This week, I read THIS article about a same-sex couple from South Dakota.
Here's the gist of the article: Amy and Ashley live in South Dakota. However, South Dakota doesn't permit same-sex marriages. So, Amy and Ashley got married in Iowa. Amy took Ashley's last name after their marriage. Amy changed her name with social security, and even changed her name with her credit card companies. However, when it came time to change her name with the state of South Dakota, she encountered a problem. Amy presented her LEGAL marriage certificate, issued by the state of Iowa, at the DMV in her hometown. They refused to acknowledge the marriage between Amy and Ashley because South Dakota does not recognize same-sex marriage. Therefore, they wouldn't permit Amy to change her name on her driver's license and denied her a new license.
Here's the thing. If Amy and Ashley had been a heterosexual couple, the marriage certificate would have been enough for the name change with the state...with NO OTHER requirements. Instead, if Amy would like to change her name on her driver's license, she must petition the courts and pay to have her name legally changed by the state of South Dakota...a cost that can be quite high, and one that comes absolutely free to heterosexual couples.
UncleR and I are in the same situation. We will be married in June and our state does not recognize same-sex unions. I have made the very personal decision to take her name. I will be Mrs. UncleR. Once we return home, I will have to petition the courts to legally change my name...knowing that had we been a heterosexual couple, that this would be granted without the necessity of the legal system, and would be absolutely free. Instead, I will dole out the approximately $500 to change my name.
We've had many discussions about this name change. We had another one this morning. And here's where we are...
We are choosing to legally marry, although our union will not be recognized by the state we live in. Not all same-sex couples are lucky enough to have this opportunity. Marriage is a right almost exclusively given to heterosexuals. Not only will my name change be a symbol to us that we have made this commitment, but it will be a symbol to others.
We are, in essence, saying (to others/the moral majority)..."Hey, we're doing this too. We have a right to love each other and have our union legally recognized...just like you!"
To us, we're saying..."We are united...in love, in life, and in name."
I've decided I want to be a Mrs. too. But, in the back of my mind, I think about the fact that I shouldn't have to jump through hoops to be a Mrs. I'm not asking for special consideration or for special rights. I'm just asking for equality.
The future Mrs. UncleR