Six Months After Gay Marriage Legalized in Florida, License Forms Still List Only Bride and Groom

Florida is slow to change marriage license forms to reflect the new reality.
Florida is slow to change marriage license forms to reflect the new reality.
Photo by George Martinez/gmartnx.com

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Florida since early January, but the state's Department of Health is having a hard time catching up to that reality. Florida's marriage license forms still list one partner as the "bride" and the other as the "groom," and same-sex couples are left to manually redefine the definition of marriage themselves by scratching those labels out on the forms. 

The Department of Health tells WBBH that it started thinking about the change in April and will get around to changing it eventually.

Though same-sex marriage has been legal in Florida for exactly six months and a day, the state still feels comfortable letting gay couples feel just a little excluded. 

Marriage licenses are under the purview of DOH, which is headed by surgeon general Dr. John Armstrong, who was appointed by and reports to Gov. Rick Scott. Those forms are computer generated before being printed out at clerk of courts offices, so one assumes it would be a rather quick fix.

The department tells WBBH it's working on it but has no timeline to complete the change. The governor's office has referred all comment back to the Department of Health. 

At least some think the delay isn't unintentional. 

"This is taking as long as marriage did — simply because Pam Bondi and our governor are still trying to hold us back," gay rights activist Arlene Goldberg told the station. 

"It's annoying, considering it's such a simple fix. And maybe in 20 or 30 years, we can just look back at this and kind of laugh," says Dan Selvey, who, when he was married last month, had to be legally listed as the bride.


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