by Paul Bowers
An Upstate man who decided to adopt his wife's last name after they got married in June finally got his name changed on his South Carolina driver's license Oct. 11.
Jason Scott Clary Baize (né Clary), husband of Amanda Mae Baize, went to the Department of Motor Vehicles office in Greenville and was told that he could not change his last name without a court order — even though the DMV allows for a name change with a marriage license. At that time, the Social Security Administration already recognized Baize by his new name.
This fall, the American Civil Liberties Union of South Carolina got involved with Baize's case. Legal Director Susan K. Dunn sent a letter to Kevin Schwedo, executive director of the SCDMV, on Oct. 4 asking him to review the department's practices and policies "to assure that they comply with state and federal law regarding gender discrimination."
Schwedo replied in a letter marked Oct. 8, "It is unfortunate that our employees told Mr. Baize that he could not join his surname with his wife's surname." Schwedo wrote that the SCDMV had changed its procedure in 2006 to allow either a husband or a wife "to keep their pre-married name or ... adopt some combination of last names from either spouse."
In the letter, Schwedo apologized for the Baizes' inconvenience and wrote that he was sending a reminder to all of the statewide offices about their procedures.