I have just watched the film "Loving" (A film depicting an interracial couple in the late 1950s in the US state of Virginia.).

I wondered why black & white married couples in the US in the past had to put the marriage certificate on the top of their bed while sleeping?

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    Some context for those who have not seen the film would be useful (location & year of the facts depicted, which facts where depicted). Also, what makes you think that they "had to" instead of "they wanted to"? – SJuan76 Jan 18 '17 at 10:06

Because interracial marriage and intimate relationships were still illegal in several US states at the time, including the state of Virgina, where the movie is taking place, at the time it is taking place.

The couple got married in Washington D.C., where such marriage was legal. (Traveling there from their Virginia residence for the sake of marriage, and then back to Virginia, was not legal according to Section 20-58 of the Virginia Code.)

The prominent display of the certificate could have been an act of pride, defiance, or assertion. They did not "have to" display it that way by any Virginia law, as the marriage itself was not considered legal by Virginia authorities anyway.

Actually, there is a Wikipedia article about that couple's court case that eventually led to overturning the last of those laws as the Supreme Court considered such laws as unconstitutional.

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    +1 It might be worth it to point out that Loving vs. Virginia is a landmark case on par with Brown vs. Board of Education, Roe vs. Wade, Korematsu, Gideon, Miranda, Plessy vs. Fergusson and similar (note not all of these were wins for what we think of as right these days). It spelled the end of anti-miscegenation laws in the US and were one of the last pushes against Jim Crow laws after the civil rights act of 1964. – DRF Jan 18 '17 at 12:44
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    @DRF: If you say so. To me (German), the whole of the common law system and the habit of referring to "landmark cases" by name of involved parties is a bit of a closed book. ;-) – DevSolar Jan 18 '17 at 12:45
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    hehe Consider the cool names of cases derived from civil and criminal forfeiture (essentially the government seizing assets that it believes might be tied to crime even if it never charges anyone). Such as United States v. 12 200-ft. Reels of Film or United States v. $124,700 in U.S. Currency.:) – DRF Jan 18 '17 at 13:04
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    But were they repealed? overturned =/= repealed – AllInOne Jan 18 '17 at 23:22
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    @AllInOne That is a different kettle of fish. States don't always repeal laws once they become unenforceable. Moreover in some cases (Alabama for example alabamavotes.gov/ElectionInfo/…) interracial marriage was not prohibited by law but rather by the constitution. In that case (Alabama) the amendment that got rid of the anti-miscegenation article was only passed in 2000 (by a somewhat small majority of 59.5% for to 40.5% against. Looking at other states would be an answer to a question of its own. – DRF Jan 19 '17 at 7:51

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