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

FILE - This Jan. 26, 1965 file photo shows Mildred Loving and her husband Richard P Loving. Bernard S. Cohen, who successfully challenged a Virginia law banning interracial marriage and later went on to a successful political career as a state legislator, has died. He 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(AP Photo, File)

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) — A lawyer who won a landmark case that led to the U.S. Supreme Court’s rejection of all laws forbidding interracial marriage has died. Bernard S. Cohen was 86.

Cohen 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.

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

Cohen later served in Virginia’s House of Delegates for 16 years. He died Monday of complications from Parkinson’s disease.

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