My wife Shakira (aka Shak) and I knew from the moment we started dating, we were going to get married. But because we are two women, we couldn’t marry in Georgia where we live. So we saved up money and traveled to Boston to get married five years after our first date. After our wedding, we wanted to start our new lives as a family and combine our last names.
But now the Georgia DMV is preventing my wife and I from sharing our last names. I’m asking Georgia’s Department of Driver Services to stop discriminating against same-sex couples like Shak and I and let us change our names.
Shak and I talked about going to the DMV together to change our names once we got married but when Shak’s driver’s license was near expiring I couldn’t go. I knew there was a chance the DMV would give her a hard time and I had a ton of anxiety. The thought of them treating her badly when I wasn’t there made me feel sick. I texted her the whole time she was there, but -- to our surprise -- a branch manager approved her request to change her name.
I thought that because Shak changed her name, I could too! I compiled my documentation -- including the same marriage certificate she used -- and went to the DMV a few weeks later. When it was my turn, the woman behind the counter took one look at my marriage certificate and said she would not change my name. I told her my wife had her name change approved just weeks earlier at the same DMV! She wouldn’t hear it and I left the DMV embarrassed and upset that I couldn’t share my wife’s last name.
There are thousands of married same-sex couples like me and Shak living in states where our marriages are illegal -- and we must keep working until all same-sex couples have equal rights and protections. Because the Supreme Court overruled the Defense of Marriage Act, Shak and I can change our passports, social security ID cards, and credit cards and even file joint tax returns. It just doesn’t make sense that we can do all these things, but we can’t have the same last name on our driver’s licenses!
Please sign my petition asking the Georgia Department of Driver Services to end its discriminatory and senseless policy of refusing to change legally married same sex couples names on their drivers licenses.