“These changes will ensure that no Virginian will be forced to label themselves in order to get married,” Herring said in a statement to the newspaper Friday. “I appreciate the courage these couples showed in raising this issue, and I wish them all the best in their lives together.”
In a memorandum to Janet Rainey, director and state registrar of the Division of Vital Records, Herring wrote that circuit court clerks, by law, must ask people seeking a marriage license their race, but he said couples can decline to answer the question. Clerks should issue a marriage license regardless of whether an applicant answers the question, Herring said.
The Division of Vital Records has revised the marriage certificate form so couples know they are free to decline to answer the question.
The lawsuit said one Virginia county provided a list of more than 200 potential races to a couple that questioned the requirement. It included “American,” ”Aryan,” ”Moor” and “Mulatto.”