Stick a Finger in Your Eye and Break Your Heart All Over Again

Over a year ago, Amy and I got legally married in Massachusetts. We decided to change our last names – something that normally costs $165 to do without a marriage certificate. In the interim, we’ve changed our names on driver’s licenses, social security cards, and all sorts of other legal documentation without any fuss whatsoever. Imagine my surprise, then, when I find out that the US Passport Agency won’t accept our marriage license as legal proof of name change.

Yeah, you read that right. We got our social security cards changed with no problems whatsoever, but the US Passport Agency won’t recognize a legal document from the state of Massachusetts (question 2). Instead, they insist upon a court order – of course only for same-sex couples. So once again, the queers have to pay f%&#ing more money than non-queers to do something as simple as change our name.

Lesbian name change on passport:

  • $65 marriage license fee (issued over a year ago)
  • $58 fee for certified, expedited birth certificate (4-6 weeks)
  • $165 fee for probate court hearing to give me a legal document that says the same thing as my marriage license (8 week process)
  • $127 fee for expedited passport service (3 weeks)
  • Total: $415 and 15-17 weeks

Straight person name change on passport:

  • $65 marriage license fee (paid whenever)
  • $67 fee for passport service (10-12 weeks)
  • Total: $132 and 10-12 weeks

The difference:

  • $283 and 3-7 weeks, depending

Now tell me that this will all be done by the time I go out of the country in mid-February. That’s 27 weeks from now. And then realize that there are 2 of us who need to do this process. Just lovely.

Why the hell do (some) people hate us so much? I just don’t get it.

14 thoughts to “Stick a Finger in Your Eye and Break Your Heart All Over Again”

  1. WTF. I seriously hate this crap! Grr. I really don’t get it either.

    [aside: I had horrible problems doing my name change through soc security! they actually changed my last name to the wrong last name[!!] for a time. And I’m still not done changing over all of my documents yet (4.5 years later).]

  2. Oh, that’s horrible!
    It’s such a pain to change your name to begin with, and to add another layer of beaurocratic crap is just horrible.
    It makes me so angry to think about stuff like this!!!

  3. That’s so ridiculous. And tangible evidence of discrimination!!

    I hope you make it where you’re going in February, and have a really great time too.

  4. Ouch. I can sympathize. I’m going through a lot of the same sort of paperwork (to do with our move to Taiwan, cmplicated by the fact that we’re not actually in the US). Some of ours is to do with a recent capricious change in Taiwan rules; I can only imagine how much *more* torqued off I’d be if I were going through all of this for unfair reasons.

  5. These concrete examples of continuing discrimination are important to put out into the blogosphere. Our straight allies need to know about the indignities and the inconveniences that we endure in our daily lives. Unfortunately, most people of good will believe that we have achieved equality in MA–well we sort of have. Your experience shows clearly how far we have to go–especially when our lives interface, as they necessarily do, with the federal government. Gay marriage in MA is a big step towards equality but it’s only the first step towards achieving true citizenship.

  6. Maddening! And, yes, I think it just may be tangible (and legal) evidence of discrimination. If the state has recognized your marriage, and all of the other offices you have had to deal with concerning this have recognized your LEGAL union, then, um, why not the feds? Oh, wait! I know! It’s because that moron we call the Prez’dent is “the decider.” Blech.

    The government needs to get a grip on the passport problems in general, as well. Here’s a link to another tale of passport woe:
    I think I’m glad I never go anywhere.

  7. i’m sorry. 🙁 that sucks. i support you and amy! and thanks for educating me some about some of the troubles that same-sex couples face, beyond the obvious. just know i still love you!

  8. i can’t believe it. is it a question of awareness? like maybe the passport office had not planned ahead for this and so they don’t have anything in place to address the name change issue? i agree with Alexandra that you ought to bring it to that politician’s attention. and, hope it all gets resolved for your Feb. trip.

  9. Congrats on your first year of marriage. No longer newlyweds. 🙂 Too bad about the hassle with your documents. Perhaps after the ’08 election things will start to turn around. Keeping my fingers crossed.

  10. ok, you might hate me for pointing this out….

    but there’s a disconnect between the passport agency and everything else you had to do. state vs. federal…ssa is federal but the numbers/names are admined on a state level – for instance everyone born in 77 from iowa, has the same first three digits on their ss#. and since the law to marry is a state one, and not federal, i suppose the need for the additional paper work. which sucks. and god, aren’t expiditated passports the most incredulously exspensive thing. it’s the best option though with the backlog on normal service passports.

    now, most important, where are you traveling this spring?! hint hint!

  11. this does seem/feel unfair! if it makes you feel better, i did expedited during the incredibly busy early summer months and was told i would get it in 7 weeks. i got it in less than 1 week.

    do you come up with these anti-spam words? they’re funny

  12. Jeremy and I have been married for over 5 years, I’ve changed everything but my passport over to my new (well, not so new now) last name. I think it’s completely ridiculous that anyone should who’s married should have to pay extra to get it changed (I mean, we didn’t have to pay to get it changed on other documents). Is this an MA only thing? When I asked about it last year (I think), I was told that I wouldn’t actually have to get a new passport, but I would have to show my marriage license to show that it was me with a new name (never mind that we have no idea where the marriage license is hiding). But maybe that doesn’t apply to lesbians because you’re shifty (or at least the Feds think you are).

    I think I might have to give in though, and get the new passport, since we’re half assed planning to go to France for a month next summer (he needs to go for research) – well, give in or just get my ticket in my maiden last name.

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