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Couple unlawfully wed for 48 years

Bob and Norma Clark are finally married...after spending nearly half a century as husband and wife.

The couple from Redlands, California, had celebrated their 48th anniversary in August and in November, were getting their end-of-life documents in order and sought a copy of their marriage licence for Social Security purposes.

The Clarks, who met at college, took their vows at a church south of San Francisco in August 1964, shortly after Mr Clark had served in the army during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

But when clerks at the Hall of Records in San Mateo County tried to pull up the licence last month, they came up empty.

"They went back to the year 1956, but no record of our marriage could be found," Mr Clark told the Redlands Daily Facts.

The church where they had married still had a record of the ceremony, so they knew they had not imagined it, and several of the couple's family members and friends who had been wedding guests were about to come over for Thanksgiving.

On November 21 they made their marriage "legitimate", filing their paperwork and obtaining their licence at the San Bernardino County Hall of Records, with the maid of honour and a junior usher from the original wedding serving as witnesses.

Mr Clark brought flowers for Norma, and, at the urging of family and friends, kissed the bride to seal the deal.

"I got her a nice bouquet, and it was just a hoot," he said.

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