Florida Meets DMV – What Did We Expect?

First, a belated moment of remembrance for Judith Resnik and Christa McAuliffe, the second and third vagina-having US space travelers, both of whom died in the Challenger explosion 27 years ago Monday. Learn more about them if you’re so inclined, they were pretty amazing people.

Now, the Vagina News WTF of the Day. You know how, when women get married, they often take their husbands’ surnames? And how some people object to doing so for various reasons (points to self and waves)? And how some people respond to those objections by rolling their eyes and saying men can just as easily take women’s names, it’s no big whoop, false sexist alarm?

(Mini education break – the Western tradition of changing a woman’s name after marriage comes from the days when women were property, and a new surname marked a change in ownership of the woman from her father to her husband.) 

So this Florida man took his wife’s name because… Well, because he fucking wanted to… And the DMV revoked his license, accusing him of fraud. He challenged it in court, and the decision was upheld. Based on what? Nothing. (Well, nothing but gender bias.) Florida has no law associating name changes with gender; but other states do. In fact, only 9 states have gender-neutral after-marriage name-change laws. (So when you see this issue pop up on your favorite gay rights page, remember you heard it here first!)

So no, men cannot just as easily take their wives’ (or husbands’) names. And yes, that’s sexist. Sound the alarm.

(Today, the Florida DMV issued a big ol’ oops and reissued Mr. Dinh’s license. Please note, that’s his married name, so if you went to high school with him, remember to update your address book, and he probably has a new email address, and if you try to find him on Facebook it might be tricky…)

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