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The Marriage License Discrimination

After you get married in Oakland County, Michigan, you don't automatically get a certified copy of your marriage license. You have to buy one.  (Surprise!)  You can order one on-line for the low, low price of $20, and it'll arrive in a week or two.  Or three.  Whenever.  Or you can pay an extra $20 and get it within 48 hours.  Or you can drive to the courthouse and pick it up (40 minutes each way, plus time waiting in line).

I went on-line to order one.  It was easy enough to locate the web page to do it.  But when I got to the actual ordering, I ran into a conundrum.  Our original wedding license application had called for "Applicant A" and "Applicant B."  But this form asked for "Bride" and "Groom."

Neither Darwin nor I were the bride, and neither one of us is the wife.  (Anyone idiot who asks which of us fullfils that role will get summarily socked in the face, and I'm dead serious about that, so don't do it.)  Since government forms are notoriously picky about a certain name being in a certain blank, I called the courthouse to find out what was going on.

After negotiating the phone tree, I found myself pressing 3 for "information about ordering a marriage certificate."  The very nice recording told me that I needed the date and place of the wedding, along with the names of the bride and the groom.  Uh huh.

I hung up and redialed, this time going for the operator.  When I got a live human on the line, I explained what I needed.  "The form asks for the name of the bride, but my husband and I got married last weekend, and neither of us fits that."

"Oh," the lady answering the phone said.  "Let me check on that."

A few minutes of hold time passed and she returned.  "We have Darwin McClary listed under 'bride,'" she said.

Stony silence from me for a moment.  "You know that he wasn't, right?"

"Yes," she sighed, "but the state hasn't given us the money to go in there and fix that."

"Your phone tree has the same thing on it," I pointed out, wondering how much money it could possibly cost to change the web site.

"Does it?" She sounded surprised.  "I'll write a letter to the supervisor about changing it."

I hung up.

Clearly not everything has been fixed yet.  Women who marry each other in Oakland County have to go through the same process, except one of =them= has to be listed as the husband.  This isn't right.  Not only is it ridiculous, it's flatly inaccurate, and government records need to be accurate.

Now I'm wondering what the official marriage license will say.

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Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
deborahjross
Oct. 30th, 2015 05:58 pm (UTC)
Ridiculous doesn't come close.

If husband = wage-earner, wife = housekeeper, then many straight marriages are between a female husband and a male wife.

delkytlar
Nov. 2nd, 2015 04:48 am (UTC)
I suspect what you encountered was more bureaucratic inefficiency than direct discrimination. The fact that a government agency doesn't have all of their forms and databases in-sync with recent changes in legislation doesn't surprise me. When I interned with the City of New York in college, we were tasked with installing the first citywide computerized payroll system in various agencies. Even though some agencies had as much as two years advance notice of new terminology that would apply to leave time in the new system, very few had their paper forms updated in time for the system start.

In Publishing, it took most publishers several years to adapt their database systems to handle ISBN-13s in a direct fashion. Let's hope that the woman on the phone did understand the issue, and her willingness to escalate notice of the disparity will result in corrections being made soon.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
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