Marriage certificate changes give options for couples

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OLYMPIA — Revisions to Washington’s marriage certificate to conform with the new same-sex marriage law gives couples options — gender-neutral or gender-specific terms. The new form has been sent to local auditors around the state. The form is effective Dec. 6 when the law takes effect. Marriage certificates are filed after the marriage.

Secretary of Health Mary Selecky approved the rules-change to add “spouse” to the existing language that includes “bride” and “groom.” Couples can check a box to choose the term they prefer.

The original proposed change was to replace “bride” and “groom” with “spouse,” but many public comments suggested providing optional language, and Selecky agreed. More than 100 public comments were taken in writing and at a hearing in Tumwater on Nov. 28.

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