Virginia Marriage License Applications Still Use Terms Like “Quadroon” and Mulatto”? Why?

The US has a very uncomfortable history with racism, as it remains deeply ingrained within the country’s identity. It’s hard to wash away the stains left by 200+ years of slavery, where slaves could not even wed amongst themselves with a wedding officiant OKC present. Therefore, memories and remnants of a time long past still haunt the country as it tries to move past it. And one of these horrifying reminders still exists in the form of Virginia marriage license applications that still use terms like Quadroon and Mulatto.

A Brief Look at the Origins of Slavery

Many agree that Racism still exists throughout the US in some capacity. Whether it is the fact that the KKK is still an active organization, or the fact that various laws barred minorities from government programs to help create wealth, racism remains one of the US’ biggest issues. And in the case of Virginia specifically, it remains its biggest challenge, especially since the state was the birthplace of slavery.

The first significant start of slavery was Jamestown Virginia, where The White Lion brought in 20 slaves who he seized from a Portuguese slave ship. At the time, Virginia was still a British colony during 1619 when the crew brought in these slaves. Slavery continued throughout the years, with millions of healthy African men and women being transported to the new world. Not only did it rob the African content of its essential labor, but these men and women were later sold to different slavers across European countries.

The only relief that came to slaves at the time was after the American Revolution. In the North, slavers did not have much use for slaves in agriculture and saw the enslavement of Africans similar to their own at the hands of the British Colonizers. After freeing slaves in the north, the movement moved to the south, which would eventually start the Civil War. In 1865, the abolition of slavery was enshrined into the US constitution with the 13th amendment.

Virginia Still Has Racist Marriage Licenses

Despite slavery being abolished in 1865, its effects are still present over 200 years later. Marriage licenses in Virginia will ask couples about their races, and they would have to select one out of 200. So before you can even reach the wedding venue OKC and say your vows, you will have to sign this license for the marriage to be legal. The list contained +racist terms used for different ethnicities like Aryan or Moors (slaves in Spain), along with terms that slavers would use to keep track of slaves.

More importantly, slave owners used these terms to keep mixed-race children separate from “pure” white people. Children would fall into three categories such as mulatto, quadroon, and octoroon. A mulatto is an individual with one black parent. A quadroon is a person who is a quarter black, and an octoroon is a person who is 1/8th black.

These racist terminologies specifically existed because marriage between slaves and their owners was illegal. Even after the abolition of slavery, interracial marriage was unconstitutional. In fact, it took a little over a century after the prohibition of slavery for interracial marriages to become legal. Let that sink in. The law for interracial marriage is only two years older than Paul Rudd.

The worst part is that weddings couldn’t go forward and marriages were not legal until a couple had the right marriage license. And the only way to qualify for the license was to choose one of these categories. Therefore your pictures from dedicated wedding photographers OKC would have to wait. Three couples were holding off on getting married because they did not want to choose from one of those racist categories. They later sued the state of Virginia in a massive case, which unearths a dark chapter in America’s history.

The Virginia Lawsuit That Changed Everything

Most challenges that people face when getting married are when looking for wedding officiants OKC for their ceremony. Or people can have a little trouble finding the right wedding photographer in Oklahoma City. However, for three couples in Virginia, the biggest hurdle that they faced while getting married was to choose between 200 races.

These three couples held off their wedding until they no longer had to choose between these races. The couples argued that the state had no right to ask them their race when applying for a marriage license.

They filed a lawsuit against the state of Virginia in federal court, where the plaintiffs demanded that the requirement be removed. Virginia also happens to be the state where Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter, spent a year in jail for violating Virginia’s racist laws against interracial marriage. Their appeal went to the Supreme Court, which then put down all laws that did not allow interracial marriages in 1967.

The plaintiffs argued that the requirement violated their constitutional right to privacy, free speech, and due process. The protections of due process by the constitution mean that the government cannot restrict an individual’s right to marry by forcing them to say or do something irrelevant to qualify.

Since there was no specific reason why they would need to know the race of an individual before allowing them to marry, the fact that it is a requirement violates their rights.

Growing Every Day

While the United States has a very troubled history of racism and restricting certain people from their fundamental rights, it is changing. The Plaintiffs who filed the suit eventually won in the end, allowing them to receive a marriage license without stating their race first.

Fortunately, other parts of the country have long since moved on from these racist ideals for weddings. Wedding officiants OKC no longer hold prejudice towards couples, and organizing them is easier than ever.

So if you want to make your next wedding special you should contact Lifelong Wedding Ceremonies. Dr. Makayla Saramosing and Dr. Tinsley Keefe offer their expertise to ensure you can enjoy your fundamental right to marry whoever you want.

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