Florida To Legally Married Same-Sex Couple: Change Your Name Or Lose Your Driver’s Licenses


After granting driver's licenses to a same-sex couple who legally married out-of-state, the State of Florida is now threatening them to change their names or lose their licenses.

Scott and Daniel Wall-Desousa have been together for over ten years and traveled to New York City to marry. Upon returning home to Florida, they attempted to change their legal documents, from Social Security cards to drivers' licenses, to reflect their new legal names, as many other people do after marrying. 

Daniel went to a local Florida DMV and told WFTV in October it was "no hassle." But his husband Scott spent several months and had to travel to several different locations before getting a clerk to make the change, despite the fact that his name had legally changed. Ultimately, they both had licenses reflecting their legal names – names the federal government recognizes.

Last month, Scott told the local news channel an Orlando DMV clerk "said as of July of this year there have been changes in our policy and here is your new name."

The DMV would not confirm a change in policy, but Scott understood it to be a ‘don't ask, don't tell’ approach by the DMV — something made easier since marriage licenses aren't stamped with the same-sex label.

"Separate but equal is a dangerous thing," Scott Wall-Desousa said.

Little did Scott Wall-Desousa know just how right he was about to be.

Just days after their story aired on WFTV, the couple received a threatening letter from the Florida DMV: Change your last name or lose your licenses.

"It informs me and notifies me that my driving privileges will be canceled indefinitely as of Nov. 22," Daniel Wall-Desousa told WFTV reporters. "It is a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy, and I guess we have been told, 'Here is the repercussion,'" Scott Wall-Desousa added.

Meanwhile, all the couple's legal documents – state and federal, and their work-related documents and even work IDs – have already been changed to their legal names.

"Everything has been changed to my benefits, to my Florida pension. How does one undo all that," Daniel asks.
WFTV reports the Wall-Desousas "plan to file a lawsuit because they feel they are being targeted."

Ironically, the Florida DMV letter was addressed to their legal, married name: Wall-Desousa.


Image via Flickr