Heteros: Give us marital rights!

A straight couple protests California's, um, discriminatory gender-neutral marriage license.

Published September 18, 2008 9:50PM (EDT)

As heterosexual couples have been allowed to do for ages, Rachel Bird and Gideon Codding of Sacramento, Calif., did the whole white wedding thing and applied for a marriage license. But then, two weeks after the wedding ceremony, they received some bad news: Their marriage application was rejected.

See, the couple was so offended by California's new gender-neutral marriage license that they scrawled, and then marked with a yellow highlighter, the words "bride" and "groom" next to the official language, "Party A" and "Party B," on the form. The couple later received a letter in the mail from the state's Office of Vital Records saying that their application had been rejected because they had altered the form. Whaddaya know, California officials don't feel that an official government document is an appropriate place to take out heterosexist angst! The letter informed them that to be legally recognized as a married couple, they would simply have to fill out the form again -- correctly.

That's fair enough, since it is what is expected of all people on nearly all government forms. Except Bird and Codding refuse to complete the form without providing unprompted political commentary. "We are traditionalists -- we just want to be called bride and groom," Bird told the Sacramento Bee. "Those words have been used for generations and now they just changed them." She added, "We just feel that our rights have been violated." What's more, Bird's father, Doug Bird, happens to be a pastor at Roseville's Abundant Life Fellowship and is asking his flock to do the same. "If ever there was a time for the people of the United States" -- minus the homos! -- "to stand up and let their voices be heard -- this is that time," he wrote in a letter to congregants.

I could point out that they were referred to as "bride" and "groom" in their wedding ceremony; that they feel like a bride and groom, as Bird herself says; that they are legally allowed to get married; and that the words "Party A" and "Party B" are just legalese on an official government document and wouldn't affect their marital rights or the nature of their relationship. But then they might offer a retort like: "If they're just words, why can't gay couples live with the traditional terms 'bride' and 'groom'?" And then I might snap: "But there's a difference between a government document that refers to you as something that you are are -- two legal parties -- and something that you aren't -- a bride and groom, in the case of a same-sex couple, who are, by the way, now legally allowed to marry. The form doesn't refer to you as 'Party A, who believes that the legalization of same-sex marriage is friggin' fantastic!' It simply refers to you as a person -- and you are one, I'm pretty sure -- who would like to marry another person."

Ah, but what would be the point! They're throwing a tantrum of privileged prejudice, and to pretend otherwise and debate them on the topic would be like trying to decipher a hideous, cacophonous alien language. I would pack my things and book a ticket to the moon, except this just in: Opposition to the proposed same-sex marriage ban is growing.

(Via Feministing.)

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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