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DOMESTIC PARTNERS: Couples charged for name change

Letter by Chalu I. Harris, Tacoma on Aug. 29, 2011 at 1:33 pm | 17 Comments »
August 29, 2011 1:33 pm

I am half of a registered domestic partnership in Washington state. We visited the Tacoma Social Security office, and after a short wait were called by an agent. We presented all of our information, and after a chat with her supervisor the agent set about changing our names. She had just changed my name in the system when her supervisor came back and told her to stop.

It seems that while the Social Security Administration has said we can change our names, the State of Washington has not. We were informed that to change our names we would need to pay a $157 fee and file with the courts to ask a judge for permission to change our names.

I am dismayed and extremely disappointed that as a couple in a domestic partnership we have fees associated with changing our names while married couples do not. This is not a matter of married vs. domestic partnership because laws give couples a right to a name change.

Since name change has become customary, most jurisdictions give couples this right with the presentation of a marriage certificate. The only charge encountered for updating their names on the driver’s license.

Is it equitable that couples in a domestic partnership should have a fee that is 1,600 percent more than that of a married couple? Domestic partnerships are open to straight and gay couples alike, so this affects both.

It is not fair to my family or any other couple and needs to be righted expeditiously.

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