loving_day

Mildred Loving was the wife of a bricklayer. Richard and Mildred married in Washington DC and lived in Central Point, Virginia… where their particular marriage was unlawful. They were awakened in their bed in the middle of the night with the glare of flashlights turned on them by local authorities. The year was 1958. Mildred’s “crime” was she loved and married a white man. She was part black and part Indian

In 1963 she wrote in neat script on a piece of lined loose-leaf paper a letter to the A.C.L.U. for help. Their lives hung in stasis during long trials, until 1967 a ruling written by Chief Justice Earl Warren declared “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”

After the landmark ruling, the Lovings turned down all public appearances. Mildred never considered herself a hero. She lived out an ordinary life, happy marriage, 3 kids, a home near family. But Richard died young in a highway accident, killed on the spot. Mildred lost her left eye in the crash. She never remarried, never considered it.

Two years ago at the 40th anniversary of the ruling, Mildred was approached by “Faith in America”, a gay rights group. They were hoping she would make a statement in favor of gay marriage. “I just don’t know,” Loving told them at first. But she made a young friend with one of the interviewers, whose own mixed parentage opened an ongoing dialogue with Mildred for several months

Mildred talked about it with her friends and with her children. She confided not understanding why two people, black and white, two men, or two women who loved each other could not be married. In the end Loving did allow a statement in her name to be read supporting gay marriage at the commemoration of her marriage, which is now called “Loving Day” in the United States (June 12). Mildred died last year (2008).

Sadly true, but humanly persevering, there’s a lot of love hidden out there. So today is a day to believe in love. Tell those you love that you love them, and encourage everyone to do the same even if it doesn’t look like what your love looks like.

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