Lazaro Sopena and Hanh Dinh decided to go the less-traditional route when they got married, as husband Lazaro Sopena opted to take his wife's last name. They didn't know how difficult a task this would be until he went to get his driver's license.
Mr. Dinh easily got a new passport, Social Security card, and changed his bank account and credit cards. When he arrived at the DMV to get a new license, he thought he was done with the transition into his new last name.
After a year, though, Dinh received a letter from the Florida DMV saying he had obtained a driving license by fraud. The letter served as a warning that his license was soon being suspended.
This is because Florida law believes only women should change their last names after marriage.
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When Dinh called the office, they told him he must go to court first to change his name legally. He explained to them that he was changing his name because he got married, but they said, "That only works for women."
Florida isn't the only state that doesn't allow a man to change his last name after marriage. Only nine states in the country allow the change to occur in the same manner a woman would change hers: California, New York, Hawaii, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Oregon, Iowa, Georgia, and North Dakota. Most states require a lot of paper work, time, and pricey filing fees.
As gay marriage becomes legal in more states, and feminists continue to challenge traditional gender roles, this problem will be more and more common across the country.
Dinh said he is suing the state to reinstate his suspended license.