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What’s In a Name? Inclusion, Say Legally Married Chesterfield Township Women

“What are we on probation for – for being gay?” Crystal Reese, who just wants to be able to share her last name with her spouse, asks of six-month waiting period.

Crystal Reece, left, wants her spouse, Brianna Hoskins, to be able to take her name. The Michigan Secretary of State's Office says their only recourse is to wait six months or challenge the state law in court. (Photo: Screenshot of WJBK video)
Crystal Reece, left, wants her spouse, Brianna Hoskins, to be able to take her name. The Michigan Secretary of State's Office says their only recourse is to wait six months or challenge the state law in court. (Photo: Screenshot of WJBK video)

Chesterfield Township couple are taking issue with a state law that says they will have to wait a six-month probationary period before they can legally share the same name.

Brianna Hoskins and Crystal Reese were legally married in New York, where same-sex marriage is legal, but the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office says they will have to wait a probationary six-month period before Hoskins can legally change her name, WJBK, the Fox News affiliate in Detroit, reports.

The Social Security Administration didn’t flinch when Hoskins filled out the paperwork to have her married name displayed on her Social Security card.

And even the military, where she is a soldier, recognizes Reese as Hoskins’ spouse.

“She gets all my benefits,” Hoskins told  WJBK’s Amy Lange. “She gets everything and it’s recognized – but I can’t do it at home.”

Reese called the six-month probationary period “ridiculous.” Opposite gender couples have no problem changing their names, whether the woman is taking the man’s name or the man is taking the woman’s name.

“it’s discrimination based on sexual orientation …” she said. “We live in 2014. What are we on probation for – for being gay?”

Going through the courts or getting a common-law name change, which takes six months, are the couple’s only avenues of recourse, according to the report.

They’re not alone in their frustration. Sommer Foster, field director for Equality Michigan, said the organization is hearing from a number of similarly-situated couples. Further complications could arise when the couple file their income taxes.

"It's unfair for same sex couples to have to jump through these hoops when opposite sex couples do not," Foster told the television station.

Meanwhile, a trial is expected to get under way on Feb. 25 in federal court to overturn Michigan’s ban on gay marriage.

Michigan is one of 35 states that have gay marriage bans in place, either through legislatively approved statutes or constitutional amendments, such as the one approved by Michigan voters in 2004 defining marriage as “the union of one man and one woman.”
kidcat24 January 23, 2014 at 04:13 PM
In most of the states with republican governors, this is their way to purge you from the voting booth.
Andra Van Sickle January 26, 2014 at 11:12 AM
The state needs to change this horrible discrimination! Thank you for sharing your story- I hope it helps others understand how much injustice there is for same sex couples and how wrong it is! Congrats on your marriage!

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