NewsLocal News

Actions

Bernard Cohen, lawyer who took on mixed marriage laws, dies

Mildred Loving, Richard Loving
Posted at 2:28 PM, Oct 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-14 14:28:07-04

FALLS CHURCH, Va. -- A lawyer who successfully challenged a Virginia law banning interracial marriage and later went on to a successful political career as a state legislator has died.

Bernard S. Cohen was 86. Cohen and legal colleague Phil Hirschkop represented Richard and Mildred Loving, a white man and Black woman who were convicted of illegally cohabiting as man and wife and ordered to leave Virginia for 25 years.

Cohen and Hirschkop represented the Lovings as they sought to have their conviction overturned.

It resulted in the unanimous landmark 1967 Loving v. Virginia ruling, which declared laws against interracial marriage to be unconstitutional.

Cohen died Monday of complications from Parkinson’s disease.