We spend a lot of time these days talking about same-sex couples, but less than 50 years ago, the ACLU was working hard to help interracial couples.

The Lovings were the pair that brought the case that finally struck down bans of interracial marriage - Loving v. Virginia.

Today is the 46th anniversary of that decision.

Your Constitutional Rights: a one-minute podcast about Loving v. Virginia 

Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving married in Washington, D.C. in 1958. When they returned to their home state of Virginia, however, police burst into their home as they slept and arrested them for violating the state's Racial Integrity Act.

"Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents," said the judge in the case. "And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix."

That judge agreed to suspend their one-year jail sentence if they both agreed to leave the state of Virginia for 25 years. At the time it came down, 16 states outlawed interracial marriage. They did leave, but were arrested five years later when they returned to Virginia to visit family.

The Lovings fought back with the help of the ACLU. In 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that outlawing interracial marriage unconstitutional.

"Marriage," wrote Chief Justice Earl Warren, "is one of the 'basic civil rights of man,' fundamental to our very existence and survival. To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State."

Their love story changed history.

Photo: Bettmann/Corvis