Tennessee Denying Gay Spouses Driver’s License Name Changes

AP

Married same-sex couples who live in Tennessee, where gay marriage is banned under the state constitution, are being denied name changes on their driver’s licenses, the Tennessean reported Saturday.

Tennessee residents married in one of the 13 states or Washington D.C. where gay marriage is legal are turned away from state driver’s license stations when they try to obtain licenses with their married names, according to the Tennessean. Gay marriage is banned both in state statute and by a majority vote in the Tennessee constitution.

“I went into Cookeville for my new Social Security card using my marriage certificate, and they said I should have it in four days to two weeks,” Tennessee resident Neil Stovall, who wants to become Neil Irby after his marriage to Harry Irby, told the Tennesean. “But what about the name on my driver’s license? My concealed handgun carry permit? To me, they’re denying me my constitutional right to happiness. The state government seems to have a problem with it when no one else does.”

The federal government recognizes same-sex marriages for the purpose of identification, and couples can use their marriage certificates to change their names on forms of federal ID like Social Security cards and passports.

Photo: Julia Tate, left, and her wife, Lisa McMillin, read results of Supreme Court decisions regarding gay rights as they are posted on the Internet Wednesday, June 26, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Zoë Schlanger is Frontpage Editor at TPM. Zoë was a TPM intern in 2011, and prior to returning here she was editor in chief of NYU Local, the alternative independent student news site at NYU. Zoë has interned at places like the Nation, InsideClimate News, The Rachel Maddow Show and Gothamist. She can be reached at zoe@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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