On May 15th 08, California’s Supreme Court hastily overturned the states ban on same sex marriage. When the new law went into effect on June 16th 08, a new format for marriage licenses was released. The marital titles of “Bride” and “Groom” had been changed to “Party A” and “Party B.” By changing the forms used at the Registrar of Vital Statistics, the California Supreme Court has stripped me and all other persons planning to be married hereafter of our constitutional right to our marital titles. They are on the brink of threatening the simple basics of other constitutional rights as well.
When I learned that California’s Supreme Court passed the law to allow same sex marriage, I was taken aback in disbelief. I realized that this bold change would impact the very infrastructure of our society on countless levels. I didn’t realize how close to home this would hit me until I saw the news on June 16th. When I learned they had changed the titles on the marriage licenses to such vague titles as “Party A” and “Party B,” I instantly realized my personal loss. My heart broke and I felt walked on. I realized that in the eyes of society at large and generations to come, I would lose my place as a bride on my wedding day to come.
I am not saying that on my wedding day someone will come in and strip me of my white dress, or at my wedding party, toast the “party A and B.” This movement has not yet become powerful enough to invade the traditions within our homes and churches, which we hold sacred. But, through the state, this dissemblance is encroaching upon the fringes of our sacred tradition of marriage and our constitutional (God given) rights of such.
What do I mean by the fringes? Well, a traditional marriage consists of three promises: first to God, then to each other, and also to the community. The promise a bride and groom makes to the community is very important because they form the base of our families who are the core of our communities. In this day and age, it is the community (the state and county) who keeps meticulous records of these promises. The Registrar of Vital Statistics is what holds people accountable to the obligations of marriage under the law. I believe that if we allow the description of the obligators (the bride and groom) to be depleted, it will result in the depletion of their obligations.
I contend that I have a constitutional, God given right to make a bride’s promise to my community on my wedding day. When they alter the records critical to our society’s foundation, they threaten and walk on our constitutional rights. Further, if we are not careful about protecting our record keeping processes and descriptions, we may lose other basic rights in the future.
Our process of obtaining a marriage certificate includes a licensing prerequisite to protect the standing of each marriage. Licensing processes are used in many venues to determine the eligibility of a person to obtain the status they are requesting. For example, when you apply for a driver’s license you must meet the requirements for vision, knowledge of traffic laws, and physical ability to control a vehicle. People with disabilities, such as quadriplegics and the blind, are protected under constitutional equality laws, but it is not discrimination to deny them licenses they are not qualified for. If we change all license prerequisites in order to qualify everyone protected under equality laws, we would have negated their purpose. Licenses are therefore privileges, not rights.
What we do have a right to are the vital certificates, once we have qualified for birth, marriage or death. We need to protect our methods of recordkeeping at this rate. If we find that sexual orientation is a protected class, will we next find transsexuals or people with sexual identity disorders are also protected? I foresee that they will next try to alter birth certificates to omit gender. Will our children be stripped of their right to be boys and girls? They have already taken away my right to be a bride! And they won’t stop there, believe me.