Traci Turpin of Knoxville, Tennessee, and her partner travelled to Washington DC for a little sight seeing, a little politics, and, oh yeah, a wedding.
"We had a nice ceremony. Shed some tears and walked away feeling confident and happy," said Turpin.
And when the newlyweds returned to Knoxville, Traci Turpin made a quick stop at the Social Security office to have her last name legally changed to that of her partner's. And then she stopped off at the DMV to change the name on her driver's license, too. No one batted an eye, and Traci left both offices with new identification, with her married name on each.
But before Traci Turpin could even get out of the West Knoxville DMV parking lot, an employee of the Department of Motor Vehicles approached her car and asked for the new license back.
"How dare her employee run out to my car, in front of everybody and say, 'You've got to give me the license back, we don't recognize same sex marriage,' out loud," questioned Turpin.
So, Traci Turpin refused.
And the employee called the Highway patrol, who forced Traci Turpin to hand over her new license, and have another issued with her old name on it. See, the State Department of Safety requires two documents in order to make such a change on a license: a current license and certified document showing reason for the name change.
And, for Traci Turpin this second document was her marriage license. However, since Tennessee does not recognize same sex marriages, this document was invalid. And Traci believes that if she had not told DMV employees of her good news, that she was married to a woman, she would still have the license with her new married name.
"I understand it's state law. I recognize that. I just want my name to match my social security card," Turpin says. She just wants her married name recognized, and, apparently that's not possible in Tennessee, unless she goes through other means and pays some $200 to do so.
It costs so much money to be gay, I just don't see why people wanna do it.
Name change? Write a check.
Hospital visitation rights? Get a lawyer to draw up the papers and charge it to your Visa. Adoption? Ka-ching; pay the bills.
It'd be cheaper to be straight.