A married gay couple living in Ohio have reportedly been told that they are unlikely to be able to take each other’s names without lying and pretending they aren’t married.
Stephen Hill and partner Joshua Snyder were married in the District of Columbia on May 3, 2011. Ohio, the state in which they currently reside, has a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, though there are moves to overturn this ban.
A year on, the couple wanted to take each other’s names, hyphenating them to “Snyder-Hill,” and duly set the wheels in motion. They say that on visiting the courthouse, they were pulled aside by a local magistrate and it was implied that unless they lied and covered up their being married it would be unlikely for them to get the change approved because Ohio law doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages–despite allowing name changes for nearly any other reason.
It would have been very easy for them to lie, but Stephen Hill says he is done lying. You may remember the name Stephen Hill–he was the soldier booed by members of the audience during a Republican presidential debate earlier this year when he asked if the candidates would reinstate the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” rule that banned gay members of the military from being open about their sexuality.
The following news report details their struggle:
As made clear in the news bulletin above, a judge has heard their request but, unusually, did not issue an immediate response, promising instead to mail them a reply. The couple believe their initial petition for a name change will be denied and, as such, are preparing for a court battle.
Hill is already a member of an ongoing lawsuit brought by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. The suit aims to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act on grounds that it harms servicemembers in same-sex marriages.
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