I’m sure by now you’ve all seen this adorable Cheerios commercial
I loved it and I’m sure plenty of other people did too, even though the YouTube clip got so much negative, racist commentary that comments had to be disabled. This blows my mind. My family looks a lot like the family in the commercial. My mother and my step-father are an interracial couple, as are my uncles and their wives. I was raised to believe that love made a family not race, or gender, or religious beliefs. To imagine that there are still so many people who think interracial marriage is wrong when it has in fact been legal for 46 years is truly mind-boggling to me. The 2008 census estimated that interracial couples account for 15% of American households. In response to the negative reaction to the commercial a family created a tumblr site call We are the 15%, where anyone who wants can submit a picture of their blended family. There are plenty of interracial couples in the public eye right now:
Kim and Kanye (did they really just name their baby North?)
Halle Berry and Olivier Martinez
Taye Diggs and Idina Menzel
I started thinking about the couple that paved the way for my family and all the others like ours. Richard and Mildred Loving. (Perfect last name, huh?) They were high school sweethearts from Virginia. When Mildred found out she was pregnant they decided to wed. They couldn’t marry in Virginia because of anti-miscegenation laws so they married in the District of Columbia and returned home. The Lovings were arrested after an anonymous tip led police to raid their home. They were sentenced to serve one year in jail, which would be suspended for 25 years if they left Virginia. Richard and Mildred were only allowed to return to visit family if they did so alone. With the help of Robert Kennedy, the US Attorney General at the time, their case eventually went to the Supreme Court. On June 12, 1967 the Supreme Court ruled anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional and interracial marriage became legal in all 50 states. Alabama was the last state to remove such laws from its constitution in 2000 by a ballot vote. Richard Loving was killed by a drunk driver in a car accident that left Mildred without vision in one eye in 1975. Mildred Loving died of pneumonia in 2008. They are survived by three children. There is a great Showtime movie about this story starring Timothy Hutton and Lela Rochon called Mr. and Mrs. Loving that came out in 1996.
Honey and I would still have been able to get married in Connecticut were it not for the Lovings, as anti-miscegenation laws were withdrawn prior to 1887 in our state. However, I’d like to give them some of the credit. As we inch closer this week to the Supreme Court ruling on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage I am constantly reminding myself that just 46 short years ago my marriage would not have been legal in all 50 states. I am fortunate that my love for my husband and my family is legally recognized and I hope that one day all marriages between two loving, consenting adults will be seen as the same in our country. We should take a minute to thank Richard and Mildred Loving for taking a big step in the right direction. I can only hope that 46 years from now, we’ll be looking back on a day when same-sex marriage wasn’t legal in all states and find that mind-boggling too.