June 12th marks the anniversary of the US Supreme Court’s 1967 decision in the civil rights case Loving v. Virginia. The case involved Virginia’s so-called Racial Integrity Act of 1924, which banned inter-racial marriages. In a unanimous decision, the Court held that distinctions drawn according to race were generally “odious to a free people” and were subject to “the most rigid scrutiny” under the Equal Protection Clause. The Court rejected the state’s argument that the statute was legitimate because it applied equally to both blacks and whites and found that racial classifications were not subject to a “rational purpose” test under the Fourteenth Amendment. The decision ended all race-based legal restrictions on marriage in the United States.
Legal Information Institute