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Marriage Certificates Replace Bride and Groom with Spouse and Spouse

Florida marriage certificate and license applications will change today to say "spouse" and "spouse." Credit: Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics
Florida marriage certificate and license applications will change today to say "spouse" and "spouse." Credit: Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics
September 14, 2015

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In a nod to the legalization of same-sex marriage, Florida marriage certificates and license applications will change, starting today, to read "spouse" and "spouse" instead of "bride" and "groom."

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Florida since Jan. 6, and nationwide since the U.S. Supreme Court decision in June.

Terry DeCarlo, executive director of the GLBT Center of Central Florida in Orlando, applauds the change, saying it's a matter of equality and respect.

"Of course, it needed to be done,” he states. “The marriage certificates before said 'bride' and 'groom.' When you have a same-sex marriage, there isn't a bride and a groom. There is a spouse and a spouse, a bride and a bride, a groom and a groom, so it just should have been 'spouse' and 'spouse.' Simple as that."

The Bureau of Vital Statistics says the change had to go through an administrative process that took some time.

But DeCarlo says it was a simple change that should not have taken nine months to accomplish.

"You take it as a slap in the face,” he says. “You take it as, yes, we had a marriage equality as of January but the state is still looking down at us as second-class citizens and saying, 'Uh, we'll get around to changing the forms online when we get around to it. We'll get around to it.' That's just unacceptable."

Marriage certificates are required to apply for a range of spousal protections and benefits. They can be ordered online with the Bureau of Vital Statistics. Marriage licenses come from one of 67 county clerks.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - FL