My name is David Williams (f/k/a David Vandekamp). My husband, Jonathan, and I were legally married in the State of New York on May 14, 2012. We reside in Florida. Upon our return to Florida, we have endured NOTHING but hatred and discrimination from local governments, municipalities, state entities, etc.
I took on Jonathan's surname upon our marriage. We have been together since 2006. Upon return to Florida, we went to the Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles office in Gainesville, Florida so I could obtain a new driver's license with my LEGALLY changed name. The State of New York court authorities legally changed my name, as did the Social Security Administration for goodness sake! I took my marriage certificate, AS WELL AS my NEW social security card to the DMV, as these are documents the DMV demands in order to obtain a new license. Upon our arrival, I presented the documents to the DMV employee and requested my new driver's license. At that point, the employee printed off a Florida Statute and said, verbatim, "We do not accept faggot marriages in this state. You will have to pay $400.00 to have a judge in Alachua County change your name. Your marriage means nothing here."
This incident was just the beginning of the discrimination Jonathan and I have endured. We are constantly denied joint health insurance benefits by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Florida, CIGNA, and United Healthcare. We now have to pay separate premiums in order to maintain health insurance benefits as both of us suffer from disabling Fibromyalgia.
We have been denied spousal automobile insurance benefits by Progressive and Allstate. We have to maintain separate insurance policies for our JOINTY owned vehicles which cost us an additional $6,000.00 annually.
We have been forced to declare ourselves as unmarried for Medicaid and Food Stamps benefits, causing us to receive fewer benefits than a heterosexual married couple receives. We are not permitted to file our taxes jointly, causing one or both of us to wind up paying additional taxes at the end of the tax cycle.
This type of blatant discrimination is unjust, uncalled for, and blatantly hateful. The DMV in particular did NOTHING to remedy this issue, in spite of us contacting the director to alert her of the incident. We are forced to pay taxes just as everyone else is, yet we are not permitted to received ANY of the benefits that heterosexual couples receive. We are forced to pay additional insurance premiums simply because we are of the same gender. I was forced to pay $400.00 to have my name changed AGAIN in Gainesville, Florida simply because Jonathan and I are both male. This is wrong. This is disgusting. And THIS needs to be changed. PLEASE sign my petition for same-sex married couples to receive equal rights and benefits. It is almost 2013, isn't it about time for a CHANGE?