Nine months after gay marriage became legal in Florida, the verbiage on the state's marriage certificates have finally caught up. Instead of listing spaces for "husband" and "wife," the forms now simply read "spouse." Naturally, divorce paperwork will also be updated.
According to the Buzz, clerks of court offices received copies of the updated forms today and will begin using them October 1.
The forms are under the auspices of the Department of Health, and the department, headed by the Rick Scott-appointed Surgeon General John Armstrong, certainly dragged its feet on updating the paperwork. Because the forms are computer-generated at each office, one assumes it would take only a few clicks on a computer in Tallahassee to fix this problem. Yet it took the DOH nine months to get around to it. The department didn't even think about changing the forms until April, four months after the state's same-sex-marriage ban was struck down.
Before the change, many clerks simply crossed out "husband" and "wife" and wrote in "spouse" anyway.
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The change also comes as the first lesbian couple married in Florida has filed suit against the state to allow both of their names to appear on their child's birth certificate. Birth certificates don't necessarily list the child's biological parents and post-birth changes after adoption are regularly made to reflect the child's new parents. The state's Bureau of Vital Statistics, also under the umbrella of the DOH, refuses to list two same-sex parents.