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Same-sex spouse denied change of name

With the New Year underway, gay and lesbian couples in Michigan are looking forward to the outcome of a challenge to the state’s ban on gay marriage, scheduled by a federal judge for this February. In the meantime, couples can create cohabitation agreements or other non-traditional unions to help solidify their commitment to each other. They can also get married legally in any of the states that currently allow gay marriage.

While the ability to get married in another state exists, that may not provide all of the legal rights that gay or lesbian couples would like to have once returning to their home state of Michigan. A case is point is one Lansing couple who was the subject of a recent media post. The two men were legally married in New York last fall. As part of their union, one spouse agreed to take the last name of the other. This was stated on their New York marriage license.

As is common when changing a name after a marriage, the man who was now known by a different name to the state of New York and the federal government went to the Michigan Secretary of State to change his name at home but was denied. It was cited that since the reason for the name change was a same-sex marriage, something which Michigan does not currently recognize or allow, the change of last name would also not be allowed.

Challenges such as these can arise for same-sex couples at any time, as can other problems when pursuing a gay and lesbian adoption. If you are in need of assistance with any such situation, it may be worth your time to talk to an attorney who works with same-sex couples to see what help may be available to you.

Source: MLive.com, “Gay and married in Michigan: Just try getting your name changed on driver’s license,” Jonathan Oosting, December 31, 2013

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Lorrie J. Zahodnic

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Lorrie J. Zahodnic, P.C. has provided skilled and compassionate legal guidance to Michiganders in family law matters for over 20 years.

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