Movies to Watch on Loving Day: June 12

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Loving Day, which is celebrated June 12, has an element to it that seems like a typical joke on “The Simpsons.” Loving Day commemorates the 1967 Supreme Court decision striking down laws against miscegenation. In other words, Loving Day is an observance of legal justification of being allowed to love who you want, regardless of race.

The Simpsons-style joke here is that the last name of the couple at the center of the decision was Loving. Loving Day should be getting much more attention as the parallels between miscegenation laws and laws against gay marriage become clearer. In the meantime, enjoy these movies about forbidden love.

The Age of Innocence

When I first read Edith Wharton’s novel and got to the part where Newland is forced to cave in to societal pressures and deny his love for Countless Olenska, I literally got sick to my stomach. Martin Scorsese’s film adaptation of “The Age of Innocence” never achieves that kind of power, but it keeps the theme of Loving Day alive. “The Age of Innocence” also represents one of the last gasps of Scorsese working at the top of his game before Leonardo DiCaprio ruined him forever.

Lolita

Another book that is better than the movie is fodder for the kind of lame argument that those against gay marriage inexplicably try to apply. It is likely the very same argument made against gay marriage was made during the Loving v. Virginia case. You know: if we let blacks marry whites and men marry men, then soon we’ll have to legalize 40 year old men marrying 12 year old girls. “Lolita” is such deeply rooted satire of manners, mores and morals having nothing to do with pedophilia that anyone rooted firmly against the concept of celebrating Loving Day stands little chance of actually getting the joke. Still, one should try.

The Crying Game

If you are not familiar with “The Crying Game” then approach it on Loving Day as the perfect example of what Loving v. Virginia was all about. “The Crying Game” is about the forbidden love of a wee black chick and a white guy in the IRA living in England. And that’s all it’s about. “The Crying Game” has no resonance with the current debate over gay marriage, so enjoy it as an example of how American laws against miscegenation even applied to 1990s islands peopled with men and women speaking in accents.