Marriage equality vote means marriage, divorce certificates must change

Public hearing Nov. 28 for comments on changes in gender-specific terms
Nov 26, 2012

The Department of Health is seeking comments from the public on proposed changes in gender-specific terms for Washington’s marriage and divorce certificates in response to the new same-sex marriage law that takes effect on Dec. 6.

A public hearing will be held at 8 a.m., Wednesday, Nov. 28, at 310 Israel Road SE, Rooms 152-153, in Tumwater.

The department collects records of all people who marry or divorce in Washington, and issues copies of records to the public.

Current forms use gender-specific terms, including bride, groom, husband, and wife. State health officials propose using gender-neutral terms on certificates.

The proposal includes identifying the gender of couples on the certificate form, so the public will have information about the number of same-sex couples in Washington.

Proposed changes to the rule defining the content of Washington marriage and divorce certificates (WAC 246-491-149) are available on the agency’s website. Written comments on the proposed rule change will be accepted until 5 p.m. on Nov. 28, 2012.

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

The Department of Health website ( is your source for a healthy dose of information.


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