Norm Needleman


Norm Needleman



March 31, 2021

Senator Needleman Gives Support to Legislation Removing Race from Marriage, Land Records

As the Judiciary Committee today discussed it in public hearing, State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex) gave his support to legislation that seeks to prohibit restrictive covenants based on race, specifically removing race-based restrictions and covenants from land records and marriage licenses in Connecticut. As recent developments have shown, there are still structural problems in the statutes and regulations of Connecticut, making this legislation even more necessary to pass.

“Connecticut is one of just a handful of remaining states that require couples to identify their race before they can receive marriage licenses, and as we recently learned, some towns have properties with race-related restrictions barring purchase by non-white couples, in documents dating back decades, if not further,” said Sen. Needleman. “These rules and standards are outdated by decades, if not centuries, and we need to take this opportunity to realign them with the modern day. I look forward to supporting this legislation on the Senate floor.”

House Bill 6665, “An Act Concerning The Removal Of Restrictive Covenants Based On Race And Elimination Of The Race Designation On Marriage Licenses,” would create a process at the town level to assist citizens who have identified racist covenants within deeds to have the language removed. It would additionally remove race from the information a couple must provide to a registrar in seeking a marriage license.

According to an article in the Middletown Press written in March 2020, some property records in the state still have restrictions in place preventing their conveyance or lease “to any other than the Caucasian Race,” to quote one property’s restrictions. In the 1900s and before, race-based restrictions were commonly found in housing and property records, even after the Supreme Court struck down such rules in 1948, and as some went unnoticed or unchanged since that time, they still exist today.

Removing the race requirement on marriage licenses would end a practice first put into place in 1848. The state Department of Public Health says it does not use the collected information, only collecting it due to a currently existing statutory requirement.