This is a sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Northern Virginia that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement and private sector employee matters.
By John V. Berry, Esq.
Virginia couples seeking to marry in the Commonwealth of Virginia must still list their racial identity to obtain a marriage license.
In a recent federal lawsuit three couples were denied marriage licenses after refusing to specify their race. The lawsuit was recently filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia challenging the requirement. It is about time that Virginia put an end to this requirement.
The Virginia Code, Va. Code Ann. §32.1-267(A), requires that individuals seeking a license to marry must identify themselves according to race. In the lawsuit, these couples have argued that Virginians should not be required to list their race under the 13th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. As a practical matter, this requirement is also a problem because Virginia counties have inconsistent and different definitions of race.
For example, in Arlington, where two of the couples tried to obtain their marriage license, the race options were listed as follows: American Indian/Alaskan Native; African American/Black; Asian; Caucasian; Hispanic/Latino; Pacific Islander or Other. Contrast this with Rockbridge County, where the 230 possible race categories include: “White American,” “Aryan,” “Octoroon,” “Quadroon” and “Mulatto.” These types of categories are horribly offensive to many.
The Commonwealth is not alone in this marriage requirement. There are 8 other states that require individuals to identify their race prior to obtaining a marriage license, including Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota and New Hampshire.
Furthermore, in Virginia, not only do you have to list your racial identity in obtaining a marriage license but if you list it falsely, a person can be guilty of a felony. It is time for Virginia to rescind this archaic law.
If you need assistance with employment law issues, please contact our office at (703) 668-0070 or at www.berrylegal.com to schedule a consultation. Please also visit and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BerryBerryPllc.
Are you a SWaM certified business? Nominations for the 2023 SWaMmy Honors are now open until April 1.
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Let the Arlingtones surprise your friend or sweetie this Valentine’s Day with a barbershop quartet singing love songs in four part a cappella harmony! Choose from a small selection of songs in our repertoire to surprise your special someone.
$75 for two songs delivered to a place of your choice by a live, in-person quartet. Includes a classy tin of chocolates, fresh red rose and personalized card. Small mileage surcharge for >5 miles outside Arlington VA.
$30 Facetime/Skype valentine- two songs delivered ‘live’ via Facetime or Skype at an agreed-on time.
$20 virtual valentine- two pre-recorded quartet songs delivered via email with a personalized message.
Have you noticed a striking sculpture at Monroe Street and Wilson Boulevard? It’s the Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington’s newest installation, Make Your Mark, by Arlington artist, Adam Henry. This sculpture celebrates MoCA Arlington’s rebranding and brings the museum’s energy outdoors.
On February 11, come inside when the museum’s galleries reopen with two new exhibitions: Rebecca Rivas Rogers: Grey View and Crisis of Image.
Grey View, in the Wyatt Resident Artist Gallery, is an homage to “gray” and a snapshot of the artist’s process. Consisting of photographs, collage, and a site-specific installation, this show is an outgrowth of Rivas-Rogers’ visual investigations into places you see on your way to somewhere else.
On the main level, Crisis of Image features artists who seek equity in today’s saturated visual world by developing new methods related to the production of images.
Valentine gifts for someone special or for yourself are here at George Mason University from noon -4pm on February 14, 2023. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Kingsbury Chocolates, find a handmade bag from Karina Gaull, pick up treats from Village