Couples were asked to tell their race for a Virginia marriage license. Now they're suing.

  
Via:  sandy-2021492  •  one week ago  •  67 comments

Couples were asked to tell their race for a Virginia marriage license. Now they're suing.
The state's requirement to label race is "scientifically baseless" and "reflective of a racist past," says the federal lawsuit filed by three couples.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



The suit was filed Thursday in the Eastern District of Virginia and slams the state statute as "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 to obtain a marriage license ahead of their Oct. 19 wedding and was informed that if they do not tell their race, they will not receive their license.

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sandy-2021492
1  seeder  sandy-2021492    one week ago
In Rockbridge County, there was a list of "approved races" that included "Aryan," "Octoroon," "Quadroon" and "Mulatto," the suit states.
 
 
 
devangelical
1.1  devangelical  replied to  sandy-2021492 @1    one week ago

disgusting.

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
1.2  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  sandy-2021492 @1    one week ago

I remember back in the early 70's when my wife and I got married in SE Arizona, I was asked that same question. I refused to answer other than human being. The county clerk looked at it, smiled, and said "Looks good to me. Dumb ass question anyway.". We got our license.

 
 
 
Tessylo
1.3  Tessylo  replied to  sandy-2021492 @1    one week ago

Isn't octoroon 1/8th black, quadroon 1/4th black, and mulatto 1/2 black?

 
 
 
devangelical
1.3.1  devangelical  replied to  Tessylo @1.3    one week ago

before this seed, I never even knew or heard the words octoroon or or quadroon  before. neither has my spell check. I guess I missed the cut on being a racist goober that thinks the civil war was all about northern aggression. >whew!!!<

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
1.3.2  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  Tessylo @1.3    one week ago

I believe that's correct.

 
 
 
Kavika
2  Kavika     one week ago

 I wasn't aware that it's still the 1850's. 

 
 
 
Gordy327
2.1  Gordy327  replied to  Kavika @2    one week ago

Or even the 1950s.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
2.1.1  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  Gordy327 @2.1    one week ago

I had no idea they still used such archaic and offensive names for those of mixed heritage.

 
 
 
Gordy327
2.1.2  Gordy327  replied to  sandy-2021492 @2.1.1    one week ago

This is Virginia after all. 

 
 
 
Tacos!
3  Tacos!    one week ago
informed that if they do not tell their race, they will not receive their license.

I don't think I can think of anything where you are required to declare your race. Even on the census, I don't think it's required.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
3.1  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  Tacos! @3    one week ago

Nor should it be.

 
 
 
Dulay
3.2  Dulay  replied to  Tacos! @3    one week ago
 
 
 
sandy-2021492
3.2.1  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  Dulay @3.2    one week ago

Thanks, Dulay. I can understand it for the census.  But not for a marriage license.

 
 
 
Tacos!
3.2.2  Tacos!  replied to  Dulay @3.2    one week ago

I'm aware that they ask it, but respondents are free to answer in any way they choose and there is zero accountability for the choices they make. Technically, you can be fined for not filling out the form completely or at all, but prosecutions are rare and convictions difficult. In any event, you aren't going to be denied a license for anything if you decline to state your race.

 
 
 
devangelical
3.2.3  devangelical  replied to  Dulay @3.2    one week ago

that's why it's so important for sane people to change their voter registration to republican or independent after voting in the primaries. then get one of those DNA tests done before the census forms are mailed, since you can legally self identify as any ethnicity that shows up on it. both changes are crucial to thwart further gerrymandering attempts in the future.

 
 
 
Dean Moriarty
3.2.4  Dean Moriarty  replied to  devangelical @3.2.3    one week ago

I think that’s ridiculous considering they do not ask party affiliation on the census. 

Can these estimates tell me who an individual voted for or with which party they are affiliated?

No, the CPS Voting and Registration Supplement does not ask any questions of a partisan nature.

If you’d like to educate yourself on what data is collected regarding voting and registration see the tables in the link. https://www.census.gov/data/tables/time-series/demo/voting-and-registration/p20-583.html

 
 
 
Dulay
3.2.5  Dulay  replied to  Tacos! @3.2.2    one week ago
I'm aware that they ask it, but respondents are free to answer in any way they choose and there is zero accountability for the choices they make.

What evidence do you have that it's any different for the marriage license question? 

 
 
 
Dulay
3.2.6  Dulay  replied to  Dean Moriarty @3.2.4    one week ago
Can these estimates tell me who an individual voted for or with which party they are affiliated?

Well since just about every single conservative on here and elsewhere thinks that Latino immigrants will vote Democratic, it sure looks like they believe that party affiliation is simple to estimate. 

 
 
 
Tacos!
3.2.7  Tacos!  replied to  Dulay @3.2.5    one week ago

Different in what way? I don't know what you're talking about. I didn't think I was trying to make any claims, so I don't know why you're asking for evidence.

 
 
 
Dulay
3.2.8  Dulay  replied to  Tacos! @3.2.7    one week ago
Different in what way?

Let me see if I can state it in a way that even you can understand.

You state that for the census 'respondents are free to answer in any way they choose and there is zero accountability for the choices they make.'

Do you have any evidence that respondents to the marriage license race question are held accountable in any way for the choices they make? 

Perhaps an example would help. 

For example, would there be any accountability for a Caucasian man checking the African American box? 

 
 
 
Tacos!
3.2.9  Tacos!  replied to  Dulay @3.2.8    one week ago
Do you have any evidence that respondents to the marriage license race question are held accountable in any way for the choices they make?

I was referring to the central point of the story, which is that they were going to be denied a marriage license if they did not disclose their race.

One of the couples, Sophie Rogers and her fiancé, Brandyn Churchill, went to the Rockbridge Circuit Court clerk's office to obtain a marriage license ahead of their Oct. 19 wedding and was informed that if they do not tell their race, they will not receive their license.

On the census, you can identify as any race or combination of races you like. As far as I know, no one is following up on the answers. I couldn't say how much Virginia scrutinizes the answers people give and I wasn't making any claims about their enforcement beyond what the story gives us.

The main difference that is obvious is that the census is not going to deny anyone a license for anything.

 
 
 
devangelical
3.2.10  devangelical  replied to  Dean Moriarty @3.2.4    one week ago
they do not ask party affiliation on the census

I never said they did. however, that info is available on voter registration rolls. that way major league asshats don't waste postage on mailing their paranoid propaganda to people with an IQ over 60 prior to election day. voter registration rolls can be purchased for mass mailings and telemarketing.

 
 
 
Jack_TX
3.2.11  Jack_TX  replied to  Dulay @3.2.6    one week ago
Well since just about every single conservative on here and elsewhere thinks that Latino immigrants will vote Democratic,

I don't.  I know too many.  

 
 
 
Dulay
3.2.12  Dulay  replied to  Tacos! @3.2.9    one week ago
I was referring to the central point of the story, which is that they were going to be denied a marriage license if they did not disclose their race.

Though you've avoided directly answering my question, I'll take that as a no. 

 
 
 
Tacos!
3.2.13  Tacos!  replied to  Dulay @3.2.12    one week ago

I'm not avoiding anything and I answered the best I could. Please refrain from trying to troll me.

 
 
 
Dulay
3.2.14  Dulay  replied to  Tacos! @3.2.13    one week ago

Replying to your comment with my own isn't trolling Tacos!. 

Please refrain from accusing me of shit that you didn't see fit to flag. 

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
4  Paula Bartholomew    one week ago

Anytime someone is asked their race, there is only one answer....human.

 
 
 
Raven Wing
4.1  Raven Wing  replied to  Paula Bartholomew @4    one week ago

Exactly. And it is a question that should not need to be asked.

 
 
 
WallyW
4.2  WallyW  replied to  Paula Bartholomew @4    one week ago

But.......

the government continues to covet that racial information for all kinds of nefarious purposes.

Particularly the Democrats.

 
 
 
Raven Wing
4.2.1  Raven Wing  replied to  WallyW @4.2    one week ago
Particularly the Democrats.

Oh BS. Democrats are no more nefarious than Republicans. And not all on either side buy into the kind of BS some here like to spread. 

There ARE intelligent people on both sides, and are able to recognize the kind of political lies and BS some here spout for the garbage that it is. 

The would is NOT that ignorant.

 
 
 
Kathleen
4.3  Kathleen  replied to  Paula Bartholomew @4    one week ago

Yes.

 
 
 
Jack_TX
4.4  Jack_TX  replied to  Paula Bartholomew @4    one week ago
Anytime someone is asked their race, there is only one answer....human.

Naaaah.  C'mon now.  We can be much more creative than that.

The best defense is a good offense, and that's especially true against nosiness and stupidity. 

If somebody asks your race in a situation where it is none of their damn business and you don't want to give it to them, tell them you're Martian.

Alternatively, give them any one of a myriad of cool fictional races.  You could be Amazonian (Wonder Woman), you could be Gallifreyan (Doctor Who), or you could be Kryptonian (Superman).  You could be Viking.  You could be Rohirrim or Gondorian.  You could be Hufflepuffian.  

You could say your race was "Aggie", "Sooner", "Longhorn", "Buckeye", "Gator" or "Wolverine".  Or....if you wanted to condemn yourself and your family to eternal shame, you could list your race as a filthy disgusting utterly reprehensible "Liverpool Supporter".

Seriously, the possibilities are endless.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
4.4.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  Jack_TX @4.4    one week ago

I'm a Westerosi ,then

 
 
 
Jack_TX
4.4.2  Jack_TX  replied to  Trout Giggles @4.4.1    one week ago
I'm a Westerosi ,then

Now we're cookin' with gas.......

I challenge anybody to prove you're not.

 
 
 
MrFrost
5  MrFrost    one week ago

There is only reason to ask this question and I don't think I need to say what that reason is.

 
 
 
WallyW
5.1  WallyW  replied to  MrFrost @5    one week ago

What is that reason?

 
 
 
Enoch
6  Enoch    one week ago

Only one race.

The human one.

Not hard, Virginia Government , not difficult at all.

P&AB to All in Our Human Race.

Enoch.

 
 
 
MUVA
7  MUVA    one week ago

I live and the wife and I were married in VA I don't remember race being on the marriage license  but I'm going to look.I was born in Portsmouth VA and I know Mulatto is on my birth certificate. 

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
7.1  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  MUVA @7    one week ago

According to the article, it varies by county.

 
 
 
MUVA
7.1.1  MUVA  replied to  sandy-2021492 @7.1    one week ago

We were married in VA beach  there are a lot of mixed couples in this area.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
7.1.2  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  MUVA @7.1.1    one week ago

There are some here in the Shenandoah Valley, but they still draw attention, some of it negative.  Rockbridge County is fairly rural and socially conservative, but I really didn't expect such words on their official documents. 

 
 
 
MUVA
7.1.3  MUVA  replied to  sandy-2021492 @7.1.2    one week ago

In VA beach  with the military we are more middle of the road mixed race couples are seen as normal.On my middle sons travel soccer team there were 4 mixed family the moms joked because the name of the team was the big dogs are kids could be called the mutts. 

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
7.1.4  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  MUVA @7.1.3    one week ago

I'm glad it's more accepted there.  I got my hair done yesterday, and the other woman there at the same time is white, married to a black man.  She said that when she first moved into her house, her neighbors were very friendly.  And then they saw her husband, and stopped talking to her completely, and ignore her when she waves.   They've never spoken to him at all.  Sad.

 
 
 
Kathleen
7.1.5  Kathleen  replied to  sandy-2021492 @7.1.4    one week ago

So nasty.  We just moved a few months ago and a few houses down there is a couple, white wife and black husband. They welcomed us and we have been friendly when we see each other always. People act so stupid sometimes. 

 
 
 
Raven Wing
7.1.6  Raven Wing  replied to  sandy-2021492 @7.1.4    one week ago
She said that when she first moved into her house, her neighbors were very friendly.  And then they saw her husband,

Goes to show that the ones who should be ashamed are the ones who are the bigots, not the ones they are trying to shame. 

 
 
 
Tessylo
7.1.7  Tessylo  replied to  sandy-2021492 @7.1.4    one week ago

That reminds me of my nephews of my sister Kathy.  Their dad is black.  You can't tell by looking at my  nephews that they are mixed race.  Their dad is an HVAC repairman.  My one nephew Neil used to play with one of their neighbor kids all the time.  Then they found out their dad was black by asking him to do some HVAC work in their home.  My nephew was no longer able to play with their kid but their dad was able to do work for them.  

Shameful.  

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
8  Perrie Halpern R.A.    one week ago

I'm so shocked that there are parts of Virgina that are so backwards. I don't know what I would have done is someone has asked me for my race on a marriage licence. Maybe crossed it out and write MYOB. 

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
8.1  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @8    one week ago

They were told they wouldn't get their license without the information.  If they've already reserved a venue, hired caterers, and so forth, not having a valid marriage license could throw a wrench in the whole works.

I'd have thought Virginia would have learned from Loving vs. Virginia.

 
 
 
Gordy327
8.2  Gordy327  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @8    one week ago
I'm so shocked that there are parts of Virgina that are so backwards.

It's not just Virginia. Seems to be most if not all of the Southern states that are backwards in some way or another.

I don't know what I would have done is someone has asked me for my race on a marriage licence.

What will they ask for next: What's your sexual orientation? Religious preference?

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
8.2.1  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  Gordy327 @8.2    one week ago

To be fair, there are some northern states that ask about race, too.

 
 
 
Gordy327
8.2.2  Gordy327  replied to  sandy-2021492 @8.2.1    one week ago
To be fair, there are some northern states that ask about race, too.

Really? I wasn't aware. Which ones?

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
8.2.3  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  Gordy327 @8.2.2    one week ago
Virginia is one of eight states that ask couples to identify their race before they can marry, according to the lawsuit. The others include Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Louisiana and Minnesota. In New Hampshire a court clerk fills out the information about a couple's race. Alabama has couples fill out a certificate "that requires a statement of their race," the lawsuit says.
 
 
 
Gordy327
8.2.4  Gordy327  replied to  sandy-2021492 @8.2.3    one week ago

Interesting. 

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
8.2.5  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  sandy-2021492 @8.2.3    one week ago

Wow, kind of speechless. And really shocked about New Hampshire whose state motto is "Live free or die". Apparently only if you the right color.

 
 
 
†hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh
9  †hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh    one week ago

We should not have to obtain a license to marry.

Statists demand the state get involved and then complain when the outcome is negative.

Collectivism is inherently discriminatory.

 
 
 
Gordy327
10  Gordy327    one week ago

Is it just me, or does the guy in the picture look a little like Wayne Brady?

 
 
 
Moonchild63
11  Moonchild63    one week ago

They should have just wrote: Human (race), as its the only race of people on the planet!

Since the question has been deemed "unconstitutional" on the federal level, yet still exist on many a document - wtcl🐔ck!

Ethnicity is another biological/genealogical matter, yet that's not the reason for the question or the violation Constitutionally 😉 speaking

either!

 
 
 
jungkonservativ111
12  jungkonservativ111    one week ago

Why is it so terrible to document information about a couple? I imagine the state wants to verify on as many different levels as possible they have the right couple in their system. Are they ashamed to say they are black? Also if race doesn't exist, make sure to let your local police investigators and attorneys and judges know this so they stop using that as a method to solve crimes and convict criminals.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
12.1  JohnRussell  replied to  jungkonservativ111 @12    one week ago

There might be some social use to knowing the crime rate of different races, people can then choose if they like to avoid areas heavily populated by a higher crime group. 

I dont see any social purpose to knowing the races of people who are getting married. And telling them they cant get married if the race reporting requirement is not met.

One of the couples, Sophie Rogers and her fiancé, Brandyn Churchill, went to the Rockbridge Circuit Court clerk's office to obtain a marriage license ahead of their Oct. 19 wedding and was informed that if they do not tell their race, they will not receive their license.
 
 
 
jungkonservativ111
12.1.1  jungkonservativ111  replied to  JohnRussell @12.1    one week ago

Race has also been very helpful in identifying communties suffering from academic under achievement. 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
12.1.2  JohnRussell  replied to  jungkonservativ111 @12.1.1    one week ago

I dont think you need marriage records for that. 

 
 
 
Tacos!
12.2  Tacos!  replied to  jungkonservativ111 @12    one week ago
Why is it so terrible to document information about a couple?

The number of things you could record about someone is probably infinite, but there should be a reason for it. I can't think of a reason the state needs to know what race someone is before they license their marriage.

 
 
 
jungkonservativ111
12.2.1  jungkonservativ111  replied to  Tacos! @12.2    one week ago

Maybe they want the information for databases they use for record keeping and statistics. I dont see why something as obvious as race shouldn't be recorded. Were they refused service based upon their reply?

 
 
 
Tacos!
12.2.2  Tacos!  replied to  jungkonservativ111 @12.2.1    one week ago
Maybe they want the information for databases they use for record keeping and statistics.

The government will definitely have to say why they want the information in court. But your point just invites the questions: Record keeping for what? Statistics of what? Again, like I said before, you can keep records on an infinite number of things, but why is that important for marriage licenses?

I dont see why something as obvious as race shouldn't be recorded.

That's not how these things work. You could just as easily ask why shouldn't they also record their pant sizes or favorite sports teams? When challenged, government needs to supply a reason. Even a bad reason will often suffice, but "we just want to know" isn't going to be good enough. It's not up to citizens to first establish a reason why they don't want to disclose it unless the government can first establish a rational basis for the question. The burden at this point is on the government.

Were they refused service based upon their reply?

They were told they couldn't have a marriage license if they didn't answer. I see no reason to prevent someone from marrying over that.

 
 
 
Jack_TX
14  Jack_TX    one week ago

To be fair, this is probably not some nefarious racist oppressive situation.  This has probably just been on the form since 1950 and nobody's ever thought about it, so it never changed.  Government employees are not paid to be strategic visionaries.

Also to be fair, it should be changed, and well done these couples for pressing the issue in a meaningful, powerful and adult manner.  

To all of my leftist friends....(not liberals, who are reasonable, but leftists, who are not)....are you watching??  This is how you affect positive change.  No protest, no destruction of other people's stuff, no taking a knee pouting and demanding somebody else fix a problem you can and should handle yourself.  

You take an issue that most people agree on anyway, and get things fixed without making it a ridiculously divisive mound of bullshit that everybody fights about.

We need more of this kind of thing.

 
 
 
†hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh
15  †hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh    one week ago

I checked Asian on my marriage license. I do that on the census too.

 
 
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