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.