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Several of the nation's most prominent civil rights organizations have announced the launch of their "Freedom to Marry" campaign to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia. This historic Supreme Court case advanced racial equality and the freedom to marry in the United States.
The campaign will consist of six ads scheduled to run in Roll Call and The Politico during the month of June. They will feature pictures of well-known interracial couples such as former U.S. secretary of Defense William Cohen and his wife, Janet Langhart, and former Florida governor Jeb Bush and his wife, Columba, as examples of couples who could not marry in a large number of states before the 1967 Loving decision.
The Loving v. Virginia case stemmed from the arrest of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple, after their Washington, D.C., wedding. Under Virginia statutes restricting marriage between people of a different race, they were sentenced to one year in prison. The Lovings appealed their conviction all the way to the Supreme Court, who ruled on June 12, 1967, that their arrest was unconstitutional.
"The 'Freedom to Marry' campaign hails the Loving v. Virginia decision as a milestone in the fight for racial and marriage equality because it affirmed the freedom to marry as a 'basic civil right' of every American," the organizations explained in a press release. The campaign is backed by key civil rights organizations, such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the American Civil Liberties Union, as well as several LGBT groups, including Lambda Legal, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights. (The Advocate)