People seeking a marriage license in Virginia will no longer have to disclose their race, the state’s attorney general said, announcing that he is eliminating the requirement that sparked three couples to file a lawsuit.
Circuit court clerks in the state were notified of the change in an email on Friday, according to the Associated Press.
“These changes will ensure that no Virginian will be forced to label themselves in order to get married,” AG Mark Herring said in a statement to the AP. “I appreciate the courage these couples showed in raising this issue, and I wish them all the best in their lives together.”
Last week, three couples filed a joint lawsuit in the Eastern District of Virginia calling the statute “offensive,” “unconstitutional” and “reflective of a racist past.”
One of the couples, Sophie Rogers and her fiancé, Brandyn Churchill, went to the Rockbridge Circuit Court clerk’s office for a marriage license ahead of their Oct. 19 wedding and was informed that if they do not disclose their race, they would not receive their license.
Rogers and Churchill, along with the other two couples, had refused to provide their race and were all denied marriage licenses, according to the lawsuit.
“Plaintiffs deem the requirement of racial labeling to be scientifically baseless, misleading, highly controversial, a matter of opinion, practically useless, offensive to human dignity, an invasion of personal privacy compelling an unwanted public categorization of oneself, and reflective of a racist past,” the lawsuit stated.
According to the AP, Herring wrote a note to the director and state registrar of the Division of Vital Records saying that circuit court clerks have to, by law, ask people wishing to obtain a marriage license their race but they do not have to answer.
They will be given a marriage license whether they disclose their race or not.