Thursday, September 11, 2008

Here Comes the "Party A"?


In May of this year, the California Supreme Court held, "that the California legislative and initiative measures limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples violate the state constitutional rights of same-sex couples and may not be used to preclude same-sex couples from marrying." In re Marriage Cases and Marriage by Any Other Name Not As Sweet. The decision has been heralded as a milestone victory for the civil rights of gay couples. Regardless of how you feel about the decision, what is troubling to me is the subsequent "slap" to those desiring to wed using the traditional marriage terminology.

When my husband and I applied for our marriage license (in California), we filled out our respective "bride" and "groom" sections. That is, sadly, no longer an option for couples applying for marriage licenses in California today. The form has been modified to say, "Party A" and "Party B," instead. The modification, would not be problematic if there remained the option to be designated "bride" or "groom," but in California, that does not seem to be an option anymore. Here is the excerpt from the story found on worldnetdaily.com:The couple had written the words "bride" and "groom" next to "Party A" and "Party B" because they wanted to be legally recognized as husband and wife. However, the Placer County marriage license was denied. "I received back the license and a letter from the Placer County Clerk/Recorder stating that the license 'does not comply with California State registration laws,'" Bird said in a statement from the Pacific Justice Institute. It was an "unacceptable alteration," the County Recorder's Office claimed the State Office of Vital Records determined.

Advancements in the civil rights of one group of people should not infringe on the rights of another group. If a couple desires to be legally recognized as a married couple using traditional marital terminology, I cannot understand why they would be precluded. Thoughts?

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm curious how long the sovereign Supreme Court of the state of California will continue to discriminate against parties C and D...

Tom said...

I think we're talking tempest in a teapot here. Isn't the most important part of marriage the part that takes place in church? And certainly no pastor or priest is required to say, "You may now kiss Party B."

Kelly J. Bozanic said...

Maybe so, Tom, but I thought an argument in support of gay marriage was the legal right to be recognized as a married couple with all of the attendant status. If legal recognition by certain terms is not important, then why aren't civil unions - with all of the same marital benefits - sufficient for gay couples? I think the reason is that there is something about the terms. Assuming that is the case, if a bride wishes to be legally recognized as such, it seems an infringement of her rights to deny her that status.

As for polyamorous marriage, Anonymous, I think I will leave that can of worms alone for now! Thank you for the comment, though.

Anonymous said...

Civil unions are not equal as noted by the CA Supreme Court because they imply a lesser or inferior status and are not universally recognized.As for the bride/groom issue,it really is a non issue.Whwn one is married they is a bride and groom or perhaps a groom & groom,or bride & bride.The marriage certificate is merely a supporting legal document,in no way does it diminish the nature or status of traditional marriage terminology.No one is going to say "oh, what a lovely Party A & her handsome Party B".Just as you will hear at same gender weddings where people remark on "how happy the grooms look".This is merely a fundie couple wishing to stir up trouble and influence the vote on Prop 8.I live in CA and marriage equality is being accepted and embraced by most Californians.