The state of Nebraska has refused to give a woman who was born there a driver’s license or even recognize her name because she is married to another woman.
Sue Stroesser told The Omaha World-Herald that she had no trouble getting a driver’s license at the age of 16, but the state has refused to give her one at the age of 51.
Sue and Mary Stroesser have been together for 30 years, were married in Iowa in 2009, and recently moved back to Nebraska. When she went to the DMV last month to get her Nebraska driver’s license, she was told that her Iowa marriage license could not be accepted as proof of her name change.
Nebraska passed a constitutional amendment in 2000 that prevents the state from recognizing same-sex marriages.
But Sue pointed out that her Iowa driver’s license, her Social Security card, her passport, and credit cards all say that her last name is Stroesser.
“I have a Nebraska state license to practice in my health care profession,” she noted. “I work in Nebraska as a Stroesser. I have paid Nebraska taxes for three years as a Stroesser. And I’m denied a driver’s license?”
Without a Nebraska driver’s license, Sue has had problems opening a bank account, and changing her car insurance from Iowa to Nebraska.
Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicle Director Rhonda Lahm explained to the World-Herald that the DMV staff had acted correctly.
“We have to follow the Constitution, and can’t recognize a marriage license for two persons of the same gender,” she insisted.
According to the DMV, Sue’s only recourse is to go through the expensive and time consuming process of legally changing her name in court.
“I’ve been a Stroesser for a long time. I’m not asking for recognition of my marriage with Mary,” she said. “I am asking for state identification with my current legal name.”
Watch the video below about the fight for marriage equality in Nebraska.
[Photo: Back lit lesbian couple close together outdoors via Shutterstock.com]