Apparently, if you’re gay in Florida, you can either have a marriage license or a driver’s license but you can’t have both. A couple who married in New York and hyphenated their last name was surprised to discover that the DMV had cancelled their drivers’ licenses, claiming that because their name change was the result of a gay marriage, they can no longer have a Florida ID.
Yes, this is crazy; and yes, the couple is suing. In the mean time, one of them has been forced to get a driver’s license with his old non-hyphenated last name.
OK, you may be thinking “what’s the big deal? Just don’t hyphenate your name.” But it’s really not OK for a state to make up rules like that for gays and not for anyone else. Whether it’s something big like immigration, or something smaller like a hyphen on a piece of plastic, treating people differently for arbitrary reasons just isn’t how a good country treats its citizens.
Florida’s in quite a jumble right now with its gay marriage lawsuits. Various cases are flitting their way up through state and federal courts, and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (herself married three times) is doing everything she can to stop queers from getting hitched. This is obviously a losing battle, and at some point soon this couple will have their accurate, hyphenated license. In the mean time, it’s just one more dumb rule that confirms the opinion that the rest of the country has always had about the state.