Jeter (black) and Loving (white) were married in DC and then moved back to VA.
There, a grand jury indicted them for violating VA's ban on interracial marriages.
Ds pleaded guilty, were sentenced to 1 year in jail; trial judge suspended the sentence for 25 years on the condition that the Lovings leave VA and not return for 25 years.
Lovings moved to DC, moved to vacate the judgment as violating the 14th Amendment.
VA Supreme Court of Appeals affirmed conviction.
SCOTUS reversed, vacated conviction.
Does the VA law that prevents marriages between people solely on the basis of racial classifications violate the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the 14th Amendment?
The anti-interracial marriage law in VA violates the 14th Amendment and is unconstitutional.
The State Supreme Court of Appeals concluded that the legitimate purposes of the law were "to preserve the racial integrity of its citizens", to prevent the "corruption of blood" and a "mongrel breed of citizens."
The mere equal application of a statute containing racial classifications is not enough to avoid 14th Amendment scrutiny.
There is no question that the law rests solely upon distinctions drawn according to race.
Over the years, the Court has consistently repudiated distinctions between citizens solely because of their ancestry as being odious to a free people whose institutions are founded upon the doctrine of equality.
Strict scrutiny must be used in such facially discriminatory laws regarding race even though it applies equally to blacks and whites.
There is no overriding purpose independent of invidious racial discrimination which justifies this classification.