Bench Memos

Meanwhile, Absurdity Replaces Vacuity

One of the minor affronts of the California gay-marriage ruling was that the words “bride” and “groom” on state marriage licenses were replaced by the expressions “Party A” and “Party B.”  Now comes word that the state’s health department (in charge of marriage licenses) is going to restore the traditional language:

Beginning Nov. 17, couples can check boxes next to their names indicating whether they are a bride or a groom. Couples can check bride and bride, groom and groom, or bride and groom, allowing for same-sex and opposite-sex pairings.

The trouble, of course, is that restoring the words won’t bring back the music of authentic marriage.  A bride has a groom, after all–not another bride.  So California has gone from language no one liked because it said nothing, to language no one should respect because it pays no respect to the truth that language should convey.  But at least the latest change has the virtue of reminding us of the California high court’s contradiction of the nature of things.

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