I hate official forms, and now you will too

In the wake of the California Supreme Court putting its imprimatur on same-sex marriage, California’s efforts to desexualize marriage license forms haven’t been an overwhelming success.  You see, it turns out that a lot of people didn’t want to be Party A and Party B, so the state is going back to “bride” and “groom.”  To make things complicated, though, the form must continue to recognize the same-sex option:

The latest paperwork, which county clerks will be required to use starting Nov. 17, will have blank spaces for applicants’ names and personal information next to the words “First Person Data” and “Second Person Data” and optional boxes for checking “bride” or “groom.”

Because “bride” and “groom” appear in both sections, couples could check the same title twice to reflect a union between two men or two women. The health department also told county clerks that the designation of Groom or Bride is not required.

The whole thing strikes me as very clunky.  If it were me, I’d have three forms:  one for male-female, one for male-male, and one for female-female.  That way, you don’t have any confusion about checking boxes, which creates the potential for a marriage application unrelated to the people doing the applying.  After all, remembering what happened in Florida in 2000 when those boxes started becoming a little complicated.

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Comments

  1. 11B40 says

    Greetings:

    Maybe it would be better if you stuck with your legal career and left the forms analysis and design to people who know what they are doing. One of the basics of forms design is trying to combine information onto one form to reduce printing and inventory costs.

    But, more seriously, we both know the real problem here, just another minority appeased, just another little tyranny for everyone else, just another slice of the cultural salami gone. And just think what will happen when some of California’s finest legal minds get a chance to chew this over.

    Off course, if we do end up with separate forms, maybe we could print one on pink paper; but which one?

  2. suek says

    >>One of the basics of forms design is trying to combine information onto one form to reduce printing and inventory costs.>>

    Ok…seems reasonable.

    How about one form, two lines with two boxes each. Line one says “bride” & “groom”. Line 2 says partner A and partner B. Choice of line used is up to the couple.

    Or three lines with boxes: Homosexual male, homosexual female, heterosexual. Check one box. If heterosexual box is checked, place male name in box A (groom) and female name in box B (bride).

    Or just vote Yes on Prop 8 and make the whole thing go away.

  3. 11B40 says

    Greetings: suek et al.

    1) “How about one form, two lines with two boxes each. Line one says “bride” & “groom”. Line 2 says partner A and partner B. Choice of line used is up to the couple.”

    I think that I would prefer “party of the first part” and party of the second part”

    2) ” Or three lines with boxes: Homosexual male, homosexual female, heterosexual. Check one box. If heterosexual box is checked, place male name in box A (groom) and female name in box B (bride).”

    The H-word is no longer authorized for official use

    3) “Or just vote Yes on Prop 8 and make the whole thing go away”

    Suggestion accepted.

  4. Mike Devx says

    Putting ‘bride’ and ‘groom’ back into the application is one small step back toward sanity. But only one step, and only small.

    Adding additional rows for additional categorization is rather ridiculous to me.

    If the state feels such a compelling need to change things, how about this:

    Groom (A) :
    Bride (B) :

    And if anyone complains, just tell em, as an alternative for the relatively few people don’t like with the terminology, we’ve offered alternatives “A” and “B”. It’s a box to fill in: Fill it in. Choose one. Next!

    You do not make the ‘bride’ and the ‘groom’ identifications the alternatives; They are not supposed to be the alternatives, the additional items to be checked. They’re the PRIMARY ID!

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