• Source: Flickr
  • 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

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    • commented 2014-11-15 17:57:22 -0500
      The exact same thing happened to us here in Florida twice!! We finally had to apply for our passports and show the past 10 years of using our last name “Stimsonreed” to get the DMV to take away the hyphenated version they imposed on us. Our last name has been Stimsonreed since our Civil Union, and subsequently our Civil Marriage in Canada several years ago. Florida DMV made us hyphenate in order to get a license. Then they notified us we had to have our “single” names on our license. That’s when we sought out a way around their rule. We had to apply, document, and pay for a passport that we otherwise did not need. The had to honor the last name on our passport. Our Florida licenses now reflect our legal and married last name which is “Stimsonreed.”

    • commented 2014-11-15 14:18:54 -0500
      It’s business as usual in FL. Happened to me a couple of years ago:


    • commented 2014-11-14 08:11:56 -0500
      Just on the face of it, the DMV had no case: if that is their legal name, that is their legal name. I suspect it’s going to be the “we don’t recognize your marriage under Florida law” argument which has no relevance — the reason for the name change is immaterial, since there is no intent to defraud — quite the opposite.

      Sue, baby, sue!

    • commented 2014-11-13 16:51:01 -0500
      How can a DMV possibly order someone to change their name?

    • commented 2014-11-13 10:36:39 -0500
      This a “real id compliance” law issue. It’s not easy for anybody with a name change of any kind. Just imagine the person who has changed their name 5 times and has to show each and every legal name change regardless of how long ago the change happen! “I have not had that name since 1962” sorry, law says you got to show it.

    • commented 2014-11-13 09:29:33 -0500
      There are plenty of opposite sex married couples where the wife does not take their husbands name. Unless that law applies to all married couples it is blatantly illegally discriminatory on it’s face.

    • commented 2014-11-13 09:06:46 -0500
      I wonder if Pam Bondi had anything to do with this? She’s the Florida Attorney General who has been beating a dead horse for quite a while over this issue.

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