What happens when a man adopts his wife’s last name upon marriage? A boatload of trouble, apparently. A Florida man legally changed his name in order to take his wife’s last name, doing all the necessary paperwork to get a new passport, Social Security card, and so on. However, after receiving a new driver’s license, the Florida DMV accused him of fraud. His license was suspended, and only just now was the suspension lifted.
Only a handful of states have gender-neutral marital name-change laws, which has potential ramifications for marriages that are not just between a man and a woman, or, as in the Florida case, marriages where a man is not attached to his own last name and wants to take his wife’s name.
I hope to see these laws reconsidered. I’m not a fan of the last-name-taking tradition, given that it reflects a history where women were their husbands’ property, but I recognize that others have their reasons for wanting to share a family name. Ideally anyone who wants to – regardless of gender or sexual orientation – should be able to share a name!
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