Loving v. Virginia

From wikilawschool.net. Wiki Law School does not provide legal advice. For educational purposes only.
Loving v. Virginia
Court Supreme Court of the United States
Date decided June 12, 1967
Appealed from Virginia Supreme Court
Overturned Pace v. Alabama
Related Obergefell v. Hodges
United States v. Windsor
Cited by
Obergefell v. Hodges


In the summer of 1958, police officers arrested an interracial couple in their bedroom in Virginia. Next, they were imprisoned in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The Lovings had married in Washington DC where interracial marriage was legal in the 1950s. However, in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Lovings had violated the Racial Integrity Act of 1924.

Even in the 1950s, most states didn't ban interracial marriages. In 1966, nonetheless, 16 states--chiefly in the South--banned interracial marriages.

Procedural History

The Lovings pled guilty in the state court. The Lovings were banished from the Commonwealth of Virginia for 25 years.

The Lovings file a motion to vacate their convictions; they lose in the Virginia Supreme Court.


Can a state law prohibit marriage of different races without violating the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection clause?


Those states that banned interracial marriage in the 1950s were in violation of the Equal Protection clause & the Due Process clause.

Earl Warren wrote the unanimous opinion.


SCOTUS justices concluded that the Virginia law was intended to further white supremacy. The law only penalized marriage to a white person. The law didn't penalize the marriage between a black Jamaican man and East Indian woman, for example.