PennDOT denies name change for woman legally married in New York | Blogh
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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

PennDOT denies name change for woman legally married in New York

Posted By on Wed, May 21, 2014 at 10:32 AM

Despite a federal judge’s order allowing same-sex marriage yesterday, Maggie DeMont didn’t come Downtown seeking a marriage license Wednesday morning: She was already married.

What she wanted was to pay PennDOT $12.50 to legally change her last name to Conroy — the name of the wife she married last September in New York. She previously visited PennDOT shortly after the wedding, but was turned away. This morning she went to PennDOT’s Downtown office, this time armed with a court order signed by U.S. District Court Judge John Jones.

It didn’t make a difference.

“I called PennDOT yesterday and was told that by this morning they would have the correct information and would have to comply,” DeMont says. “But even though I showed them the court order, they wouldn’t change my name. A supervisor said he received an email that said PennDOT was looking into the matter. They were very nice, but said even though they were aware that the law was reversed they weren’t willing to act on it.”

“I’ve been waiting eight months to this and despite a court order I’m still in limbo.”

Jones' ruling Tuesday not only allowed for same-sex marriages to be legally carried out in the state, but he also ruled that "already married same-sex couples will be recognized as such in the Commonwealth.”

DeMont already has a new Social Security card with her married name on it, because her marriage has been recognized by the federal government since last summer. She says she rushed to PennDOT this morning to try and complete the name change in case Gov. Tom Corbett appealed the ruling, or asked for it to be stayed.

DeMont went to PennDOT this morning with her friend Amy Loveridge, who performed the ceremony last year. Loveridge says PennDOT’s actions were an "obvious violation," and she is working to get DeMont help with the issue.

“They had to know that this was coming,” Loveridge says. “You would have thought they would have had their legal department burning the midnight oil to make sure things would go smoothly this morning.”

A PennDOT spokesman told City Paper he had no comment but was tracking down information regarding DeMont’s situation, and on how the agency planned to handle future name change requests. We'll update that information as it becomes available.

UPDATE: PennDOT spokesman Richard Kirkpatrick said the agency "is now accepting all marriage licenses regardless of gender." His phone call to City Paper came roughly 20 minutes after Tom Corbett said he will not appeal Tuesday's ruling. Kirkpatrick says individuals will need to take their marriage licenses with them to the licensing bureaus.

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