(RNN) - Counsel arguing against California's Proposition 8 at the Supreme Court cited the precedent of Loving v. Virginia, a civil rights case decided 46 years ago that legalized interracial marriage.
Mildred Loving, a black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man from Caroline County, VA, could not get married due to the state's anti-miscegenation laws.
The couple married in Washington but were arrested upon their return to Virginia for violating the state's Racial Integrity Act.
After pleading guilty, the couple relocated to Washington to avoid a year in jail. Their case eventually made its way to Virginia's Supreme Court in 1966, where the statute and the criminal convictions were upheld.
Mildred Loving contacted the ALCU, and lawyer Bernard Cohen took up the case. He argued Virginia's statue violated the Fourteenth Amendment, which prevents states from denying rights of any U.S. citizen, who are guaranteed "equal protection of the laws."
The Supreme Court overturned the Lovings' criminal convictions in a unanimous decision on June 12, 1967, agreeing the anti-miscegenation statute violated the Fourteenth Amendment.
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