Newlyweds given 6-month 'probation period' for name change

Newlyweds given 6-month 'probation period' for Secretary of State name change

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(WJBK) -

After getting married in New York, Brianna Hoskins and Crystal Reese of Chesterfield Twp. want to share the same last name.

Brianna says when they came back to Michigan, they went to social security and her name was changed without a problem. Then, when she went to the local Secretary of State with her marriage license and social security documentation, she was told she has to wait six months for a probationary period before the name change can take place.

Now, the couple feels they are in limbo and their own state is forcing them out.
 
"It's discrimination based on sexual orientation, and it's just so ridiculous. We live in 2014," says Crystal. "What are we on probation for - for being gay?"

They were given a number to call in Lansing.

"[Brianna] inquired, 'Why do I have to wait six months to get my name changed? I'm married; [the marriage license] states that I'm married; federally, I'm married; I don't understand why I can't change it,' and she said 'Well, if you would have married a man you'd have no problem changing your name,'" Crystal explains.

"My driver's license says one and my social security card says another. She's like, 'Well, legally in Michigan you're still Brianna Hoskins," Brianna says. Same-sex marriage is not recognized in Michigan.  

A spokesperson with the Secretary of State tells Fox 2's Amy Lange the only way for the women to get a name change is to go through the courts or get a common-law name change, which takes six months.

VIDEO: Click on the video player above to watch the report from Amy Lange

At Equality Michigan, Field Director Sommer Foster says they're seeing more couples like the Reese's in this state of limbo and, with tax time upon us, the filing gets complicated. They have to file jointly federally, single for state purposes and for cities it's still unclear.

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

A trial begins in federal court next month to overturn Michigan's ban on gay marriage.

"I'm in the military. Even the military recognizes it. She gets all my benefits; she gets everything and it's recognized - but I can't do it at home?" Brianna says.

A trial begins in federal court next month to overturn Michigan's ban on gay marriage.

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