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Case Digest on Loving v. Virginia

Individuals have the fundamental right to marry whomever they choose, regardless of their racial backgrounds. Any restriction based on race are inherently discriminatory and unconstitutional.

This is the doctrine established in the U.S. landmark case of Loving v. Virginia in 1967. Check out this two-minute case digest by Audio Law Reader.🎧📚



Mildred Jeter, a woman of African American and Native American descent, and Richard Loving, a white man, were childhood sweethearts who grew up in Virginia. In 1958, they got married in Washington, D.C. where interracial marriages were legal.

Shortly after their marriage, the Lovings returned to Virginia and were charged with violating Virginia's Racial Integrity Act of 1924, which criminalized interracial marriages and relationships.

The Lovings were arrested, and they pleaded guilty to the charges. They were subsequently sentenced to one year in prison; however, the trial judge suspended the sentence on the condition that they leave Virginia and not return together for 25 years.

The Lovings moved to Washington, D.C., but wanted to return to their home state of Virginia. Hence, they sought legal assistance with their concerns, and their lawyers took the case to the federal courts, arguing that Virginia's anti-miscegenation laws violated the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.


Whether Virginia's anti-miscegenation laws, which made interracial marriages illegal, violated the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause and Due Process Clause


Yes, the Court ruled that Virginia's Racial Integrity Act of 1924 violated both the Equal Protection Clause and the Due Process Clause as it denied the Lovings their basic civil rights. It emphasized that marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," that is protected by both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The Court held that racial classifications are subject to strict scrutiny; meaning they had to serve a compelling state interest to be upheld. Virginia's anti-miscegenation laws were not rooted in any legitimate state interest but were rather primarily designed to maintain white supremacy and racial segregation, which are a clear manifestation of racial prejudice and discrimination.

Thus, the Court struck down the anti-miscegenation laws not only in Virginia but also in 15 other states where such laws existed.


The ruling of Loving v. Virginia invalidated laws that had been used to criminalize interracial marriages across the United States.

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