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In the small town of Central Point, Virginia in early 1958, a girl 18 years of age got pregnant by a man she loved. While this would be a reason for celebration, she was black. A black woman, pregnant by a white man. In any other situation, this would have been a regular occurrence but the state of Virginia, the couple had committed a felony. In June 1958, to evade the Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act of 1924 which criminalized marriage between whites and non-whites, the two traveled to Washington, D.C. to get married. This only gave them temporary relief as upon return to their hometown, they were ambushed in the middle of the night, arrested and charged with “cohabiting as man and wife, against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth” (Wolfe, 2015).
The Judge allowed the suspension of their one year prison year sentence for the age of 25 only if the couple left the state of Virginia, effectively exiling them from their families and the rural life they were accustomed to. Five years of having to sneak while visiting families led Mildred to write to the Attorney General seeking help (Sheppard, 2012). It is in this background that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a motion for the Virginia trial court to set aside the sentence, arguing that the violated statutes ran counter to the Fourteenth Amendment which protects citizen rights and equal protection of the laws. Despite a lengthy process that entailed arguments that both the white and non-white partners were punished equally and therefore the sentence did not violate the equal protection of the laws. The verdict was overruled by the Supreme Court because Virginia’s anti-miscegenation statute went against not only the Due Process Clause but also the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.[“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]
Virginia’s anti-miscegenation laws which classified the mixing of races through marriage, cohabitation, and procreation as a felony that would attract a one to five-year prison sentence were racist because they had been enacted to allow white supremacy. No logical reason does not imply racial discrimination that would justify this law. The fact that the Law only prohibited interracial marriages involving white people makes it obvious that it was enacted to further the white supremacy agenda. The Supreme Court ruling set a precedent not only for other cases involving racial discrimination but also any other forms of discrimination which caused minorities to be denied equal rights as others, an example being In Obergefell v. Hodges, where the Loving case was cited severally in deciding the fate of same-sex marriage in Ohio.[Click Essay Writer to order your essay]
The right to marry is among the basic civil rights of man and is the basis of existence and survival of the human race, as it is mostly from marriage the human needs of companionship and procreation are fulfilled. The use of racial classification contained in the statutes of Virginia to deny the Loving this right was directly subversive of the equality principle that forms the foundation of the Fourteenth Amendment. The judgment passed on the Loving deprived them of liberty without due process of law. According to the Fourteenth Amendment, the freedom of choice of who to marry must not be curtailed by an individual’s race. The American constitution protects the freedom to marry or that not to marry a person of a different race as a personal choice which cannot be infringed upon by the state.[Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]
Buirski, N. (2015, April 15). Watch The Loving Story (2011) Full Movie Online Free | Tubi TV [Video file].
Sheppard, K. (2012, February 13). “The Loving Story”: How an Interracial Couple Changed a Nation | Mother Jones.
Wolfe, B. (2015, November 4). Racial Integrity Laws (1924–1930).