In this country we’ve traditionally had men marrying women, and vice versa. As they say ‘that was then, this is now’. In the future we are going to have a lot more situations where same sex couples are marrying and it occurred to me that there isn’t any standard to how we identify same sex couples in a marital relationship.
Women generally take the name of their new spouse when they marry, I think the statistics are something like 83 percent of women change their name to their husbands. A portion of women decide to hyphenate their names and some women keep their own ‘maiden name’. So in traditional marriages we can see that there weren’t any hard and fast rules. Still, it’s generally women who do the name changing.
As a matter of fact, this name changing business opens up a can of worms. People can change their name any time they want to whatever they want to be called for the most part. The only problem with doing that is institutions have a habit of being difficult with name changes. So if I want to call myself Mo Lee, or Mo Mo, or Mo Fliegelhorn, or Mo Money, or Mo Tion I can as long as I’m not doing it in order to defraud or cheat anyone.
I wasn’t a freethinker when I got married. I chose my husband’s last name as my own when I married. I’m Mo Gallant, but in order to officially work that out I had to have my social security card changed. My passport has my new name on it but my birth certificate still has my maiden name, as do my graduation certificates- still, my current legal identity shows up on my license.
Which brings us back to the original question about who changes their name in a same sex marriage? I mean the truth is that no one has to change their name in a marriage! The only trouble is with children from that marriage. Whose name do the children receive as a last name or surname?
Some folks take part of each of their names and create a new name. Children could take on that kind of blended name. Let’s say one partner has the name of Smith and the other has the name of Jones. The new blended name could be something like SmitJone, or JoneSmit or Jonessmith or Smithjones, or Smijon, or Jonsmi, or Josm, or Smjo. Or a blend of the first names of both parents. Imagine Patricia and Angelina. Their hypothetical child has a whole host of possible blended names like PatriAnge, or Patang.
The point is that there are no concrete rules. We do have to work this thing out though because you don’t want your DNA to identify you in public. At least I don’t. I much prefer having an identifier that works culturally because I’ve agreed to it! Can you imagine living in a world where you aren’t a number but a pattern of DNA? Where you don’t even need to go to the trouble of having a name because any official transactions will be checked with a biological scan?
How do you plan on playing the ‘name game’?