Challenge to Virginia Laws on License to Perform Marriage, In re: Singh.
Virginia law requires that anyone who performs marriage ceremonies must be licensed by a circuit court judge. But the law imposes different requirements depending on whether the applicant is an “ordained minister.” Ordained ministers may be licensed without posting a bond, and any number of ministers from one congregation may be licensed. By contrast, religious organizations without ordained ministers are required to choose only one person to certify marriages, and that person must post a $500 bond. We represent four applicants from two Northern Virginia Sikh organizations who challenged those requirements in Fairfax County Circuit Court. We filed a brief on behalf of the petitioners on December 19, 2012, and arguments were heard on December 21, 2012. On March 29, 2013, the Fairfax County Circuit Court judge ruled in our favor, holding that the statue is unconstitutional and granting our clients authority to perform marriages.
Court Documents (click link to view .pdf)
Brief of Petitioners - Fairfax County Circuit Court
Letter Opinion - Fairfax County Circuit Court