LOS ANGELES — In a tale of love and resilience, Michael and Jerilyn Wirtz will mark their incredible 46th wedding anniversary later this year. But their love story has a deeper significance, starting with a historic Supreme Court ruling that shattered barriers to interracial marriages.

Loving Day, as it is affectionately called, commemorates the landmark case of Loving v. Virginia on June 12, 1967, a turning point in American civil rights history.

What You Need To Know

  • Interracial couple Michael and Jerilyn Wirtz celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary, showcasing enduring love and resilience

  • Their love story was shaped by the historic Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court ruling, which legalized interracial marriage in 1967

  • Mildred and Richard Loving were arrested in their home state of Virginia after marrying in Washington, D.C., where interracial marriage was legal

  • California's progressive stance played a crucial role, repealing anti-miscegenation laws in 1948 and allowing Michael and Jerilyn's love to flourish

Leafing through their wedding albums with their son Ryan, Michael Wirtz and Jerilyn Wirtz share the secrets to their enduring love.

“The first time I remember seeing Jeri, I almost ran into her,” Michael Wirtz recalls, his voice brimming with nostalgia. Fate intervened, however, and their paths crossed again through mutual friends and living in the same apartment complex. “Once we started dating, we never looked back,” he said.

With contrasting personalities, the Wirtzes have learned to complement each other.

“We are the complete opposite,” Jerilyn Wirtz said. 

“Opposites attract, right? This is it right here,” Michael Wirtz said. 

Just a decade before their wedding, laws against interracial marriage still prevailed in many parts of the country. However, the landmark Supreme Court case of Loving v. Virginia in 1967 struck down these discriminatory laws nationwide. The case centered on Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple who faced persecution and were ultimately banished from their home state of Virginia. The court’s unanimous decision ruled that anti-miscegenation laws were unconstitutional, affirming the fundamental right to marry regardless of race.

California had already repealed its anti-miscegenation laws prior to the Loving decision, allowing Michael and Jerilyn Wirtz’s love to blossom with minimal opposition. The state’s progressive stance on interracial marriage, repealing these laws in 1948, laid the foundation for a more inclusive society.

“I didn’t know how they would accept me or anything,” Jerilyn Wirtz said about her trepidation about meeting his parents.

Thankfully, her worries were unfounded, and she found herself embraced by the best in-laws one could ask for.

Ryan Wirtz, their son, expresses gratitude for the progress made in interracial marriage.


“It’s crazy to me how much interracial marriage has evolved,” he exclaims.

Growing up in a mixed-race household, Ryan Wirtz said he never viewed it as an issue but rather as a beautiful reflection of our diverse world.

“I think love radiates through them both. And that’s why they’ve been together for so long,” Ryan Wirtz said.

Michael and Jerilyn Wirtz said their recipe for lasting love includes respect, trust and the importance of giving each other space. They also stress the significance of fighting for one’s relationship during tough times.

From the moment they exchanged vows, Jerilyn and Michael Wirtz have embodied the spirit of the Lovings’ fight for love and equality.