Attorneys for Pacific Justice Institute represent Gideon Codding and Rachel Bird, the couple swept into the gay marriage debate when they jotted an explanatory "Groom" and "Bride" next to the state's new terms, "Party A" and "Party B," on their marriage license. The state rejected the couple's license, even though the same traditional terminology was used on the forms just weeks before. The forms had been changed after the state Supreme Court's gay marriage decision became effective June 17.
Late last week, the state announced that it will again change the forms, effective Nov. 17, to allow individuals to identify themselves on marriage licenses as either "Groom," "Bride," "First Person" or "Second Person." Couples would not be restricted in choosing designations corresponding to their gender.
Attorneys for Pacific Justice Institute are encouraged by the state's concession but caution that Gideon and Rachel - who to this day are not deemed legally married by the state - still face uncertainty, and the litigation will proceed until all issues are resolved. "The case is very much alive," noted PJI Chief Counsel Kevin Snider. "If Gideon and Rachel finally get their marriage license processed - as we have been led to believe will happen - that will be one of the first positive developments for traditional marriage since the state Supreme Court decision in May. But since we're talking about state bureaucracy, our optimism is mixed with vigilance." Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, added, "We at PJI are determined to continue this fight until we have a legally binding resolution protecting every future bride and groom in the state of California."
PJI has received invaluable assistance on this case from affiliate attorneys Steven N.H. Wood and Christopher Schweickert, of the Walnut Creek firm Bergquist, Wood & Anderson, LLP, who are working alongside PJI staff attorneys to jointly represent the Coddings.