Tenn. Won’t Recognize Same-Sex Couple Name Change

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Thursday September 26, 2013

It may come to no surprise to some but the state of Tennessee will not legally recognize the name change of a same-sex couple, East Tennessee's NBC-affiliate station WBIR reports.

John Stovall and Herman Irby live in Middle Tennessee, where gay marriage is not legal, but legally tied the knot in marriage equality friendly New York in August. Stovall was able to change his last name on his Social Security card because the federal government now recognizes same-sex unions, after the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act earlier this year.

Though the federal government recognizes the marriage, the state government of Tennessee refuses to allow the name change on Stovall's state-issued driver's license.

"The state had no problems giving us concealed carry permits. We have a license to carry deadly weapons, but they seem to be scared to death to give us a license to be in love with one another," Stovall told WBIR.

The couple has been together for two decades and says they do not want to leave the state. According to the LGBT rights group, Tennessee Equality Project, the men's rights are being violated.