Loving v. Virginia was a Supreme Court case that struck down state laws banning interracial marriage in the United States. The plaintiffs in the case were Richard and Mildred Loving, a white man and black woman whose marriage was deemed illegal according to Virginia state law. The Loving case was a challenge to centuries of American laws banning miscegenation, i.
Loving v. Virginia
Loving v. Virginia | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute
Loving v. Virginia , legal case, decided on June 12, , in which the U. Supreme Court unanimously 9—0 struck down state antimiscegenation statutes in Virginia as unconstitutional under the equal protection and due process clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. The judge sentenced the Lovings to one year in jail but suspended the sentence on the condition that the couple leave the state immediately and not return as man and wife for a period of 25 years. Having established residence in Washington, D.
Skip to Main Content - Keyboard Accessible
Jump to navigation. Virginia's statutory scheme to prevent marriages between persons solely on the basis of racial classifications held to violate the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. This case presents a constitutional question never addressed by this Court: whether a statutory scheme adopted by the State of Virginia to prevent marriages between persons solely on the basis of racial classifications violates the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. Shortly after their marriage, the Lovings returned to Virginia and established their marital abode in Caroline County. At the October Term, , of the Circuit Court [p3] of Caroline County, a grand jury issued an indictment charging the Lovings with violating Virginia's ban on interracial marriages.
Justice Warren did not accept Virginia's argument that placing equal penalties on spouses of each race made the law non-discriminatory. He pointed out that the law did not criminalize marriage between persons of two non-white races, which suggested that it had a white supremacist motivation. There was no other legitimate purpose that could justify this law or any others like it, Warren held, since it infringed upon the fundamental right of marriage. Largely echoing Warren's reasoning, Stewart simply wrote an additional opinion as a reminder that he had advocated striking down anti-miscegenation laws in an earlier opnion from the case of McLaughlin v.