Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Florida Man Accused of Fraud After Adopting His Wife's Last Name

Recently, a man in Florida was accused of fraud and had his driver's license suspended after he opted to adopt his wife's last name when they got married. 

Isn't that ridiculous?!

Photo of Mr. and Ms. Dinh, Courtesy of Reuters
The man says he followed the same process that a woman would follow to change her last name after she got married, but was later told that that process is "only for women" and that he has to go through a much more time-consuming and expensive process if he wants to legally change his name.

Apparently, only a few states have received the memo that women are not just chattel who are passed from their fathers to their husbands. Only nine states - nine! - have gender neutral marriage name change laws: California, New York, Hawaii, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Oregon, Iowa, Georgia, and North Dakota.

The whole incident makes me even more grateful to be involved with The Last Name Project and reminds us all that our laws, not just our traditions, still reinforce the good ole' patriarchal status quo!

I'd love to hear from men who changed their names when they got married. Did you have go through an alternative route? Did you encounter legal resistance?



11 comments:

  1. This. Is. Insane.

    My husband and I both hyphenated our last names when we got married, but we live in California so it wasn't a big deal at all. We both had to go through the exact same process which was actually a very rewarding experience in our marriage. We felt very equal in that sense.

    I can't believe that if we lived somewhere else that he would have to jump through so many hoops. What an outrage!

    [As an update, I did Google the story and they gave him his license. Of course the Florida DMV is claiming it was just an "error." I don't buy it!]

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    1. Isn't it ridiculous? I think it is high time that all the other states change their laws.

      Thanks for the update on the story! I don't buy it either. :-)

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  2. Mike and I had to go to court to change our names since we chose a new name, but he would have anyways if we had hyphenated or he had taken my name, too.

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    1. That is crazy though - you wouldn't have had to go to court if you were hyphenating your name or taking his.

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  3. No, my husband and I live in New York and the name change process went fine. And this was over 10 years ago. The important thing is to have your social security card and passport changed as well so that all the proof of name IDs are the same.

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  4. I took my wife's name when we were married. We live in NY, and it never occurred to me that it might be an issue in other places. I still get amused by all the forms that have a space for the wife's maiden name but not mine.

    As weird as it might sound I took her name because in a lot of ways I'm old fashioned: I think a couple should share one non-hyphenated last name and hers just happened to be cooler than mine. But it should be entirely up to individuals... what a moronic thing to force through legislation.

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    1. Hah, just found out the anonymous post right above this one is from my wife!

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    2. I am loving this husband and wife, Feminist Mystique-reading duo!

      I never thought about all of the forms where it is assumed a woman has a maiden name but there is no space for a man to discuss a name change.

      Anonymous - if you haven't already participated in The Last Name Project, we're always looking for more men to participate. If you'd like to write about your experience taking your wife's last name, please send me an email! We'd love to feature you!

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  5. What an interesting post/topic! It's what I love about this blog!!! It makes you think about things you never questioned otherwise!

    I would really love to hear from more men who took their wife's last name. I am from the older generation, and actually don't know of any men who went through this...in my generation it was bold for a woman to even hyphenate her last name! I'd love to hear about the reaction to your name change from family and business associates!

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  6. I must say I have never heard of this before. What a sweet way for a spouse to show his love. We are conditioned to believe that only women should do this. How refreshing! http://venusblogs.com/category/politics/

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  7. Well, my "husband" and I aren't married. When we found out we were expecting our first daughter we talked about the idea of marriage/last names/etc. We had been living together for almost a decade at that point and marriage didn't really hold any appeal to either of us (what more could we have been adding to our relationship by signing a marriage license?). We wanted our daughter and any other children that would come along to have a surname that was easily recognizable as "ours." We thought about mix and mashing our last names into a new one but couldn't agree on what our new last name should be. So the compromise that we came up with was that we would hyphenate and both have the same hyphenated last name. We flipped a coin to see who got to have first billing in the hyphenate. I won that coin flip. When we were going through the process of changing our names the woman helping us at the SSA office was pretty judgmental and it took a lot of repeated explanations to get the point across that we were not married and had no intention to be. My "husband" takes a lot of flak from his brothers over the name change but other than that it's been pretty smooth sailing.

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