Virgina Ban on Interracial Marriages Goes to Federal Court This Week

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, United States, Virginia on 2013-10-23 23:13Z by Steven

Virginia Ban on Interracial Marriages Goes to Federal Court This Week

The New York Times
page 43

RICHMOND, Jan. 23—A constitutional test of Virginia laws that make it a crime for a white person to marry a Negro will begin here next week. The case is regarded as certain to go to the United States Supreme Court and may become a landmark. Eighteen other states have similar laws that would be affected by a Supreme Court decision in the Virginia case.

In a unanimous opinion last month, the Court struck down a Florida statute punishing extramarital cohabitation by whites and Negroes. It avoided a ruling on state laws against interracial marriage, but the decision raised new doubts about the continuing validity of such laws.

Knew About Law

On Wednesday, lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union will argue before a three-judge Federal court here that the state’s enforcement of Virginia’s antimiscegenation laws has grossly violated the constitutional rights of Mr. and Mrs. Richard P. Loving, both life-long residents of Virginia.

Mr. Loving, 31 years old, is a big, silent construction worker. He is white. His wife, Mildred, 25, is colored—part Indian and part Negro. Both had spent their lives in Caroline County, just south of Fredericksburg, until January, 1959, when they were banished from the state by County Circuit Judge Leon M. Bazile. They moved to Washington with their three children. Aware of the Virginia law, they had been married in Washington on June 2, 1958.

The charge brought against them five weeks after their marriage was violation of Title 20, Sections 53 and 59 of the Virginia Code:

“If any white person and colored person shall go out of this state for the purpose of being married and with the intention of returning … they shall be punished — by confinement in the penitentiary for not less than one nor more than five years.”

Other sections of the code provide for the annulment of interracial marriages “without any decree of divorce” and for a fine of $200 for performing an interracial marriage ceremony, “of which the informer shall have one-half.”…

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