mildred and a 24-year-old Richard were married in 1958. The pair held a small ceremony in Washington D.C, and weeks later, returned to their hometown in Virginia.
But within weeks, the newlyweds were arrested and forced to plead guilty to charges of “cohabiting as man and wife, against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth.”
The couple only avoided serving jail time by leaving their family, friends and home in Virginia behind.
But eventually, after nine years of fighting the legal system, the Loving’s had the laws abolished and were able to return to their home in Virginia and raise their three children, Donald, Peggy and Sidney.
Following the landmark decision, Richard told reporters, “For the first time, I could put my arm around her [Mildred] and publicly call her my wife.”
Of the decision being named Loving v. Virginia, Mildred said, “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.”
Among those sharing tributes to the memory of Mildred and Richard on Loving Day was Silicon Valley actor Kumail Nanjiani who wrote, “Today is #LovingDay, the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling that love is color blind. I am a personal beneficiary of this ruling.”
In 2016, the story of the Loving’s battle for equality was made into a major motion picture and starred Australian actor Joel Edgerton as Richard and Ruth Negga as Mildred.