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SPOKANE COUNTY, WA - One Spokane County couple was in Washington State Supreme Court Thursday calling for courts to allow for the removal of racially restrictive covenants from public records.

If you take a look at original documents for your home like a title or deed, there may still be racist language, aimed at preventing people of color from buying or living in that home.

Racist language like: "No race or nationality other than the white race shall use or occupy any building on any lot."

Now, none of that language is enforceable thanks to a 1948 Supreme Court ruling and the 1968 Fair Housing Act, but in many areas this language is still in original documents... including Spokane.

"I was completely shocked, and my fiancé is Hispanic. So, for me, it was just so shocking that he could own a house where the documents say he's not allowed to live there. Except as a servant," One woman is heard saying in a previous KHQ report.

A different case, Alex May vs. Spokane County started in 2018. The local couple found racist language in the deed to their home and wanted it completely removed from original documents.

"Alex May has the right to enjoy his property and he did not want to be burdened with carrying the racism in his title deed," Yajaira Lujano, Alex May's counsel said.

But taking it out is tricky.

"Does removing all evidence of the racist convent eradicate discrimination or just eradicate evidence that there was discrimination," Justice G. Helen Whitener asked.

"It's one thing to change the chain of title, but it's another thing to destroy history, and whitewash history," Vicky Dalton, the Spokane County Auditor said.

It's a part of history, something Dalton told the courts and Alex May in 2019 saying they can't erase history and Thursday reiterating that point:

"That's really dishonoring all those people who fought so hard to make those racially restrictive covenants illegal and unenforceable. Removing that information also removes the ability of anybody to study redlining to study the discrimination... so destroying history," she said.

Dalton said that that several states passed similar bills this last legislative session and several other states are working on similar legislation. This bill and Supreme Court case can serve as a model for other states trying to adopt similar bills.

This article originally ran on khq.com.

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