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Washington unveils revised marriage certificates for same-sex couples

Same-sex couples will now be able to choose "spouse" instead of "bride" or "groom" on the new Washington state marriage certificate unveiled Wednesday. (AP image)

The Washington State Department of Health has unveiled a newly revised marriage certificate that goes into effect along with the law approving same-sex marriage December 6.

Along with "bride" and "groom", Secretary of Health Mary Selecky approved the rules-change to add "spouse" to the form.

Selecky tells KIRO Radio while the original proposed change replaced "bride" and "groom" with "spouse," public comments at a hearing and sent to the department showed overwhelming demand for all three terms.

"We listened and we paid attention and clearly there was a strong feeling to keep the words bride and groom but we added gender-neutral spouse," she says.

As for which box to check?

"Well you can have any number of combinations, but we're going to leave it up to the couple that's getting married," she says.

While some counties including King won't be able to update their computer systems in time to meet the Dec. 6 deadline, Selecky says paper forms are being sent to registrars in all Washington counties so everyone getting married starting on that day will be able to get a new certificate.

The King County Recorder's Office plans to open at 12:01 a.m. Dec. 6 and stay open for 18 straight hours.

Couples can legally wed starting Dec. 9.

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