Pam Spaulding

Mildred Loving of Loving v. Virginia passes away

Filed By Pam Spaulding | May 05, 2008 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Democrat primaries, Jim Neal, Kay Hagan, Loving v. Virginia, marriage equality, North Carolina

Those of us eagerly waiting for the day when same-sex marriage is finally legalized across the land owe a debt of gratitude to Mildred Loving, whose 1967 case (Loving v. Virginia) resulted in a landmark Supreme Court decision that broke down a major social and legal barrier - interracial marriage.

Mildred Loving, a black woman whose challenge to Virginia's ban on interracial marriage led to a landmark Supreme Court ruling striking down such laws nationwide, has died, her daughter said Monday.

Peggy Fortune said Loving, 68, died Friday at her home in rural Milford. She did not disclose the cause of death.

...Richard Loving died in 1975 in a car accident that also injured his wife.

In a rare interview with The Associated Press last June, Loving said she wasn't trying to change history -- she was just a girl who once fell in love with a boy.

"It wasn't my doing," Loving said. "It was God's work."

You'll recall that I asked U.S. Senate candidate Kay Hagan about Loving v. Virginia and the conundrum it presents when considering marriage equality for lesbian and gay couples:

During a Feb. 25 forum at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, you conveyed to attendees that the definition of marriage should be left up to state law. - How is that reconciled with 1967's Loving v. Virginia, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that invalidated state bans on interracial marriages? Should that have been left a state matter?

I never did receive a response to this specific question.

As you may also recall, neither Dem gubernatorial candidate (Moore, Perdue) bothered to respond in their live blogs to questions about a potential marriage amendment in this state, the legality of which will eventually end up before SCOTUS because of a patchwork of unequal laws, similar to the anti-miscegenation laws prior to 1967's ruling.

Recent Entries Filed under Politics:

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.

same sex marriages, like all other marriages between two consenting adults, MUST be recognized by all states and the federal government to fulfill the promise of equality. likewise, they need to be recognized internationally.

"Loving" is a poignant last name to have when the state challenges someone right to a relationship. In the 1960's, Virginia refused to recognize a marriage between Richard and Mildred Loving, leading ( 1967!) to a US Supreme Court case declaring unconstitutional state bans on interracial marriage. Mildred Loving died on Friday; her husband predeceased her by many years. The news today included many tributes to her and the historic case that bears her name.

The movement for marriage for same-sex couples has invoked the Lovings in the quest for marriage equality. And, frankly, opponents of same-sex marriage sound lame when they stretch to differentiate one type of vilified relationship from the other. Mildred Loving herself issued a statement of support for same-sex marriage last year. BUT, it's a good time to keep in mind another Loving ---Fondray Loving and his partner, Olivia Shelltrack, whose legal problems captured headlines two years ago. The couple had lived together for 13 years and had two children plus a third who was Olivia's from a prior relationship. This family constellation fell outside the zoning laws of Black Jack, Missouri; after the couple bought a home there, the city denied them an occupancy permit. The city relented only after the ACLU got involved.

While Mildred Loving's case was about being able to marry the person you love, Fondray Loving's case was about not being required to. Both principles are important.

(You can read this post with hyperlinks at

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | May 6, 2008 8:11 AM

Wow, no one has, as yet, mentioned Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings. Both native Virginians who certainly loved one another. When I visted Jefferson's Monticello years ago our guide made a point both of avoiding any discussion of Sally Hemmings while she concentrated on the boyhood friend of Thomas Jefferson, who died before the revolution, and who Thomas Jefferson chose to bury in the family plot. I would like to think that Thomas Jefferson also knew "that love that dared not speak it's name." True, he did have six children with his caucasian wife, but as we all know that proves nothing.