Lesbian Couple Denied Driver’s License Change At DMV
[caption id="attachment_1870" align="alignright" width="225"] Mandy & Kristyn with their "fur baby" Oscar[/caption] Update: Dec. 6, 2 p.m. Equality Virginia received this response from the DMV
As far as DMV's Policy regarding your inquiry, since Virginia does not legally recognize same-sex marriage, a same sex couple would need to provide an original or certified copy of the court order granting the name change in order for DMV to process a name change on a driver’s license. Privacy laws do not allow us to discuss individual customer records; however, I can tell you that DMV thoroughly trains employees on all policies in order to ensure consistency. Should an inconsistency occur, we address it. As far as the customer researching the documents she needed on our website, we are happy this customer brought this issue to our attention. We inform the public of our credentialing requirements through our website. We are updating our website to reflect our policy more clearly.Mandy and Kristyn married in Virginia in June and had a civil ceremony in DC this September to make it legal. When Kristyn went to the Social Security Administration office in Virginia to begin the name change process, she had no issue. It wasn't until she stepped into a Henrico County DMV that she faced a problem. After checking the DMV website to make sure she had proper documentation, she went to the western Henrico location at 9237 Quioccasin Rd. and waited for nearly an hour before her number was called. As she went to the counter to start the process to change her license to her new married surname, the woman began reviewing her information. "She scanned our marriage license and asked me if this was a same-sex marriage and I said yes. She then said that she couldn't process my name change because Virginia doesn't legally recognize same-sex marriages. I told her that no where on the DMV website did it specify or explicitly say that the marriage license would only be accepted if it were for a straight couple." The woman told Kristyn the only way to have her driver's license changed would be to go through a legal name change which involves a court proceeding in the county she resides in. "I was shocked, stunned and saddened by what I was told. My wife and I have several friends in Virginia who have changed their name legally after marrying their partner with no issue that I knew of," she told EV. Good news though -- Kristyn was able to go to another DMV location and change her name with no questions asked. "I decided to call the DMV's customer service number to clarify if they do or do not grant name changes for same-sex couples through marriage and was told that there is no reason why any DMV would not accept a same-sex name change provided that proper documentation is provided." Since the incident, Kristyn says she's had time to think about what happened but still believes that denying the service is unfair. She adds this note about her experience with the Social Security Administration. "The office of the Social Security Administration that I went to, while a federal agency, changed my name with zero hesitation or question and, in fact, congratulated me on my marriage. "