COLUMBIA — A civil rights organization is demanding South Carolina make it as easy for men who change their names when they get married to get new driver’s licenses as they do for women.
Jason Scott Clary Baize, of Travelers Rest, took his wife’s name after the couple married in June. He brought a new Social Security card with his changed name and his marriage license to the Department of Motor Vehicles office in Greenville, according to a letter written Thursday by the American Civil Liberties Union.
DMV workers turned him down, even though he had the same proof women need when they want to change their licenses after taking their husband’s last name, the ACLU said.
Instead, the DMV said he needed to get a court order to change his name, which would cost at least $150, the civil rights group said.
The ACLU gave the DMV 10 days to agree to apply the same name change rules to everyone and assure the organization it would train its employees to handle people of both genders the same way. The organization got Mississippi to treat husbands and wives the same after a similar complaint last month. The letter did not say what the ACLU will do if the DMV refuses.
DMV spokeswoman Beth Parks had not seen the letter Friday afternoon, and the agency didn’t have an immediate response.
Baize didn’t return a message left with his mother Friday.
The ACLU’s letter said it is critical that the DMV allow Baize to change his name on his driver’s license because he has already changed it with the Social Security Administration. Otherwise, the organization said, Baize may have trouble registering to vote or when he shows his ID at airports or courthouses.
The state law requiring people to notify the DMV of name or address changes within 10 days uses the male pronoun “him.” The form used to change a name, as well as all information on the DMV website about changing a name after a marriage, does not mention gender, according to the ACLU’s letter.