Primary Resource

Opinion of Judge Leon M. Bazile (January 22, 1965)

In this written judgment, dated January 22, 1965, Leon M. Bazile, judge of the Caroline County Circuit Court, refuses a motion on behalf of Richard and Mildred Loving to vacate their 1959 conviction for violating the state law that forbids interracial marriage. The Lovings eventually appealed their case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in their favor in 1967.

Transcription from Original

The parties were guilty of a most serious crime. As said by the Court in Kinney's Case 30 Gratt 865: "It was a marriage prohibited and declared absolutely void. It was contrary to the declared public law, founded upon motives of public policy—a public policy affirmed for more than a Century, and one upon which social order, public morality and the best interests of both races depend. This unmistakable policy of the legislature founded, I think, on wisdom and the moral development of both races, has been shown by not only declaring marriages between whites and negroes absolutely void, but by prohibiting and punishing such unnatural alliances with severe penalties. The laws enacted to further uphold this declared policy would be futile and a dead letter if in fraud of these salutary enactments, both races might, by stepping across any imaginary line bid defiance to the law by immediately returning and insisting that the marriage celebrated in another state or county should be recognized as lawful, though denounced by the public law of the domicile as unlawful and absolutely void."

Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his [arrangement] there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.

The awfulness of the offense is shown by Section 20–57 which declares: "All marriages between a white person and a colored person shall be absolutely void without any decree of divorce or other legal process.["]

Then section 20–59 of the Code makes the contracting of a marriage between a white person and any colored person a felony.

Conviction of a felony is a serious matter. You lose your political rights; and only the government has the power to restore them (Constitution

— page 10 —

Sec. 73.) And as long as you live you will be known as a felony

"The moving finger writes and moves on
and having writ
Nor all your piety nor all your wit
Can cange one line of it."

[Leon M. Bazile, Judge]