Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Why Marriage Equality Matters ... Everywhere

In 2009, in Iowa, Sue Kirchofer married Mary Stroesser where equality lives, and where they lived until returning to Nebraska where Sue grew up.

Upon returning home, Sue Kirchofer changed her name to Sue Stroesser; she changed her name on her Social Security card; she changed her name on her passport; her credit cards carry the name Sue Stroesser, as do her bank accounts; she has a Nebraska state license to practice in her health care profession as a Stroesser and she pays her Nebraska taxes as a Stroesser.

But, she cannot get a Nebraska driver’s license as a Stroesser because Nebraska is on the wrong side of history … still.

When Sue went to the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles last month to get a new driver’s license with her married name on it, she presented her Iowa marriage license as proof of her name change, only to be told by a staffer that the DMV could not accept it since Nebraska is an anti-equality state and doesn’t recognize any same-sex marriage, no matter where it was performed.

And it’s not just an inconvenience, having one name on every single document, form, identification card, and work-related license, and another name on her driver’s license, Sue Stroesser cannot change her car insurance from the company they used in Iowa to a company in Nebraska without a valid driver’s license from the state.
“Progress has been made that’s life-changing and very affirming for a lot of people. But then I run into something that happens to me at the DMV, and it feels like I go back in time. I’ve been a Stroesser for a long time. I’m not asking for recognition of my marriage with Mary. I am asking for state identification with my current legal name.” — Sue Stroesser
Nebraska’s ban on same-sex marriage is being challenged in court, as are the bans in 31 other states, but this is a prime example of why we need federal recognition of same-sex marriage.

All Sue Stroesser wants is a driver’s license with her married name on it, and yet she has to fight for it just because she’s gay.

How on earth is that allowed to happen here?


The Cool Cookie said...

Let us not forget however, that even in marriage equality states we are limited to what we can do in these times of hyper security.

When the husband and I married in Massachusetts in 2008, he and I kept our respective surnames for use after marriage, which have to be declared at the time the license is issued. We were residents of Ohio, which was not and is still jot a marriage equality state.

Fast forward to 2012 and after four years, we are residents of Maryland, a marriage equality state. I decide to take my husbands surname. Should be easy, BUT because I declared that I would be know after the marriage by my birth surname, I couldn't take the license and certificate to Social Security, Maryland Vehicle Admin.or the US State department to get my ID's and passports updated.

So even in a marriage equality state, I had to pay for an attorney to legally go before a court and ask a judge to change my name. And yes, even in a marriage equality state.

Now, the woman in this story can either wait for Nebraska to become marriage equality, or she can go to court and request the change.

My point is, in a perfect world, none of us would have to jump through hoops. But even in my perfect world, I still had to jump through hoops.

the dogs' mother said...

I was so easy to change my name that I hardly remember it. But then Opposite Marriage and all. I've never had any issue even though I was not born in this country.

anne marie in philly said...

don't make no f-ing sense.

SCOTUS, make your equality ruling NOW and stop all this horseshit!

SEAN (The Jeep Guy) said...

This has all the perfect makings of a another sound and winnable legal arguement. I hpoe.someone takes this case to court. said...

We deal with the same issue every time we use a credit card, wondering if the clerk is going to ask to see an id with the same name on it. None of our cars are registered in our legal/married names. Our mortgage is in our married name but the title to our home is not.

Equality cannot happen fast enough.