Brandyn Churchill and Sophie Rogers got an early wedding present earlier this month.
U.S. District Judge Rossie D. Alston, Jr. ruled Oct. 11 that state law requiring people seeking marriage licenses to disclose their race is not only offensive, but it’s also unconstitutional. Rogers and Churchill comprised one of a handful of couples who sued the state over the requirement, which has its roots in Virginia anti-miscegenation laws.
“I am beyond ecstatic about the ruling,” said Ashley Ramkishun, who, with fiancé Samuel Sarfo, was one of the other couples who sued. “I am incredibly honored to have been part of this historic case. As a lawyer myself, I am humbled by the opportunity to make a positive change in our legal system. It is our duty, as a society, to change and move forward from past injustices and prejudices. This case proves our capability of changing past wrongs.”
The case — Rogers v. Virginia State Registrar — gained national attention, due mostly to the fact that a marriage license in Rockbridge County provides applicants an expansive list of racial options including outdated and racist terminology.
In an interview Monday night with the Mercury, Churchill said marriage preparations since the suit been a little different than planned. For their wedding Saturday, they’ve frequently consulted The Knot wedding planning book.
“They didn’t actually have a chapter in there about suing the state registrar, believe it or not,” Churchill said.