Thursday, January 30, 2014

Married Same-Sex Couple On Probation Awaiting Name Change

Brianna Hoskins and Crystal Reese were legally married in New York and, as many married couples do, they wanted to share the same last name.

Easier said than done.

After returning home to Chesterfield Township in Michigan, the couple went to the Social Security offices Brianna’s name was legally changed to Brianna Reese. Afterwards, she went to the local Secretary of State, her marriage license and social security documentation in hand, and was told she would be placed on a six month probationary period before the name change can take place. 
"It's discrimination based on sexual orientation, and it's just so ridiculous. We live in 2014, what are we on probation for - for being gay?" — Crystal Reese
The couple was given a phone number, in Lansing, to call, and when Brianna inquired as to why she had to wait six months — when straight couples face no such “probationary” period — and explained that she was legally, federally, married, the voice on the other end of the line said, “Well, if you would have married a man you'd have no problem changing your name.”

A spokesperson with the Secretary of State says the only way for legally married, federally recognized legally married, same-sex couples to get a name change is to go through the courts or get a common-law name change, which takes six months. 

And, while this may seem minor to some folks who would say, So what? Wait the six months, it’s just one more obstacle for same-sex couples to deal with, and why should we?

Legally married. Brianna Reese is in the military and the military has recognized her marriage and accepts her name change; Social Security accepts the name change; the federal government accepts it, as does the Internal Revenue Service. But the Secretary of State of Michigan says she needs to wait six months for the state to accept, not her marriage, which as of now is not legally recognized in Michigan, but simply accept that she has a new name.

Luckily, a trial begins in federal court next month to overturn Michigan's ban on gay marriage and so maybe Brianna won’t have to wait the six months to change her name to her wife’s name.


the dogs' mother said...

I don't even remember what I had to do to change my name - it was so trivial it did not go into long term memory.

S'A said...

I never even considered this question. I figured once you were married, you could simply change your name. Wow.

mrs.missalaineus said...

i commented on that facebook thread in defense of those women to live their lives- it bothers me that my state is being such an asshole.


The Cool Cookie said...

When the Husband and I were married in 2008 in Massachusetts, each of us had to declare what out last names would be. We kept our own last names, because, well, as residents of Ohio, we weren't married. THEN we moved to Maryland for a job transfer in the fall of 2012, and lo and behold, Maryland recognized our marriage because it was performed in a marriage equality state, which at the time was not a marriage equality. The voters passed marriage equality. Then Windsor. At this point, I wanted my husbands last name. Could I change it with the marriage license?

Hell no!

Why? Because the Maryland Vehicle Administration saw on the certificate from Massachusetts that in 2008 I decided to keep my birth surname when there were no marriage rights.

So five months later, and a $1,000 later, I got to have my husbands name.

We it discrimination? No, just a change of the times meeting a new era. The good news is that slowly, we are making progress. Never in a million years did I ever think I could get married, or get rid of that son of a bitch of a father of mine's last name.