- The Washington Times
Monday, September 16, 2019

Virginia’s state attorney general announced last week that Virginia couples will no longer be required to disclose their race when applying for a marriage license after three couples filed a lawsuit challenging the identification.

Attorney General Mark Herring said Friday a new policy is being instituted requiring a “Declined to Answer” box under the race question, plus requiring court clerks to issue marriage license “regardless of an applicant’s answer or non-answer to that inquiry.”

“We were happy to help quickly resolve this issue and get these couples what they asked for,” Mr. Herring said in his statement, according to The Washington Post. “These changes will ensure that no Virginian will be forced to label themselves to get married.”

The policy change comes after a lawsuit was filed by three couples, who believe the question violates their First, 13th and 14th amendment rights.

The plaintiffs said Saturday they don’t think the issue is fully “resolved” and plan on continuing to press the case as the requirement is still a Virginia law, The Post reported.

“It’s a good first step, but as far as we know the case is still going to go forward, and we’re hoping the judge doesn’t declare it moot,” said one of the plaintiffs, Ashley Ramkishun. “It doesn’t resolve the fact that there’s still a law in place in Virginia — the state could change its mind at any point in regards to whether the race question is optional or not.”

The plaintiffs plan on pushing the case until the law is rescinded making the case in their lawsuit that race identification is based on “ignorance and bigotry, not in science.”

Virginia Del. Mark Levine applauded Mr. Herring’s move to rollback the “obnoxious” statute and announced Sunday he would submit legislation during the 2020 session to remove the question completely.

“I’m committed to removing unfair and unconstitutional statutes from our books,” he wrote on Facebook. “Just like Virginia’s miscegenation (anti-mixed-race marriage) law declared unconstitutional in Loving v. Virginia (1967), this statute does not belong on our books, lest someone believe it is still the law.”

“Statutes like this remind us of Virginia’s ugly past but no longer reflect Virginia values,” he added.

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