REDLANDS, Calif.—After spending nearly a half-century as husband and wife, Bob and Norma Clark are finally married.
The couple from Redlands east of Los Angeles celebrated their 48th anniversary in August, and in November sought a copy of their marriage license for Social Security.
The Redlands Daily Facts (http://bit.ly/USuEXG) reports that San Mateo County in Northern California could find no evidence the union was ever filed.
The Clarks' church had a record of the 1964 ceremony, and several of the original witnesses were about to arrive for Thanksgiving, so on Nov. 21 they made their marriage legitimate, obtaining their license at the San Bernardino County Hall of Records.
Bob Clark brought a bouquet for Norma, and at the urging of family and friends kissed the bride to seal the deal.
Evidently, if an incompetent clerk down at the Bureau of Records files your marriage certificate in the wrong pigeon hole or mistakenly dumps it in the wastebasket with some Kleenex, you're not really married, even if a ceremony was held at church and you live together for 48 years. It is up to the state to determine if, in fact, you're really married, if you've made a vow and commitment to another. If there isn't any state-stamped, bureaucrat-approved documentation, you've lived in sin for almost half a century. Furthermore, it's one party's word against another and the word of the state counts more than that of one of its subjects.