In marrying, the couple violated Virginia's Racial Integrity Act.After they were ordered to leave the state, Mildred wrote to then-Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who suggested she contact the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
When the sheriff demanded to know who Mildred was to Richard, she offered up the answer: "I'm his wife." When Richard gestured to the couple's marriage certificate hanging on the wall, the sheriff coldly stated the document held no power in their locale.
Virginia law in fact forbade black and white citizens from marrying outside of the state and then returning to live within the state.
If I had to go back and do something different, I would do something about that.
It was the first time Mr Phillips is thought publicly to have criticised the ban on mixed-race adoptions, although critics of the system have long held that adoption was the last area of public life in Britain in which authorities were prepared to support open racial discrimination.
The Civil Rights Movement was blossoming into real change in America and, upon advice from her cousin, Mildred wrote Attorney General Robert Kennedy to ask for his assistance. Hirschkop unsuccessfully aimed to have the case vacated and the original ruling reversed via the judge who oversaw the conviction.
Kennedy wrote back and referred the Lovings to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which accepted the couple’s case. "Almighty God created the races, white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents," presiding Judge Leon M. “And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages.
Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote the opinion for the court, stating marriage is a basic civil right and to deny this right on a basis of race is “directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment” and deprives all citizens “liberty without due process of law.”Richard and Mildred were able to openly live in Caroline County again, where they built a home and raised their children.
Tragically, Richard was killed in an automobile accident in 1975, when his car was struck by another vehicle operated by a drunk driver.
The commonwealth of Virginia asserted that its ban on interracial marriages were in place to avoid a host of resulting sociological ills, and that the law was not in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The Lovings' legal team argued that the state law ran counter to the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because it forbade interracial couples to marry solely on the basis of their race.
The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix." Cohen and Hirschkop took the Lovings' case to the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.