You Are Now Pronounced Party A and Party B

In the state of California, “Brides” and “Grooms” are no longer allowed to be joined into wedded bliss.

The new state marriage licenses now indicate a union between ”Party A” and “Party B” has taken place. 

A newly married California couple wrote “Bride” and “Groom” next to “Party A and Party B” on their marriage certificate because they wanted to be recognized as husband and wife.  The state denied their marriage license.  Their alteration was unacceptable according to the state’s office of vital records.

Why was it unacceptable?

Because in a 4-3 decision, California’s highest court indicated the legal definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman was unconstitutional.  The generic designations were added to the legal document after this ruling.

The couple had been urged by their pastor to cross out the generic terms and use Bride and Groom.

I’ve heard some arguments that folks are worried the terms Party A and Party B will eventually apply to anyone such as animals, sorry but I highly doubt it.  A man and a horse are not going to be married at the courthouse.

I personally don’t like the Party A or Party B designation because I feel the letter ”B” has always been considered inferior to letter ”A”.  In the interest of equality couldn’t they have come up with something different?  Something that doesn’t indicate superiority.

How about two lines next to each other.  One person would be referred to as the party on the “left”, the other, the party on the “right”.   Or maybe use a number and a letter indication such as one person is “Party A” and the other is “Party One”. 

Back in the day I probably would have happily signed on as “Party B”.  These days the Wild Boar and I would probably rock, paper and scissor it out to see who would get to sign as the more superior “Party A”. 

This whole debate makes me wonder if societies desire for inclusive tolerance creates a generic bland identity culture.  And if it does, is that a problem?  Or is it the way democracy should be interpreted?

It’s obvious the issues of neutral gender references will ping pong back and forth for generations to come.  There will always be a side of the coin not happy with the current climate of acceptable marriage in this country. 

It’s a tough one and will not, if ever, disappear anytime soon.

***On a lighter note, go check out the Potato Ho Down entries today happening here.  You don’t want to miss it!

Post a Comment


  1. Laura 1

    Yea. I hear you. I don’t think I would want to be party B either.
    How about….

    I now pronounce you “Peas and carrots”.
    I would want to be peas because I like the color green.

  2. Philly 2

    Well there Sista #1 and Sista#2 and this works out real good for us.


  3. HoneyB 3

    I just read this and think this is ridiculous. You are right….it will not disappear soon. Probably will never disappear. Everything is a controversy in this world.

  4. Becky 4

    I think people have too much time on their hands.
    There is a whole slew of other things the court system needs to be spending their time hashing out.

  5. Nancy 5

    “This whole debate makes me wonder if societies desire for inclusive tolerance creates a generic bland identity culture.”

    Yes! You said it in a nutshell.

    There will always be people who are offended by something. I say get over it. Spend your time being concerned with things that matter like world hunger or orphans and abused children. Not whether your feelings are getting hurt or you feel excluded.

    Like Becky said, there are issues that are way more important than this. This should not be taking up the courts’ time!

  6. I think it should read, “name” and “name.”


  7. I think its crazy. But as far as know I still am my husbands wife. Not party A or B. I wouldn’t be proud to be party A or B. I agree with the last person, just put your name down.
    For the record, we eloped and I don’t even remember getting the marriage licence let alone signing it. I must go and hunt for it today. For all I know I put someone eles name on it.

  8. Tammy 8

    I like the Party on the Left of the bed and the Party on the Right of the bed, myself. No switching sides during sleep. No stealing covers. Amen.

  9. How about, the Snoring Party and the Non-Snoring Party? That fits just about every couple I know. Same sex and hetero.

  10. I agree with everyone else here…with all the problems going on in the world (the war, the economy, the health care system) this is what the government and courts are spending their time on? It’s unreal to me. It really is.

  11. interesting post. What if the couple decided to switch off? Like, you be party A this week and I’ll be party A next week?

  12. Laura 12

    i personally think it is stupid and it simply shows the decline of this country… sigh

  13. I agree that Party A and Party B may not be the perfect solution but I think the reason behind the change is a solid one. Name and Name is the best solution I’ve heard so far.

  14. I like gorillabuns’ idea of “name” and “name”!!

  15. Marcy 15

    wow. Tacky with a capital T.

  16. how about “A union between these people __________ and ___________”

    Party on?

  17. Trisha 17

    Hmmmm. Party A and Party B. Interesting. I do wonder about always being Party B though. Like when we sign our taxes, I am always second, never first. What is up with that?

  18. This appears to be a case where the intention is good but the result is bizarre and pretty ridiculous…

  19. Well, with my hubby and I it would make sense for him to be “A” since his last name starts with A and mine starts wtih Z and I was all stubborn and wouldn’t change my last name for him, so he has a pretty legitimate claim to the A.

    Could you imagine certain couples having to deal with who is the “bride” and who is the “groom”? I think that’s way worse. My friend Mike is always saying when he and his partner finally marry (and they’re in MA, so they can) it’s going to be tough enough to decide who will wear hte dress. ;-D

  20. magpie 20

    Party A and Party One is great.

  21. Marjie 21

    America is the “melting pot”, but everyone identifies themselves as being something else, like Italian or Irish (seemingly the most popular here on the East Coast), and Nixon created an artificial division in Caucasians by creating Hispanics – that’s the truth! (The first time I heard the nomenclature “Hispanic”, I was confused, and asked if Hispanics weren’t just white people with really great hair!). Now we’re supposed to celebrate everyone’s differences, instead of being just one big country with people doing their own things – like southerners eating grits and northerners eating hash browns with their bacon & eggs. Oh, yeah, bacon & eggs are politically incorrect, too. Did you know that they no longer put height and weight on drivers licenses in New York, because that might cause discrimination against obese people? And now you can’t be “bride and groom” because that would discriminate against “non-traditional” couples. What was that old song – “Make the World Go Away”? Yeah, things like this make me feel like that. And I let my dearly beloved be Party A; it doesn’t cost me anything to make him feel good!

  22. Interesting. I never considered “B” to be inferior…it’s just the next in line. And, actually, when it comes to Plans, B isn’t one you *want* to use, but you’re really glad is there when you have to! It often turns out to be a better Plan than Plan A anyway. ;)

    And, about the wording…I’m just glad they’ve finally gotten away from the “man and wife” thing. ;)

  23. I think a good alternative would be to have both available. I’ve had a few gay friends who would’ve been fine with using man and wife as well, if you are picking up what I am laying down.
    Either way, I think it is a small price to pay for the equality of the whole.

  24. Louise 24

    As a woman who never had to wonder if I would ever be able to marry the love of my life, it was a thrill beyond words to see the many couples in the SF Gay Freedom Day Parade carrying Party A and Party B signs down the parade route. Needless to say, the crowd was going wild!

  25. Teri 25

    I used to fight for everything when I was younger. I took out the “obey” thing in my vows at the catholic wedding ceremony. And made sure the priest said, “husband” not man and wife. What was up with that??? Anyway, if people want equality on this… well then, let them eat cake! As long as A & B is the happy medium. Maybe I’d do a coin flip for the “A” spot!

    And NO this is definitely not going away anytime soon.

  26. Chinya 26

    I like husband and wife. I believe in the one and only meaning of marriage…that is between man and woman. But I love everyone and would never waste my time debating the issue. That being said, I like the peas and carrots idea-they’ve always worked well together in my opinion!

  27. Teri 27

    Sidenote: 20 married years later… We fight so hard for things on paper when I think we lose sight of what’s really important in our lives. Is the A & B or Peas & Carrots or whatever really what’s going to make everyone happy?

  28. Alisa 28

    It’s odd to most of us because that’s not the “way we did it”, but our children will never think twice about it. I love the peas and carrots idea. Or, for my husband and I apples and oranges. Sometimes we’re onion and garlic though.
    It does help to de-personalize our world though, that way when bad things happen, we can just say, “Oh, did you hear about what happened to Party A today?” Much less guilt is felt that way. It helps to maintain our feel good society.

  29. Laura 29

    I would go with this.

  30. Natty 30

    I think this highlights the difference between civil marriage and religious marriage. Marriage is first and foremost a legal arrangement, not a romantic one. I give this one a big thumbs up. If people need Husband & Wife status and that’s what pleases them, get thee to a church who will pronounce them as such. :-)

  31. Cheryl 31

    When my twins were in-utero, I took issue with the “A” and “B” assignation then for the very implied “superiority” and way-too-neutral identity-wise reasons you’ve cited! To me, whether in-womb or in-wedding, the designations as such sound way too impersonal… and smack of forced acknowledgment rather than the fact no matter the genders, you are dealing with two PEOPLE…

    How’s about just blank lines and the intervention of a person to explain what goes where?

    I really liked being the bride…was the only time I got that title officially (other than from my beloved husband)…Party A or B seems applicable anywhere. :( Diminishes the specialness of the commitment.

    Think if I were gay and wedding a same-sex partner, I’d select “bride” or “groom” over “A” or “B.”

  32. misty 32

    Great topic… I agree with the assessment of A and B and feel that they could have been a bit more creative while remaining professional. HOWEVER the pastor encouraging them to write Bride and Groom is just silly.

  33. krysta 33

    since we live near each other and i’m pretty sure it’s the same couple… god were they smug making an issue of something when there is a billion other things to think about!i love everybody else’s ideas… it doesn’t matter… peas and carrots, left side right side of the bed, good cop bad cop… you’re married dang it! if the state really wants to fix this make 3 different licenses… bride and groom, groom and groom, and bride and bride but even if they did that someone would complain.

  34. It gives me a headache. I’m glad I didn’t go to law school!

  35. ALF 35

    I would be totally pissed if I had to be Party A or Party B. I am a wife. I want the form to indicate that!

  36. Liz C. 36

    Aren’t we the only country that even tries to be politically correct about everything?

    I agree with others, they should be spending more time on things that actually matter. The whole thing is totally ludicrous.

    I would definitely go with “name” and “name”, just for the sake of simplicity. No confusion or tossing coins there.

    Other countries must read about this kind of thing going on over here and think we’re all bonkers. It isn’t even an issue in most countries. But, we have a lot of bible thumpers in this country who argue over almost everything with everyone. It’s just makes us all look crazy. I say “Each to his own.” and “Live & Let Live”…

  37. phillygirl64 37

    Folks, it’s just spaces on a form…a form very few people will ever look at after all is said and done…and if you think A is superior to B, then that’s you

  38. Mrs. L 38

    Well, I’m not sure some of the options would work as I know my husband and I would fight over who was deemed left and who was deemed right! (cuz I’m always right, correct? :)

  39. I’d make a comment about party A and party B, but I’m still stuck on the potato page, thinking about how good they would taste – any of them, all of them…
    But no, despite your temptations, I shall stay on my diet, so there !

  40. I think that’s a great solution. Now don’t call it marriage call it Legal Joining.
    Marriage shouldn’t be defined by the state.
    A+B=1 seems more like algebra.

  41. Not in Mississippi. California used to be the land of fruits and nuts because of its produce.

  42. Bunny 42

    I always ribbed my husband at tax time cause he always signed first on the tax forms,not now though cause I’m the owner of the business we have , hee hee!!

  43. I don’t think a desire for inclusive tolerance creates a generic bland identity culture. I think the issue is bureaucracy. Is overbureacratization a word? It should be.

    I’m with gorillabuns (a statement I am quite sure I’ve never said before) – “name” and “name”.

  44. Bunny 44

    Cathy I’ve given you an award, come and see.

  45. scissors, paper, rock…that’s the best solution I’ve heard of! Who cares who is A or B or husband or wife??? You certainly have the right idea, Cathy, and I totally agree!

  46. Jan 46

    Amen! :-)

  47. Amber 47

    Our government screwing up again. How much did they get paid to come up with this?

    I find it offensive personally. I am one half of an equal couple, not the 2nd person. I like “name” and “name” but even then someone is going to be the second name.

    And you know, I would be more okay with this shit if all men stepped up to the plate and became men of honor. Can you say, amen!

  48. Daziano 48

    I never thought of B being inferior either… but I guess it’s because I did’t grow up in North America. It’s true for North American grades, and it’s also true for celebrities (A-listed, B-listed, etc), so finally I got your point. I think my Italian macho side would say ‘women first’ which solves the problem for traditional couples. Same-sex couples wouldn’t be worried about a detail like that… I think it’s more important to have the right of getting married than who goes first. I wonder how did they solve the problem here in Canada?

    But I think I disagree with you in one point, dear noble pig… you say that the legal definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman was considered to be unconstitutional. Is this really so? Or is it more like that “the legal definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman ONLY was considered to be unconstitutional”? I mean, you still will be groom and bride (maybe not in the paper), and husband and wife… and using those words won’t be illegal after all. I hope! ;)

  49. giz 49

    That’s the most hysterical thing I’ve heard in ages. Why didn’t they just call it the party of the first part and the party of the second part entering into a legally binding agreement until they hate each other.

  50. Woah…who is this Giz person and why is she so bitter?

    Oh…nevermind…It’s my mother.

  51. Flea 51

    Oh fer cryin’ out loud.

  52. I think marriage is the union of two persons so let’s just call it the union of __________ and _______.


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