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State rushes to make marriage, divorce certificates fit same-sex couples
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State rushes to make marriage, divorce certificates fit same-sex couples

Prior to Dec. 6, the Washington State Department of Health will seek to change the wording on marriage and divorce certificates. (Photo: AP)

Less than two weeks before same-sex couples can begin to wed, state officials are working to tie up loose ends in the law.

Prior to Dec. 6, the Washington State Department of Health will seek to change the wording on marriage and divorce certificates. Spaces once reserved for a “bride” and “groom” will become more gender-neutral, according to department spokesperson Tim Church.

“Obviously those words aren’t going to fit everybody,” he said. “We are proposing a change were it will say something like ‘Spouse A’ and ‘Spouse B.'”

The state began the process of changing the wording on marriage and divorce certificates prior to the passage of Referendum 74, Church said.

“So we could have it moving ahead, because the time between the vote and the law taking effect was only 30 days,” he said. “So we started the process knowing we could just stop it if the initiative did not pass.”

The public will have a chance to weigh in on the proposed changes leading up to and during a public hearing on Wednesday. The hearing will begin at 8 a.m. at 310 Israel Rd. SE Rooms 152-153 in Tumwater, Wash.

Comments may also be submitted online or by mail to Washington State Department of Health, P.O. Box 47814, Olympia, Wash., 98504-7814.

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