Press

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force mourns death of Mildred Loving

Date: 
May 07, 2008

MEDIA CONTACT:
Roberta Sklar, Communications Director
(Office) 646.358.1465
(Cell) 917.704.6358
rsklar@theTaskForce.org

WASHINGTON, May 7 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force mourns the death of Mildred Loving, whose challenge to Virginia's ban on interracial marriage led to the landmark 1967 Supreme Court ruling striking down such laws nationwide. Loving died May 2 at the age of 68.

Loving issued a statement last year on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Loving v. Virginia decision, in which she wrote: “I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others.”

Statement by Rea Carey, Acting Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

“The Task Force mourns the death of Mildred Loving, a woman who never asked to be in the spotlight, but who courageously stepped forth in the face of overwhelming injustice to help right an egregious wrong.

“Mrs. Loving and her husband, Richard, did so despite enormous personal sacrifice — they were arrested, convicted and exiled from their home state of Virginia because she was black, he was white, and their marriage was prohibited by law.

“With tremendous strength and grace, the Lovings challenged the immorality of anti-miscegenation laws that sought to deprive Americans of one of the most personal decisions they would ever make: whom to marry. In doing so, the Lovings altered history for the better.

“Even in her later years, Mrs. Loving continued to speak for marriage equality, stating that ‘all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry.’ We are deeply saddened by her passing. Our community has lost a courageous ally.”

–30–

The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the grassroots power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. We do this by training activists, equipping state and local organizations with the skills needed to organize broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.