what's in a name

The Federal Government Recognized Amy Stabe’s Marital Name Change. But Not South Dakota

Amy and Ashley Stabe, who got married in Iowa in October, are trying to get their home state of South Dakota to grant a name change. But thanks to a constitutional amendment there banning recognition of gay unions, the Sioux Falls women have been denied by the Department of Public Safety. So with the help of the ACLU, they’re petitioning Minnehaha County to grant them the name change. (Another woman in Union County has filed a similar petition.) Naturally the religious conservatives are involved: “Everyone did their job,” says Chris Hupke, the executive director of the South Dakota Family Policy Council. “The system worked [by denying them a name change].” Interestingly, their efforts would’ve been less complicated only a year ago, back before changing your name on a driver’s license in the state didn’t require legal documentation of a name change; last year the rules switched. The department’s new regulations explicitly state same-sex marriage certificates are not valid documentation. How about a federal Social Security card, with Amy’s new last name on it? Not good enough either, apparently. So while everyone else, including her credit card companies, treat her as “Amy Stabe,” South Dakota still calls her “Amy Muston,” which doesn’t go over well when she tries to do things like apply for a car loan. I’m pretty sure we’re staring a violation of the equal protection clause right in the face.

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  • Hyhybt

    I still don’t quite understand how this works, or rather doesn’t. People can change their legal names for no reason at all beyond wanting to; a few years ago there was a story about a marine, I think it was, who legally changed his name to Optimus Prime. So how can it be that happening to have an out-of-state marriage somehow makes that path, however it works, impossible?

  • ChicagoJimmy

    @Hyhybt: Sorry, but you can’t apply logic and reason to people motivated by hate and fear. That’s why this doesn’t make any sense at all.

  • Schteve

    @Hyhybt: States have different laws. South Dakota requires some legal document before it will change your name. Other states don’t.

    I suppose she could move to another state and request a name change there, and that would suffice as proof if she brought it back to South Dakota, but it’s a bit more complicated than you’re imagining it.

  • NCNC

    Wait…where’s Jason saying that women’s sexuality is a lie and these aren’t real queers? Three comments and he hasn’t shown?

  • Keith

    Oh, South Dakota. I’m so glad I moved.

  • Amy Stabe

    @Hyhybt: well the thing is a state does not have to observe all federal laws. South dakota requires you to have a document that supports your reason for a name change mine is my marriage therefore, since they have a law that prohibits using the marriage certificate of the same sex my marriage certificate is nt a legal document in the state of SD. They have every avenue road blocked I am hoping I am successful through the court system.

    Amy Stabe

  • Amy Stabe

    @Schteve: I can throw a rock and hit Iowa that is how close I am, it is easy to move away however I don’t think it’s fair that I would have to move. I married my wife my name is changed federally with no questions asked, South Dakota should do the same. It is just a name. But it’s MY name and I don’t feel they should be able to take that from me…. I have ben dealing with this since I got married on October 23rd so this isn’t new to me. Also, when my drivers license expires, since I have no documents proving who I am and if my name isnt changed by then, then they will take my drivers license away from me all together. Well thank you all for your support :)

  • Amy Stabe

    @NCNC: Jason sounds like a closet case to me, people need to remind him the only thing that belongs in the closet is clothes. LoL

  • Shannon1981

    @Amy Stabe: wish you and your wife all the best! Don’t let them make you move.

Comments are closed.