Marriage license restrictions in virginia

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Virginia Marriage Laws

Brandyn Churchill and Sophie Rogers, left, and Samuel Sarfo and Ashley Ramkishun sued Virginia over a requirement that race be disclosed in marriage license applications. The lawsuit against the Virginia State Registrar and others was filed after three couples said they were denied marriage licenses in the state after they refused to check a box disclosing their race on their applications.

Finding that the statute violates the 14th Amendment, Judge Rossie D. Alston wrote in his ruling Friday that requiring the couples "to disclose their race in order to receive marriage licenses burdens their fundamental right to marry," Alston wrote.


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Virginia couples won't have to disclose their race to get a marriage license, attorney general says. Be it enacted , That all such marriages openly solemnized, and made at anytime before the first day of July, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-five, and which shall have been made, consummated by the parties cohabiting together as husband and wife, shall be taken, and they are hereby declared good and valid in law; and all and every person or persons solemnizing such marriages, are and shall be exonerated from all pains and penalties, as if they had been authorized ministers: Provided always , And it is the true intent and meaning of this act, that nothing herein contained, shall extend or be construed to extend to confirm any marriage heretofore celebrated, or which may hereafter be celebrated between parties within the degrees of consanguinity or affinity, forbidden by law, or where either of the parties were bound by a prior marriage, to a husband or wife, then alive.

Virginia Marriage License Laws

Instead of the fees heretofore prescribed by law, any authorized minister may demand and receive in current money for the celebration of every marriage, the sum of one dollar. If any minister shall refuse to celebrate the rites of matrimony for the fees herein before allowed him, or shall exact other or greater fees; or if he or any parish reader or clerk, shall refuse to publish the bans, or to certify the same when required for the fee aforesaid, or exact any other or greater fee, every person so offending, shall forfeit and pay fifty dollars to the party grieved for every such offence, recoverable in any court within this commonwealth, by action of debt or information.

And that a register of all marriages may be preserved: Be it enacted , That a certificate of every marriage hereafter solemnized, signed by the minister celebrating the same, or in the case of quakers, menonists, and other societies that solemnize their marriages by the consent of the parties taken in open congregation as aforesaid, by the clerk of the meeting, shall be by such minister or clerk, as the case may be transmitted to the clerk of the county or corporation, wherein the marriage is solemnized, within twelve months thereafter, to be entered on record by the clerk, in a book by him to be kept for that purpose, which shall be evidence of all such marriages.

The clerk shall be entitled to demand and receive of the party so married, the sum of twenty-five cents for recording such certificate, and giving the bearer a receipt therefor. Every minister or clerk of a congregation as the case may be failing to transmit such certificate to the clerk of the court in due time, shall forfeit and pay the sum of sixty dollars; and if the clerk of any county shall fail to record such certificate, he shall forfeit and pay the like sum of sixty dollars, to be recovered with costs of suit, by the informer, in any court of record.

And for preventing white men and women intermarrying with negroes or mulattoes: Be it enacted , That whatsoever white man or woman, being free, shall intermarry with a negro or mulatto man or woman, bond or free, shall by judgment of the county court, be committed to prison, and there remain six months, without bail or mainprize; and shall forfeit and pay thirty dollars to the use of the parish.

The Difference Between A Marriage License, A Marriage Certificate & A Certified Marriage Certificate

No minister or person whatsoever within this commonwealth, shall hereafter presume to marry a white man with a negro or mulatto woman, or to marry a white woman with a negro or mulatto man, upon pain of forfeiting and paying for every such marriage, two hundred and fifty dollars, one half to the use of the commonwealth, and the other half to the use of the informer; to be recovered with costs, by action of debt, bill, plaint or information, in any court of record within this commonwealth, wherein no essoin , protection or wager of law, shall be allowed.

And whereas women, as well maidens as widows, and wives having substances, some in goods moveable, and some in lands and tenements, and some being heirs apparent unto their ancestors, for the lucre of such substances, have been often times taken by misdoers contrary to their will, and afterwards married to such misdoers, or to others by their consent, or defiled: Be it further enacted , That whatsoever person or persons shall take any woman against her will unlawfully, that is to say, maid, widow or wife; such taking and the procuring and abetting to the same, and also receiving wittingly the same woman so taken, against her will, shall be felony, and that such misdoers, takers, and procurers to the same, and receivers, knowing the said offence in form aforesaid, shall be reputed and judged as principal felons: Provided always , That this act shall not extend to any person taking any woman, only claiming her as his ward or bond woman.

Agency Information

If any person above the age of fourteeen years, shall unlawfully take and convey away, or shall cause to be unlawfully taken or conveyed away, any maiden or woman child unmarried, being within the age of sixteen years, out of, or from the possession, and against the will of the father or mother of such maiden or woman child, or out of, or from the possession, and against the will of such person or persons as then shall happen to have by any lawful ways or means, the order, keeping, education or governance of any such maiden or woman child, and being thereof duly convicted, shall suffer imprisonment, without bail or mainprize, for any term not exceeding two years, as shall be adjudged against him.

If any person or persons shall so take away, or cause to be taken away, as is aforesaid, and deflower any such maid or woman child, as is aforesaid, or shall, against the will or knowledge of the father of any such maid or woman child, if the father be in life, or against the will or knowledge of the mother of any such maid or woman child, having the custody and governance of such child, if the father be dead, by secret letters, messages, or otherwise, contract matrimony with any such maiden or woman child, every person so offending and being thereof lawfully convicted, shall suffer imprisonment of his body, by the space of five years, without bail or mainprize.

All the fines which shall or may be imposed by virtue of so much of this act, as relates to incestuous marriages, shall be to the use of the poor of the county wherein the offence or offences shall be committed; and one moiety of all the forfeitures arising under this act, and not otherwise appropriated, shall be to the use of the commonwealth, and the other moiety to the party or parties who shall sue for the same.


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  7. All and every other act and acts, and clause or clauses of acts, for so much thereof as relates to any thing within the purview of this act except as herein after provided are hereby repealed, and made void: Provided always , That nothing in this act contained, shall be construed to repeal an act, intituled, " An act concerning incestuous marriages ," or one other act, intituled, An act for the punishment of the crime of bigamy ," or one other act, intituled, " An act against forcible and stolen marriages ," for so much of either of them as relates to any offence within the purview thereof, committed or done before the commencement of this act; but the said recited acts, as to all such offences, shall be, and remain in full force, in the same manner as if this act had never been made.

    Provided always, and be it enacted, by the authority aforesaid , That where any parish or parishes have not a minister, it shall and may be lawful for the clerk or reader to publish the banns of matrimony between any persons desiring the same; and if no objection be made, to grant a certificate thereof, and such certificate shall be as sufficient for any minister to solemnize the rites of matrimony, as if the same had been signed, according to the directions herein before mentioned.

    And be it also enacted , That if any minister, clerk or reader, shall grant a false certificate, he shall suffer one year's imprisonment, without bail or mainprize, and be fined five hundred pounds sterling, and shall also be liable to further punishment, as in case of forgery: And all such offences may be prosecuted, tried, and determined, in any court of record in this colony; which courts are hereby impowered to hold cognizance thereof, and to hear and determine the same, according to the course of common law; and upon conviction of the party accused, by confession, verdict, or otherwise, to award execution, and inflict the penalties provided by this act for the same: And in such case, the said offence may be alleged and laid in any county within this colony.

    And be it also enacted, by the authority aforesaid, and it is hereby enacted , That the clerk of each county court, annually, in October, send to the governor, or commander in chief of this her majesty's colony and dominion, for the time being, an account of the marriage licences issued by him, and also shall deliver to the sheriff, or collector for the county, the account of the governor's dues for the said licences, to be collected by the said sheriff, or collector, for the governor's use; and each clerk failing herein, to be fined one thousand pounds of tobacco.

    Obtaining a Marriage License & Marriage License Copies

    And be it also enacted, by the authority aforesaid, and it is hereby enacted , That the fees upon the said marriages, be as follows, viz.