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US: Words ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ axed from marriage certificates

The health department in the US state of Washington is to remove the words “husband” and “wife” from marriage and divorce certificates, after same-sex marriage was approved in a recent referendum.

The state began changing the legal document wording before the public vote even happened, according to a spokesman.

Tim Church, from the health department, said spaces once reserved for a “bride” and “groom” will become more gender-neutral.

He said: “We are proposing a change where it will say something like ‘Spouse A’ and ‘Spouse B’.”

The law comes into effect on 6 December.

Over 30 states have voted against redefining marriage, just three have voted in favour.


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