National Loving Day is on June 12, and the name for this day is an interesting one. The holiday is, of course, about spreading love but, ironically, it also references the names of Mildred and Richard Loving, who fought against the laws confining them and everyone else from marrying interracially.
When is National Loving Day 2023?
Love is celebrated beyond race and color on National Loving Day on June 12.
History of National Loving Day
‘The freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual, and cannot be infringed by the state.’
It is hard to imagine now that there was a time when this statement wasn’t true. The opposite of this was the reality in America. Every June 12, we honor the United States Supreme Court’s 1967 decision to strike down laws in several states that banned interracial marriage. The decision was sparked by Loving v. Virginia, a court case involving Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple from Virginia who married in 1958.
Mildred and Richard started off as childhood friends and, over the years, their friendship developed into love. On her 18th birthday, in 1958, Mildred was married to Richard in Washington, after which the couple returned to their hometown. Two weeks later, they were arrested by authorities. The two were unaware that the state where they resided considered interracial marriage to be illegal. Pleading guilty, the Lovings agreed to leave Virginia.
After moving to Washington D.C., the couple pursued legal action by writing a plea to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. The case was forwarded to the American Civil Liberties Union and, eventually, the ruling was in the Lovings’ favor. Richard and Mildred returned to their home in Virginia, where they settled with their three children. The couple fought back against the laws that forbid their partnership and ultimately won the right to marry. Richard and Mildred’s determination changed the lives of millions of Americans and shaped the future of relationships in the country.
From June 12, 1967, onward, Americans were no longer prohibited from marrying someone they loved solely because they were of different races. At the time of the Supreme Court’s decision, 16 U.S. states still forbade interracial marriage, so the ruling was a necessary game-changer. The holiday was not created until decades after the decision, in 2004. It was launched by Ken Tanabe, who grew up in an interracial family with a Japanese father and a Belgian mother. He launched the holiday in hopes that the day of celebration would bring together multiethnic families from around the world.
‘There can be no doubt that restricting the freedom to marry solely because of racial classifications violates the central meaning of the equal protection clause.’
National Loving Day timeline
Mildred and Richard Loving get married.
A court ruling by the Supreme Court is passed, making it illegal for any state to enforce laws that prevent interracial marriage.
Belonging to a mixed-race family, Ken Tanabe got inspired by the Lovings to create National Loving Day.
A film based on the Loving v. Virginia case is produced, titled “Loving.”
Traditions of the Day
National Loving Day is all about celebrating love beyond boundaries. The Lovings set a precedent, and have been a symbol of love against all odds for many. Their love story is cherished, with interracial married couples sharing their stories online as an inspiration to others.
Messages on love and intermarriages are encouraged and shared online, and support is extended to people from different ethnicities who wish to marry someone who doesn’t share the same background as them. Watching movies centered around love stories between people from different backgrounds are watched on this day, and discussions on the topic of intermarriage are held on various social media platforms.
By The Numbers
3% – the percentage of newlyweds who intermarried in 1967.
17% – the percentage of all U.S. newlyweds who had a spouse of a different race or ethnicity in 2015.
11 million – the number of people who intermarried in 2015.
3-in-10 – the number of Asian newlyweds who intermarried in the United States in 2015.
27% – the percentage of Hispanic newlyweds who intermarried in the United States in 2015.
¼ – the number of recently married black men who had a spouse of a different race or ethnicity in 2015.
36% – the percentage of newlywed Asian women who had a spouse of a different race or ethnicity in 2015.
39% – the percentage of adults who said that marrying someone of a different race is good for society, according to a survey conducted in February 2017.
National Loving Day FAQs
Are Mildred and Richard Loving still married?
Mildred and Richard Loving got married on June 2, 1958. The couple is deceased now.
What year was Loving versus the state of Virginia?
In 1967, the Supreme Court ruled a 9-0 decision in favor of striking down anti-miscegenation laws that forbade the legal union between people of different races.
When did Mildred Loving get married?
Mildred Loving married Richard Loving on June 2, 1958.
National Loving Day Activities
Host a barbecue
National Loving Day is often celebrated with backyard barbecues. Invite your family and friends over for great food and a celebration of love. Early June is the perfect time for a summer gathering, and what better reason than to honor a holiday that’s all about love?
Attend a festival
Many communities mark National Loving Day with joyful festivals and city-wide celebrations. New York City hosts the holiday’s flagship celebration each year, and other communities also host parties and gatherings. Find one near you at LovingDay.org, or consider hosting your own!
Watch a film inspired by the holiday
National Loving Day inspired the film Loving, a cinematic tribute to the couple that started it all. The movie, which was released in 2016, follows the story of Richard and Mildred Loving’s arrest, legal battle, and ultimate Supreme Court victory nine years later. The film was nominated for an Oscar and received widespread critical praise. If documentaries are more your style, press play on The Loving Story, a 2012 HBO film that shares little-known details of the couple’s journey. Kicking back on the couch with one of these films is a great way to reflect on the struggles that went into securing rights for couples of all races.
5 Facts About Mixed-Race Relationships
They are very common
Interracial relationships are becoming increasingly common — this may not be the ultimate solution to racism, but it sure does bridge the gap between ethnicities.
Younger people are more up for it
There is little research on the topic, but college students are more likely to date someone with a different background or of a different race.
Love-struck for mixed relations
People who have previously been in one interracial relationship are more likely to get involved in another.
There is judgment
Unfortunately, interracial relationships still elicit stares and judgment from strangers.
Interracial relationships are fun
One of the best things about being in an interracial relationship is the exposure both people get to different cultures, languages, and traditions.
Why We Love National Loving Day
It celebrates love in all forms
National Loving Day is a great opportunity to acknowledge the fact that love does not discriminate, and that millions of families throughout the U.S. and around the world consist of multiple races and ethnicities. Love is love — and what’s more beautiful than that?
It honors the Loving couple’s bravery
Richard and Mildred Loving’s bold choice to fight for their rights created a better future for so many of their fellow Americans. Had the Supreme Court not ruled in their favor, millions of happy families that consist of more than one race may not exist today. The freedom to marry whomever we love was granted far more recently than most of us realize, and it’s important to protect that right in any way we can. National Loving Day is a great reminder to appreciate our current liberties and to ensure our rights are always recognized.
It spreads awareness
National Loving Day is a great cue to ditch discrimination and treat all families and couples with the respect they deserve. It’s also a reminder that race is not what matters in a happy relationship — what’s important is that a couple is happy and compatible.
National Loving Day dates