Virginia Will Not Pursue Charges Against Men Who Married as Bride and Groom

A couple who obtained a state marriage license and had a ceremony before authorities realized both were biological men will not face charges, officials said Monday.

Antonio E. Blount, 31, and Justin L. McCain, 18, faced misdemeanor false information charges, punishable by a fine up to $250.

Authorities said the couple applied for a license in Newport News Circuit Court in March and passed off McCain as "Justine." Officials realized later that McCain was actually born a man in North Carolina.

Court clerk Rex Davis sought an investigation because same-sex marriage is illegal in Virginia.

The case turned on whether the pair knowingly committed a fraud, something prosecutors couldn't determine, according to a letter Davis received Monday from Newport News Commonwealth's Attorney Howard E. Gwynn.

"We don't have the ability to prove beyond a reasonable doubt there was an intent to deceive," said Jack Fitzpatrick, a spokesman for Gwynn.

Fitzpatrick said Virginia law does not clearly define "bride" and "groom," which at the time were the only spaces on the marriage license application the couple filled out. The forms have since been changed to specify "male applicant" and "female applicant."

"Now that the forms have been changed, that is a crime and should someone do that again, they will be prosecuted," Fitzpatrick said.

The Associated Press has not been able to locate the couple.

When they applied to wed in March, McCain produced a Virginia driver's license, but officials overlooked the gender, which is denoted by an 'f' or 'm' centered against a darkened state seal.

When McCain returned to court in May to have his name changed to Penelopsky Aaryonna Goldberry, surprised officials checked paperwork and verified with North Carolina authorities that McCain was born there as a male.

It's unclear whether McCain has had a sex-change operation, though activists have speculated McCain might be a transgender individual whose appearance could be explained by hormones.

Monday, Davis accepted the decision not to press charges -- this time.

"I've been around a long time," Davis said, "and I would hesitate to say it could never happen again."