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Tag: Validation of interracial marriages

Today’s blog post reviews House Bill 134 (HB0134 (utah.gov)), entitled “Marriage Modifications”.

It addresses the validation and recognition of a marriage regardless of the race, ethnicity, or national original of the parties to the marriage, and would repeal a current provision in the Utah Code on interracial marriage (i.e.Utah Code § 30-1-2.2)

H.B. 134 would, if passed into law, enact a new code section, § 30-1-2.4, which is proposed as follows:

28          30-1-2.4. Recognition and validation of marriage regardless of race, ethnicity, or
29     national origin of the parties.
30          (1) As used in this section, “governmental entity” means the state, a county, a
31     municipality, a special district, a special service district, a school district, a state institution of
32     higher education, or any other political subdivision or administrative unit of the state.
33          (2) (a) A marriage between two individuals may not be deemed invalid or prohibited
34     on the basis of the race, ethnicity, or national origin of those individuals.
35          (b) A marriage between two individuals that was not valid or legal before July 1, 1965,
36     on the basis of the race, ethnicity, or national origin of those individuals is considered valid and
37     legal in this state.
38          (3) (a) A county clerk may not refuse to issue a marriage license on the basis of the
39     race, ethnicity, or national origin of the individuals applying for the marriage license.
40          (b) If an employee Ĥ→ [or public official, a public official, or a designee, ←Ĥ of a
40a     governmental entity is authorized to
41     solemnize a marriage under Section 30-1-6, the employee Ĥ→ [or public official, public official,
41a     or designee ←Ĥ may not refuse to
42     solemnize a marriage on the basis of the race, ethnicity, or national origin of the parties to the
43     marriage.
44          (4) A governmental entity, or an employee or public official of a governmental entity,
45     may not deny a right or claim arising from a valid and legal marriage between two individuals
46     on the basis of the race, ethnicity, or national origin of those individuals.

So, is H.B. 134 a good idea? In my view, no.

Utah does not ban interracial or inter-ethnic marriages, nor does it ban marriages on the basis of one’s national origin. We have no need of a law that “recognizes as valid” marriages that are already legally valid. I am not aware of anyone being denied a marriage license or marriage on the basis of his/her  race, ethnicity, or national origin in Utah in my lifetime either (Utah’s anti-miscegenation statute was repealed in 1963).

H.B. 134 appears to me to be unnecessary. If you were wondering whether Utah has a law on the books currently that bans or imposes restrictions on interracial marriage, it’s nothing that scandalous. Here is the law that H.B. 134 would repeal:

Utah Code § 30-1-2.2.  Validation of interracial marriages.

All interracial marriages, otherwise valid and legal, contracted prior to July 1, 1965, to which one of the parties of the marriage was subject to disability to marry on account of Subsection 30-1-2(5) or (6), as those subsections existed prior to May 14, 1963, are hereby valid and made lawful in all respects as though such marriages had been duly and legally contracted in the first instance.

Indeed, the H.B. 134’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Anthony E. Loubet who told St. George News, “It was very clear that you couldn’t discriminate against somebody getting married, based off their race, ethnicity or national origin, but what this does is update the code so it reflects what our current practices are and then allows people the peace of mind knowing that if anything ever happens or changes on the federal side, they still have their protection on the state level.”

(‘We need to be colorblind’: Utah’s revised interracial marriage bill passes House – St George News (stgeorgeutah.com))

Even the bill’s sponsor acknowledges there is no gaping hole or shameful stain on Utah law that needs to be addressed with any new law. There is no justification to “fix” what ain’t broke. The last thing we need is superfluous laws on the books.

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

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