By David Williams
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Wendy Norman and her wife, Carolyn, were married May 26, 2012 in Massachusetts.
"It was our three year anniversary of meeting each other," Wendy Norman said.
"We're connected," the couple said as they held hands showing their coordinated tattoos.
Wendy took her wife's last name of Norman and got all of her personal documents changed to reflect it.
"Went down to the DMV Office, showed them our marriage license," Wendy explained. "My social security number, etc."
She was given a license with her married name. Eight months passed. Then, around January 17, a letter arrives from the state of Florida saying the state does not recognize same-sex marriages.
"We knew we weren't going to get those benefits, but that's OK," Wendy said.
The letter also said the state is unable to change her last name to match her spouse's. It goes on to ask her to have a replacement license issued with her birth name or provide a certified court order name change.
"First, I felt like I was being yelled at or scolded like I did something wrong," Wendy exclaimed.
If it's not done by February 6th, Wendy's driving privilege will be cancelled indefinitely.
"We're just normal, two people in love. Fight it. I want to fight it," she said. "I want to keep my married name."
According to Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motorvehicles Communications Director, Courtney Heidelberg, the state admits the Tax Collector's Office made a mistake in issuing Wendy her license with her new name. The office should not have accepted her mass marriage license. Heidelberg said the office did notify the state.
The State said Wendy has some options: She can keep her married name on the license if she goes before a judge to have her name changed. She can also show a valid passport with her married name on it at the Tax Collector's Office.
FCN talked to a lawyer who said in Duval County, same-sex couples have limited to no rights, that is unless they obtain and execute legal documents pursuant to Florida law that will protect their relationship. A few examples of said documents are a last will and testament, a power of attorney, a guardianship designation, or sign a hospitalization release.
Florida law limits marriage to the relationship between and man and a woman; in 2008 voters approved the Florida Marriage protection amendment by 62.1% of the votes.
First Coast News