by Paul Bowers
When an Upstate man named Jason Scott Clary married a woman named Amanda Baize, he decided to adopt his wife's surname. In the eyes of the Social Security Administration, he is now Jason Scott Clary Baize. But when Baize, a resident of Travelers Rest, went to the Greenville office of the Department of Motor Vehicles to get his name changed on his driver's license, they said he would have to get a court order.
In response, the American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter to the SCDMV on Thursday demanding that the agency permit the name change using the same procedure as a woman would use to change her name. In South Carolina, women seeking a name change on their license must provide a marriage license and Social Security showing their new name. Jason Baize provided both documents but was denied his request.
“The DMV’s refusal to change Jason Baize’s name violates state and federal law,” says Susan Dunn, legal director at the ACLU of South Carolina. “The discriminatory policy places an additional burden on men, in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution, and it reinforces gender stereotypes that have no place in our society in the 21st century."
The ACLU's letter also demands that the SCDMV provide men the same access to name-change procedures as women in all future cases.