Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

WV State News

December 6, 2012

W.Va. woman denied driver's license in wife's name

(Continued)

A Social Security card isn't good enough in Landis' case because it's not evidence of a legal name, Dale said. Her Virginia license merely shows she was a valid driver, so West Virginia could waive the written and road skills tests.

"Her only solution," he said, "is to go to court and have a judge order a name change."

But Landis said she can't afford a lawyer, and she shouldn't have to "pay whatever I have to pay to change my name to what it already is."

Nor will she seek a license in her ex-husband's name. Instead, she'll try to draw attention to what she sees as discrimination.

She noted that her marriage certificate doesn't specify the gender of either spouse.

"It doesn't even specify bride or groom," she said. "If one of us had an androgynous name like Jesse or Pat, we'd probably fly right through the system."

Earlier this year, retiring Delegate John Doyle, D-Jefferson, introduced a bill to give gay and lesbian couples the same legal protections as heterosexual married couples. They should have the same safety net to deal with the death of a parent or the loss of a job as married couples, he argued.

Fairness WV, which advocates on behalf of the gay, lesbian and transgender community, said it was the first time a civil union bill was introduced in the West Virginia Legislature.

It went nowhere.

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