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Before Scott met Aisha, he had never heard of Richard and Mildred Loving, the Virginia couple behind the Supreme Court’s June 12, 1967, decision to legalize interracial marriage, a date celebrated nationally as Loving Day. She's a devout Catholic; he's a Hindu-turned-atheist.

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“It upsets them when they think one wedding is more important than the others,” Yesica said of family members.

A blackboard in the kitchen hinted at the compromises already made and the cultural mash-ups still to come.

Tired of wasting time on the wrong people, she was clear about whom she didn’t want. So if a man couldn’t deal with a child, he should move on. So if a man couldn’t handle a smart woman, he should move on.

Her list went on, each description followed by the same siren blaring “move on, move on.” But Scott Cozad didn’t move on. He sent her an email that stretched for pages, and it was clear that despite their skin color — he’s white, and she’s black — the two shared much in common. His picture showed him in a suit of armor, a nod to his love of historical reenactments. “If he had been born during the Renaissance, he would have definitely been a knight in shining armor,” the 42-year-old social science researcher said one evening sitting in the couple’s Woodbridge home.

The food was strange, and the ceremony was huge, yet the tight family bonds felt familiar.