In summer of 1967, my husband, Doug was eight-years old and I was six-years old. We lived fifteen miles a part in small cities in the Inland Empire. Doug is white and I am black. No one would have guessed that we would benefit from a Supreme Court ruling that took place that particular summer. In the case of Loving vs. Virginia, the Court ruled in favor of Mr. and Mrs. Loving. The Court declared that their interracial marriage was legal. Mr. Loving was white and Mrs. Loving was black. Up until then, the Lovings were committing a felony by living together as husband and wife. If the local courts followed through with their conviction, the Lovings could have served 25 years in prison.
Eighteen years later, Doug and I met in a classroom of a local Catholic High school not too far from where we both grew up. He had recently left the seminary where he was discerning a calling to the priesthood. I was starting a new position as the Campus Minster at the same high school. A quick friendship began between the two of us. As the school year progressed, we began dating in January and were engaged by June. We looked beyond the obvious pigmentation differences; we bonded over our common values of God, faith, family, service, and education. The love of baseball helped a lot, too.
By June of the next year, 20 years after the Loving decision, Doug and I were married, surrounded by 250 family and friends. I remember some of our guests telling us after the ceremony how they had never been to a celebration where white and blacks were in the same room and felt comfortable with each other. Someone actually called us pioneers. Over the years, I have seen and heard things that make me appreciate our married life together. As recent as last Sunday, we still get stares from people when we walk into a restaurant. But now, I contribute the stares to our two beautiful daughters.
We didn’t set ourselves out to be a political statement. Over the years, it has surprised me how many people in our community of family, work, and church, have come to us for advice and support. Good marriages are a source of life that can’t be taken for granted. Our values that bonded us together has started a new chapter for us. Doug was ordained as a Deacon in the Roman Catholic church two years ago.
Today, our nephew will be marrying his high-school sweetheart. They have taken all the good advice from families and friends to get to this point. It made my heart overflow when they asked their Uncle Doug to be a part of their wedding ceremony and bless their marriage.
So, I am ecstatic to learn that a movie about Mr. and Mrs. Loving will be released in November. Apparently, the movie premiere caused a nice buzz in Cannes this spring. There is a petition to actually recognize them with a national holiday. If you are interested in signing this petition, please do. The deadline for submission is June 29.
If you’re fortunate to have someone to share your life with, don’t take it for granted, just love the one you’re with!