Mildred and Richard Loving did not set out to make history or become civil rights activists. They simply wanted something very basic: to love one another, to marry, and to live together. Last June, during the 40th anniversary marking Loving v. Virginia, Mildred Loving issued a rare public statement (she stopped granting interviews in the last years of her life)--in the last paragraph, Loving links the Supreme Court decision not only to anti-miscegenation or anti-inter-racial unions, but to a legacy that also includes or should include supporting queer unions:
"I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard's and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That's what Loving, and loving, are all about."
For more on Mildred Loving's 40th anniversary statement and some astute analysis about the legacy of Loving v. Virginia, both in terms of the long history of inter-racial unions and anti-miscegenation laws as well as the links to current queer rights struggles for gay marriage, go to this excellent blog post from a year ago at "Slaves of Academe." For the New York Times obituary, click here.