Loving Day

Christopher Shay, Time, June 11, 2010

In February 1961, Barack Obama’s parents did something that was illegal in 22 states and that 96% of the population disapproved of: they got married. In fact, interracial marriage, sex and cohabitation would remain illegal in much of the U.S. for another six years. Then on June 12, 1967, in the case Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court unanimously struck down the country’s anti-miscegenation laws, allowing interracial couples across the country to marry. Thirteen years after Brown v. Board of Education, the court took the last legal teeth out of the Jim Crow era, ridding the U.S. of its last major piece of state-sanctioned segregation. June 12 has since become a grass-roots holiday in the U.S., especially for multiracial couples and families. Known as Loving Day, the celebration commemorates the 1967 case and fights prejudice against mixed-race couples, and is a reason to throw an awesome, inclusive party.

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{snip} As late as 1987, a full 20 years after the case, only 48% of Americans said it was acceptable for blacks and whites to date. That number has since jumped to 83%, according to the Pew Research Center. In 2010, the center estimated that 1 in 7 new marriages in the U.S. is now an interracial coupling. In 1961, the year Obama’s parents married, only 1 in a 1,000 marriages included a black person and a white person; today, it’s 1 in 60.

The idea for Loving Day came from one person, Ken Tanabe. In 2004, while a student at Parsons the New School for Design, Tanabe created Loving Day as part of his senior thesis. Growing up, he had never heard of the Lovings, and as a person of mixed-race heritage, he wanted that to change. He created a website to educate people about the history of mixed-race marriages and encouraged people to host their own Loving Day gatherings to create an annual tradition for the mixed-race community. In 2004, there were two large public celebrations–one in New York City and one in Seattle. Now Loving Day is the biggest multiracial celebration in the U.S., with public events in most large cities across the country. {snip}


Interracial marriage in Ohio, once punishable by imprisonment and fines, has tripled since 1980, reflecting a national trend.

The percentage of marriages between spouses of different races is at an all time high, according to a new study released by the Pew Research Center. About one in seven marriages in the country is now interracial or interethnic.

Ohio is below the 14.6 percent national average. The intermarriage rate in the Buckeye State was 3 percent for new marriages in 1980, 9 percent in 2008.

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When people were asked how they felt about a relative marrying outside of their race, depending upon their race, about 80 percent of those in their 20s said it would be “fine,” while only one-third of whites older than 65 said they would find it acceptable.

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