Texas denies drivers license to woman who took her partner’s name in same-sex marriage
A California woman, recently transplanted to Houston, was refused a drivers license by the Texas Department of Public Safety because she had taken the last name of her same-sex partner last year following their marriage.
Connie Wilson told the Texas Observer that she and her partner of nine years, Aimee Wilson, had recently moved to Houston with their three children.
Noticing her California drivers license was due to expire, Wilson went to her local DPS office to get a Texas license, taking her birth certificate, social security card, and other documents for identification purposes.
When the DPS employee noticed her current last name was different from her birth certificate, Wilson produced her marriage certificate issued in California showing her partner’s name as Aimee Wilson.
“Her only words to me were, ‘Is this same-sex?’” Connie Wilson recalled. “I remember hesitating for probably 10 seconds. I didn’t know how to answer. I didn’t want to lie, but I knew I was in trouble because I wasn’t going to be able to get a license.”
Wilson admitted being married to another woman, to which the DPS employee replied, “You can’t use this to get your license. This doesn’t validate your last name. Do you have anything else?”
“She told me I would never get a license with my current name, that the name doesn’t belong to me,” Wilson said, adding the that employee was a supervisor.
Although Texas has both a state statute and a constitutional amendment prohibiting recognition of same-sex marriages from other states, Wilson said she’s not asking the DPS to recognize her marriage, she just wants a license that reflects her legal name according to both the state of California and the U.S. government.
“I’ve been deprived the freedom to drive a vehicle once my current California driver’s license expires,” Wilson said. “I’m further being deprived the freedom to use air travel, make purchases that require a valid photo identification, seek medical attention for myself or my children, as well as other situations that would require proving who I am legally as an individual.”
Wilson also stated that not having a valid Texas ID could affect her ability to buy a home in the state.
Wilson said the supervisor suggested she get a license in her maiden name — Wilson insists she lacks the documentation to do that — or obtain a court order from a judge legally changing her name.
Saying it would cost her $500 to do so and there was no guarantee a judge would grant the change, saying ““My name is already legally Wilson. I don’t know if a judge will even grant me a name change from Wilson to Wilson.”