The fight for marriage equality has been both a legal and cultural struggle. While Richard and Mildred Loving battled racist laws in court, writers, singers and filmmakers worked to change hearts and minds. That daily conflict was recorded in the pages of Variety for decades. Here is the story of how one brave couple’s heroism and the creative determination of America’s artists mirrored each other and how they continue today.

A Crusade Driven by True Love

Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter grew up in a culture where interracial love was considered scandalous and casual racism was common — especially in Hollywood movies. Yet as the couple began their romance, filmmakers were questioning the old taboos.

Tackling a Destructive Taboo

By marrying, Richard and Mildred Loving were flouting the laws of their native Virginia. They showed more courage than the Hollywood studio chiefs of their era, who were slow and reluctant when it came to depicting interracial love and sex.

A Cultural Tide Begins To Turn

The Lovings didn't set out to be Civil Rights activists, but the movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. helped their court challenge to anti-miscegenation laws. Meanwhile, a shift in studio films helped soften American hearts.

Loving Case Breaks the Barriers

The Supreme Court's Loving v Virginia decision smashed the barriers keeping interracial couples apart. A few months later, Old Hollywood put its stamp of approval on the idea with "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner."

The Fight For Love Continues

The Loving decision was often cited in the fight to expand marriage rights to same-sex couples. But with a new political wind blowing through Washington, could the advances in marriage rights — and civil rights — now be in danger?

Loving Trailer