25 November 2009

The Loving Story

Thrown into rat-invested jails and exiled from their hometown for 25 years, the Lovings fought back and changed history.

Using rare archival footage, home movies, photographs, interviews with witnesses, friends and family, and poetic visual and narrative sequences, the documentary builds a complex portrait of the couple at the heart of marriage equality in this country -- how the changes their now-famous bravery and the anti-miscegenation case argued in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1967 have influenced our definition of community and family in modern America.

But the movie, due to be released in 2010, intends to do more: to look at how the story itself as it has mutated over the years, with the understanding that history is only as reliable as those who tell it.

Mildred Delores Jeter Loving and her husband Richard Perry Loving lived in Virginia, where interracial marriage was banned by the Racial Integrity Act of 1924. When Mildred was 18 she became pregnant, and the couple decided travel to Washington D.C. (importantly, out of Virginia) to get married.

In 2007, on the 40th anniversary of the unanimous Supreme Court Decision, Mildred issued a statement which concluded:

My generation was bitterly divided over something that should have been so clear and right. The majority believed that what the judge said, that it was God's plan to keep people apart, and that government should discriminate against people in love. But I have lived long enough now to see big changes. The older generation's fears and prejudices have given way, and today's young people realize that if someone loves someone, they have a right to marry.

Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the 'wrong kind of person' for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people's civil rights.

I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard's and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight, seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.

To learn more about the annual celebration of the anniversary, visit: www.lovingday.org, but bear in mind there are events year round, not just on June 12.