Florida removes ‘Bride’ and ‘Groom’ from marriage licenses

Supporters of same sex marriage carry banners and shout slogans as they gather on a street in Sydney on August 6, 2017. Australia's Liberal Party, the senior partner in the ruling coalition, is set to debate its same-sex marriage policy on August 7 amid tensions between conservative and moderate elements over whether to dump a policy of holding a plebiscite on the issue in favour of other options, despite strong popular support for marriage equality. / AFP PHOTO / PETER PARKS (Photo credit should read PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images)

Florida has amended its marriage licenses to conform with the existence of same-sex marriage.

Equality became law in Florida earlier this year, when a court ruled that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right, despite aggressive legal opposition from Attorney General Pam Bondi.

However, months later the state is finally adapting to include same-sex marriage in state-wide policies.

Florida’s Bureau of Vital Statistics and Florida Department of Health circulated new forms to Clerks of Court across the state this week, which removes gendered terms suggesting only men and women can marry.

From Monday, marriage licenses will no longer feature the terms “bride” and “groom” – replaced with two gender-neutral fields for “spouse”.

A number of other US states are still yet to act to adapt their procedures to include same-sex marriage, after the US Supreme Court brought equality to the entire nation in May.

Controversy in Florida is far from over, however, with Bondi accused last month of refusing to pay legal fees for her costly war against same-sex marriage.

The thrice-married Ms Bondi – who was named ‘loser of the year’ for her sad attempts to stall equality – has indicated the state won’t be paying legal fees in the case.

However she objected to a motion from lawyers who sued for legal recognition for marriage, claiming that the state shouldn’t have to cover the cost of the appeals process because it dismissed it ‘voluntarily’ after the Supreme Court verdict.

Elizabeth White, a Jacksonville civil rights attorney, said: “It’s ludicrous. Quite frankly, the state vigorously litigated this. Now they’re saying, ‘We lost, but we don’t want to pay’.”

It is not known how large the legal bill will be for the case – but it could be as much as $500,000.