Terri Givens was born in a time when a black person like herself dating a white person like her husband, Mike Scott, could have landed them both in jail. But 51 years ago today, on Jun. 12, the Supreme Court struck down anti-miscegenation laws, calling them unconstitutional, in the watershed 1967 decision of Loving v. Virginia, named for couple Richard and Mildred Loving. That opened the door to marriage freedom in interracial love (and paved the way for what would much later be the SCOTUS decision allowing same-sex marriage, in 2015).
On Tuesday, In honor of what’s been dubbed #LovingDay, thousands of mixed-race couples, including Givens and Scott, have been sharing their love stories on social media.
#LovingDay commemorates the anniversary of the 1967 United States Supreme Court decision Loving vs. Virginia “There can be no doubt that restricting the freedom to marry solely because of racial classifications violates the central meaning of the equal protection clause.” pic.twitter.com/FzXY9hxBXa
— Terri Givens says #Enough! (@TerriGivens) June 12, 2018
The two met at Stanford University as undergrad students in the late 1980s, becoming fast friends, and that led to more about five years after graduation. In 1995, they tied the knot. “We married with the full support of our families,” Givens says.
She shares with Yahoo Lifestyle the meaning of this special day for them. “I have two handsome boys who are a living symbol of our love, and the hope of the future,” she says. “I am glad that they will not have to worry about who they choose to marry, whether it be someone of a different color, background, or even gender.”
Givens adds, “The only barriers we have faced have been the occasional awkward looks, or for my husband, people asking if our boys belong to him. We have been lucky that most people we have met have been accepting of our relationship.” But she’s aware that this same luck is not met by every interracial couple. “I know it is often easier when a black woman is with a white man, and also, we are both well-educated professionals.”
Givens says there is still a lot of work to be done when it comes to true marriage equality. “We still have a long way to go in this country when it comes to racial barriers,” she says, “and I will continue to celebrate this day as a symbol of the need for ongoing change.”
— Cobra Chicken (@m_devries) June 12, 2018
Another couple marking this day are Shealagh Whittle and Michael de Vries, who met via social media four years ago. They officially started dating in 2016, and maintain a long-distance relationship that requires a lot of travel between Seattle and Ontario, Canada. They plan to marry in August.
Loving Day has a special meaning to them both, but what de Vries says he most admires is the strength and determination the Lovings had at the time.
I’m very lucky to have @shealaghsays in my life and we, as a couple, are lucky to have had brave couples come before who were willing to fight to make things better. #LovingDay pic.twitter.com/Zh4fcuRX1R
— Cobra Chicken (@m_devries) June 12, 2018
“Not just because it was the right thing and a just cause — it was very much those things — but also because, at the end of it, they just had to be together,” he says. “The seed of it all was that they simply needed to be together. And that’s what sustained them.”
De Vries also stresses that it’s important to talk about the importance of this day because, in truth, it wasn’t all that long ago. “It’s good and healthy and right to remember that these ideas and attitudes towards interracial couples and racism, in general, are still very much a part of life, even love and marriage,” he says.
The couple has been lucky enough to travel around Canada and the United States without incident, he says, although sometimes going through the world as an interracial couple has felt like “wearing traffic cones on our head.”
As he explains, “On our Thanksgiving trip to Atlanta, a very conscientious Uber driver kindly suggested we not leave the city limits for our own safety. Even within Atlanta, there were times when we could feel the eyes on us.”
California residents Heather and Fredrick Wilson, meanwhile, have been married for 12 years. They met in West Hollywood at a gas station. When Fredrick popped the question after some time, he did so at that same pump (No. 2) and Heather, of course, said yes. They’ve since had two kids.
“Loving Day is a huge day for us because of the strength and courage of the Lovings, Mildred, and Richard,” Heather tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Their fight for the right to be together as an interracial couple laid the foundation for so many of us to live our lives through color lines.”
She adds, “People should feel free to be who they are, love who they are, and love who the hell they choose, despite preconceived notions, judgments, and fear of others.”
We couldn’t agree more. Here’s to the Lovings — and love!
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