City of New York
WHEREAS: Loving v. Virginia was a landmark Supreme Court case that advanced our entire nation along the journey to equality and justice, but it was also the story of a real couple. Mildred Jeter, a black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man,fell in love and in June 1958, they married. Although the newlyweds were residents of Virginia, they married in Washington, D.C. because their home state had a criminal statute that prohibited interracial marriages between a white person and a person of color in addition to a statutory provision that rendered all such marriages void under the law. Shortly after
they returned home to begin their life together, the police awakened them in their bedroom, then took them to jail for the crime of being married; and
WHEREAS: Mr. and Mrs. Loving received a grand jury indictment to which they pleaded guilty and were each sentenced to one year in prison. Their sentences were stayed upon the condition that they left the state of Virginia, never to return. The Lovings moved to the District of Columbia, but continued to face discrimination at nearly every turn. Later, in desperation, Mildred sent a letter to Robert F. Kennedy, Attorney General of the United States. With the support of the ACLU, the Lovings' court case went through many levels of the justice system and eventually appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court which, on June 12, 1967, decided unanimously in their favor; and
WHEREAS: The Lovings' case not only won them their freedom to love, but it also granted the same freedom to every interracial couple in every state in America. At the time of the Loving decision, 16 states had laws banning interracial couples. Loving v. Virginia (1967) made it illegal for these states to enforce those laws. Such laws did not only apply to black people and white people; many states also restricted relationships with Asians, Native Americans, Hispanics, and other ethnic groups; and
WHEREAS: The Supreme Court forever changed history when it stated that "Marriage is one of the 'basic civil rights of man, 'fundamental to our very existence and survival. To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State"; and
WHEREAS: Today, people around the world reaffirm the importance of the Loving case through Loving Day, a global network of annual celebrations and educational campaigns. Now, decades since the Lovings won their case, Americans continue to look to them for inspiration while pursuing same-sex marriage victories in every state. The Loving v. Virginia decision reaffirmed that we are a nation where no one is denied basic rights, and where all of us are free to live and love as we choose; and
WHEREAS: The volunteer-run Loving Day project commemorates the anniversary of Loving v. Virginia and strengthens the bonds that build families and communities; now, therefore
BE IT KNOWN: That I, Daniel Garodnick, Council Member of the 4th District, am proud to honor
for fostering greater harmony outstanding service and contributions to the community.
Signed this 14th day of June in the year Twenty Fourteen.
Daniel R. Garodnick
Council Member, 4th District