Religion in Society

Couple Denied Marriage License for Filing as Bride & Groom

| by Pacific Justice Institute

Sacramento, CA – The State of California has agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by a couple whose marriage license was rejected last summer because they identified themselves as "Bride" and "Groom." The couple is represented by affiliate and staff attorneys with Pacific Justice Institute.

Gideon and Rachel Codding were married just after the state revised its marriage licenses to substitute the words "Party A" and "Party B" for the traditional designations "Bride" and "Groom." When the Coddings jotted an explanatory "Bride" and "Groom" next to their personal information, the State rejected their license, delaying for months their ability to make other legal changes to reflect their new union. The State insisted that the Coddings could only be married as "Party A" and "Party B."

The same day PJI attorneys filed suit, the State announced that it was nixing the controversial "Party A" and "Party B" marriage forms. The State has now agreed to settle the Coddings' suit by accepting their marriage license and paying attorney's fees. 

PJI received invaluable assistance in the case from Walnut Creek affiliate attorneys Steven N.H. Wood and Christopher Schweickert, of the law firm Bergquist, Wood and Anderson, LLP. Steven Wood commented, "The State's acceptance of the marriage license and agreement to pay our attorney's fees is a clear victory not only for the Coddings, but also for common sense. The State's previous rejection of the marriage license caused the Coddings considerable anguish, as well as financial harm. That has now been remedied."

Kevin Snider, Chief Counsel of Pacific Justice Institute, stated, "In the ongoing battle for traditional marriage, this is a gratifying win. As a decision in the Prop. 8 cases nears, PJI will continue to fight for the right of ordinary citizens to define the most basic institution of marriage. No court or state agency should be allowed to usurp that right."