I married in September. Prior to being married, my wife and I agreed that I would take her last name for a number of reasons. One very important but sad reason is the racism and discrimination I have been met with while in possession of a Spanish/Hispanic last name and of Spanish decent. I am blond-haired and blue-eyed, with a pale complexion. Although I have never been seriously victimized, I have been met with minor inconveniences, including statements from perspective employers such as, "I expected you to look different," or being asked, "Are you really Mexican?" When I was younger I laughed it off, but as I aged it has become a serious burden. A burden I would never want my wife to have to experience.
I was not aware, nor could I have ever expected, that I would not be awarded the same privileges as my wife or any other female when it came to changing my name. I quickly learned that I would not be able to take my wife's name as easily as she would have taken mine. I am now going through the lengthy and expensive process of changing my last name to hers (Mann) - the same process as if I wanted to change my name from Dennis to John. I have no other option but to represent myself in this name change due to finances. I am a firefighter, and contrary to popular belief we are not paid very well. I am currently working two full-time jobs in order to keep a roof over my head, and my wife in school at Coastal Carolina University. This has made me very upset.
It is now five months following my wedding and I am still not able to get on with my life, sharing the same last name as my wife. This upsets me for two reasons. I have been discriminated against as a male, and am not entitled to the same privilege as a female, and the fact that the state law discriminates against women in the manner that state law forces them into taking the male's name even if they have decided to keep their own. I would love to see this law changed, so that every man and woman in the state of South Carolina may choose whose name they may keep, as I am certain I am not the only person that is forced to deal with this. Times have changed and 17th century customs and traditions do not fit modern society. I am not a wealthy person. I am a public servant (firefighter). I have committed myself to a government and the population it serves, and now I am discriminated against by that very government.
The writer lives in Myrtle Beach.
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