Literature Study GuidesLoving V Virginia

Loving v. Virginia | Study Guide

United States Supreme Court

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Course Hero. "Loving v. Virginia Study Guide." Course Hero. 5 Nov. 2018. Web. 4 June 2020. <>.

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United States Supreme Court

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U.S. Supreme Court Case

At a Glance

  • Until the late 1960s, Virginia and many other states had laws that forbade interracial marriage. Virginia's law was known as the Racial Integrity Act of 1924.
  • In 1958 Richard Loving (1933–75), a white man, and Mildred Jeter (1939–2008), an African American woman with Native American ancestry, got married in Washington, DC. When they returned to their home in Virginia, they were arrested. They pleaded guilty but appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Justice Earl Warren (1891–1974) wrote the unanimous opinion overturning the Lovings' conviction. Warren held that Virginia's law violated the protections afforded in the 14th Amendment by the equal protection and due process clauses. He declared marriage an essential right and condemned laws that criminalized behavior based on race. Justice Potter Stewart (1915–85) wrote a concurring opinion.
  • Reaction to Loving v. Virginia at the time was positive.
  • A landmark Supreme Court case, Loving v. Virginia clarified the constitutional protections surrounding marriage. It paved the way for allowing other marginalized groups to marry. In 2015, for example, Obergefell v. Hodges used the same 14th Amendment argument to secure rights for same-sex marriage.


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