Published: Thursday, May. 27th, 2021
Connecticut is the latest state to vote on removing questions about a couple’s race from their marriage licenses, as House Bill 6665 passes the House and moves to the Senate.
Update: HB 6665 was passed and signed by the Governor on July 12, 2021. See the updated statute and others on our Connecticut Marriage Laws page.
The practice of asking a couple to disclose their race on a marriage license is an outdated remnant of Jim Crow-era laws that made interracial marriages illegal, and continues to cause problems for couples in regions where these marriages are still actively discriminated against.
Most states have updated their laws to remove this question from the license, including a 2020 victory in Virginia following a very public federal lawsuit. In 2019, couples rightfully sued Virginia, claiming that the state’s marriage license application process was "offensive," "unconstitutional" and "reflective of a racist past.” (And it was!)
CT House Bill 6665 would repeal and replace Section 46b-25, removing this question, along with making other changes to antiquated state laws regarding race (portion to be removed is in brackets) :
No license may be issued by the registrar until both persons have
appeared before the registrar and made application for a license. The
registrar shall issue a license to any two persons eligible to marry under
The license shall be completed in its entirety, dated, signed
and sworn to by each applicant and shall state each applicant's name,
age, [race,] birthplace, residence, whether single, widowed or divorced
and whether under the supervision or control of a conservator or
We certainly hope this passes and will keep you up to date on the Senate’s decision. No couple should be denied the right to marry, or feel uncomfortable while applying for a marriage license or completing paperwork on their wedding day!
A similar bill in Minnesota ( Senate File 1343 ) is also being considered, but hasn’t progressed since early March, after its introduction in February, 2021. The Minnesota legislature is currently in Recess.
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