More “special” rights for gays…

A couple of months ago, I did a post about a particularly egregious example of why gays want actual, nationwide-recognized marriage, rather than a mish-mash of “civil unions” whose protections and recognition vary from state to state. Thanks to SayUncle, here’s another example, though it’s not horrifying like the other one was.

Traci and Ashley Turpin got married in Washington, D.C., where same-sex marriage is legal.


Traci first went to the Social Security Office on Thursday where she says she was able to change her name with no problem. She says the staff there even congratulated her on her marriage before she left.

Then she went to the DMV. Turpin says her last name was changed on her driver’s license.

But after she walked out of the building, she says one of the DMV staff members came out to find her. Turpin was already in her car.

Turpin says the lady asked her to return her driver’s license. “She said I had to give that license back. She said they don’t recognize same sex marriages in the state of Tennessee.”

Turpin says when she refused to return her license, state troopers were called. Eventually her license was taken and she was given one with her former name on it.

“What I am asking them is to make my driver’s license match my Social Security Card so I can go about and do my personal business,” Turpin said. [emphasis mine]


In an email, we were told, “Based on the language in the Tennessee Constitution, the Driver Services Division of the Tennessee Department of Safety cannot accept a same sex marriage certificate as proof of name change.”


So now, Traci has two last names, one recognized by the federal government and another one for the state.

In today’s post-911, anti-terrorism, need-your-ID-for-everything world, it’s pretty important that your driver’s license match your Social Security card, especially for things like banking, credit cards, car or home loans, employment, and so forth. Many of these things cannot legally be done if your legal name can’t be positively established.

I shudder to think what’s going to happen when she files her taxes under one name for Federal and another for the state. I expect that’s going to trigger an audit.

If a straight couple gets married, a name change is usually as simple as showing your marriage license and filling out a couple of forms. The change is usually effective immediately with each agency.

But if the state doesn’t recognize the marriage, it becomes a complicated ordeal to change your name, usually requiring the help of an attorney and filing a case with the courts. You have to wait for a judge to rule on the name change, and to actually sign the order. In some states, you may actually have to go appear in court and even have to argue why you should be allowed to change your name. Depending on the state’s law on name changes, an anti-gay judge could use the fact that the state doesn’t recognize gay marriage to deny the name change. You have to pay filing fees for the court case. After the name change is approved (if it’s approved), you still have to go around to the DMV, and the Social Security office, all your banks, and any other agency that has to be notified, to have things changed over.

So, yeah. Gay marriage is all about “special” rights.

This is why we want marriage, not some sham equivalent like “civil unions”, and we want those marriages recognized in all 50 states, just like straight marriages are.

Separate is not equal.

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