January 15, 2007

With this ring...

Bryan just sent me this article from CNN about a discrimination lawsuit filed in California because a man wanted to take his wife's name upon marriage. They took their case to the ACLU because for a woman to change her name upon marriage is free, but for a man to change his name costs $300 (in addition to an appearance before a judge). Surprising to me was the news that six U.S. states have equal name-change processes for men and women: HI, IA, MA, NY, ND, and GA. Really, Georgia? Iowa? North Dakota?

The article also states that in 2001, 20% of college-educated women kept their own last names. This surprised me considering the number of women I've talked to in the past few years who firmly believe their name changes automatically when they file for a marriage license. I don't know the laws in every state, but in Virginia, there was either a signature block or a check box for if you wanted to change your last name. It does make it quite easy for a woman to change her name, but it is by no means automatic or obligatory. Just because you're married does not mean you immediately have a different name.

Anyway, it's nice to see that some people are pushing for equality in laws, even if it's only in California. I wonder how the baby-naming controversy is doing in D.C. Last I heard, many hospitals were giving out birth certificates with the father's last name, in spite of what the mother (or parents) wanted.

1 comments:

Sara said...

Shannon kept her own last name for two years before she changed it to Duvall.

A grad student (Emily) in my lab is starting to publish papers with her fiance's last name so that she gets known in the community with that last name. Her mother kept her last name, and Emily didn't like growing up and dealing with parents with different last names.

My sister hyphenated her last name: Sprenkle-Weitzer

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