After Lazaro Sopena and Hanh Dinh got married, Sopena decided to change his name to Lazaro Dinh to honor his wife’s Vietnamese family surname.
“It was an act of love. I have no particular emotional ties to my last name,” Dinh (né Sopena) told Reuters.
Dinh obtained a new passport and Social Security card, and changed his bank account and credit cards before going to the DMV to get a new driver’s license.
That’s when things got ridiculous.
More than a year later, he received a letter from Florida’s DMV accusing him of “obtaining a driving license by fraud,” and letting him know his license would soon be suspended.
Why? Because the state of Florida thinks that only women should change their last names after marriage.
Dinh called the DMV office in Tallahassee to correct what he thought was a mistake, and was told he had to go to court first in order to change his name legally. When he explained he was changing his name because he got married, he was told “that only works for women,” he told Reuters.
It looks to me like Florida doesn’t actually ban men from taking their wives names– anyone can change their name, after all. But it requires a much more laborious procedure than the one that women have access to via marriage. For more, go here.