LOVE CONQUERS ALL
But the attention would come, and it would change the course of American history. In 1958 the couple were jolted out of their bed in the middle of the night and arrested by local Virginia police. Their crime: Violating the Racial Integrity Act of 1924, which forbid interracial marriage. Although the Lovings were legally married in Washington D.C., the state of Virginia, which the couple made their home in, was one of more than 20 states that made marriage between the races a crime.
A local judge allowed the Lovings to flee the state to avoid prison time. The couple decidedly moved to D.C., just two hours away from Virginia, but for the two of them, their whole world — along with their family and friends — was wrapped up in their tiny farming community of Central Point, Virginia. They were simple people who wanted to live a simple life, and they were determined to go back home. After living the next five years in exile and raising their three children, Mildred found an opening.
The historic ruling led to the overturning of similar statutes in more than a dozen states and ultimately marked the end of segregation laws in America. But for the Lovings, the ruling was simply the freedom to go home and to continue on with their lives, this time, loving without fear.
Although Richard died in 1975 following a car accident, Mildred was able to live long enough to offer her support for gay marriage. On the 40th anniversary of the Lovings' landmark case and a year before her death in 2008, she said in a public 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.”
Clancy's comment: Good on them. Everyone deserves a slice of happiness ... Especially kids.