Last week the marriage license that he filed with Placer County was sent back along with a notice of rejection. "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 stated. The applicants, 'Gideon and Rachel', wrote the words 'groom' and 'bride' next to 'Party A' and 'Party B' because they wished to have their legal union officially recognized as a covenant between a husband and wife. The County Recorder's Office stated that the State Office of Vital Records deemed the hand written words 'bride and groom' to be an 'unacceptable alternation.' "What's next? Will the State of California force. . .[ministers] to use the terms 'Party A' and 'Party B' in the ceremony itself?" Bird wrote in an open letter dated September 4, 2008.
The change on legal documents is the result of a ruling by the state's high court that found that defining marriage as exclusively between a man and woman violated the California Constitution. The 4-3 decision threw out a state statute passed by the voters in 2000. As such, the only recourse available to those wishing to preserve the orthodox meaning of marriage is to change the state constitution. The voters will get that chance when they go to the polls in November and vote on the marriage amendment (Proposition 8). "Unless Proposition 8 is passed, heterosexual couples will be forced to wed out of the state if they wish to be officially identified as bride and groom or husband and wife." Brad Dacus, PJI president, commented. "This is a major slap in the face for traditional marriage," Dacus continued.
"The view that gay marriage does not take anything away from traditional married couples is a denial of the legal realities," stated Kevin Snider, PJI's Chief Counsel. "The evidence is on the face of the new marriage licenses, and absent the passage of Prop 8, this will remain the law in California. Identifying couples as husband and wife on legal documents will be deemed an 'unacceptable alteration,'" Snider explained.