Marriage license terminology is just one example of Allegheny County's no-can-do attitude

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Regarding the article “Who’s the Bride and Who’s the Groom? When Applying for Marriage Licenses, Same-Sex Couples are Wondering” (Aug. 16): The passage of marriage equality in Pennsylvania was a milestone that my partner and I never could have imagined in our lifetimes. After 28 years we don’t need a piece of paper to validate our relationship, but we want the same legal rights and financial benefits as other married couples.

The real issue here is not so much the old language on Allegheny County’s website (which also still uses the terms “husband and wife” for requesting a copy of a marriage record) but the no-can-do attitude and response from county chiefs. As much as top county officials like to brag about the county’s increased efficiency, it seems that there are still dinosaurs lurking among the dusty offices of county government.

How much guidance does Kate Barkman, director of court records, need in changing the terminology from “bride and groom” to “applicant” as many other counties in the state took the initiative and had the common sense to do?

After working in county government for 33 years and now retired, I think this is just one of many examples where the public and even employees of this county should not accept an answer they feel is not right. It’s not unusual to receive different answers from people who should be in the know. I can’t tell you how many times changes to policy and procedure occurred, albeit at a snail’s pace, because of one squeaky wheel or even at the whim or moods of judges and administrators.

While the passage of marriage equality is likened to putting a man on the moon, having a change made in some county departments, however small, remains in the Stone Age.

By the way, I won the coin toss and I’ll be the blushing bride.


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