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Interracial Couples Sue State of Virginia for Marriage Licenses

Three interracial couples in Virginia are suing the commonwealth after realizing it still requires couples to identify their race before approving marriage licenses.

The couples’ lawsuit, filed Sept. 5 in the Eastern District of Virginia, comes more than 50 years after the Supreme Court struck down a state of Virginia mandate banning interracial marriage.

The suit, reported by NBC News, accuses the state requirement of being “offensive,” “unconstitutional” and “reflective of a racist past.”

One of the couples in the lawsuit — Sophie Rogers and her fiancé, Brandyn Churchill who planned to marry on Oct. 19 — tried to obtain a license in the Rockbridge Circuit Court clerk’s office but were told that if they failed to list their race, they would not be receiving the marriage license prior to their wedding date.

So far, all three couples have been denied a marriage license simply because they have refused check a box and state their race, the suit alleges.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s office has declined to comment on the lawsuit, citing pending litigation.

“[The governor] is dedicated to addressing racial discrimination in all its forms, and recently established a commission to examine the vestiges of racially discriminatory language in Virginia law,” his office said in a statement.

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