Discrimination | Gay Marriage | Massachusetts | News

Gay Man Denied Passport from State Dept Under Married Name

Jason Hair-Wynn, a gay Massachusetts man who married his partner in 2005 and legally changed his name to add his partner's, must change it back to his old name, Jason Hair, if he wants a passport says the State Department.

HairwynnAccording to the Sun Chronicle, the State Department says the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) prohibits them from recognizing his married name: "'We are unable to comply with your request for a name change based on the documentation you sent because of the Defense of Marriage Act ...,' the letter states. 'In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administration bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word 'marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word 'spouse' refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.'"

Hair-Wynn applied for the passport so he could go to Ghana and work at orphanages educating children about HIV and AIDS. He says he's changing his name back so he can go.

Gay Attleboro man can't get passport under married name [sun chronicle]

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  1. Is there something that I am missing? The piece said he "legally changed his name". So, what does the marriage have to do with it at that point?
    Does anyone know the a) amount of documents that, if filed separately, would approximate those assumed by a single marriage certificate? and b) the cost of those documents in comparison to a marriage certificate? Ever wonder why we don't hear more lawyers speak up for gay marriage?
    Does this mean that douche who changed his name to "Pro-life" will be denied a passport too? Does the State Department have a policy against morons? - Oh wait, they ARE morons...nevermind.

    Posted by: Dave | Mar 21, 2008 11:11:43 AM

  2. Glad to see the morons in the State Department have other things to occupy their time then looking at Barack Obama's passport file.

    In other news, I hate everyone.

    Posted by: Harrison | Mar 21, 2008 11:24:43 AM

  3. Ah - somethings not right here. Anyone can legally change their name. My guess is that the State department had an issue that he filled out the Spousal section of the passport form. Not the name change. But since this article is so poorly written - who knows what the real deal is.

    Posted by: yoshi | Mar 21, 2008 11:27:54 AM

  4. DOMA. The Clinton gift that keeps on giving.

    Posted by: Matthew | Mar 21, 2008 11:29:20 AM

  5. No, they have a policy against gay people, thanks in no small measure to the Clintons, the folks who gave us Don't Ask Don't Tell.

    Posted by: Roscoe | Mar 21, 2008 11:36:05 AM

  6. Is this seriously a thing? I"m about to get married and change my name. Does this mean I'm never going to be able to travel outside the United States again? Does anyone on here know about European passports? I was thinking of getting dual citizenship so I could get an EU passport. I obviously want to now. Does anyone have any experience with this?

    Posted by: MT | Mar 21, 2008 11:38:09 AM

  7. This is in fact going on. My husband and I married in Massachusetts in 2004, we also adopted our son from the state social services department at the same time in the same court room and changed all of our names at the time. We haven't been able to get a passport since.

    We've contacted the Attorney General's office about it but have been largely ignored.

    Obama has promised to try and overturn DOMA.
    Hillary has not.

    Posted by: realitythink | Mar 21, 2008 11:55:23 AM

  8. President Clinton did some very insulting things to the LBGT community while in office, but it is completely unfair to completely attribute DADT to him.

    His original intent was to do away completely with the prohibition of gay folks in the military and for him to have taken on such a subject within his first months in office was amazing.

    I remember the guy I was dating in the Navy telling me how many people stationed with him spoke openly about wanting to kill the commander-in-chief over his gall at wanting to allow gays to serve openly.

    It was an extremely stupid compromise, but to pin DADT on Clinton as if he originally envisioned the solution as such is incorrect.

    Posted by: Rey | Mar 21, 2008 11:57:50 AM

  9. Note to all Americans: you do not live in the "Free-est Country On Earth" (TM) You live in a state that is moving backwards, contrary to equality, freedom, and every other developed nation: and is rapidly becoming Fascist. Do you notice how when it is convenient, these things are State issues, except when it needs Federal issues to continue to deny gay people equality? Step 1: Class Action Suit. Step 2: Come to Canada!

    Posted by: Strepsi | Mar 21, 2008 11:57:53 AM

  10. I think the issue here is that he probably sent in his name change request with his MA marriage license. If he were to go to family court and get his name declared changed by a court order, I'm sure he'd be fine.

    I bet there is a gay attorney in MA who would do the whole thing pro bono!

    Posted by: Mike | Mar 21, 2008 11:59:02 AM

  11. I know this issue is borderline serious, but that picture is HILARIOUS! Why so blue, punkin'? I wish this post had sound effects because I would insert BWAH BWUHHHHHHH.

    Posted by: Matilda | Mar 21, 2008 12:00:43 PM

  12. It's a problem because the name change happened via marriage license rather than going to court and asking for it to be changed separately. He's basically submitting a document that State can't recognize. He can have his married name on his passport, he just has to go to court and change it rather than checking a box on a marriage license and relying on that to be recognized proof (which is how most str8 women do it btw). So the choice is to spend a couple hundred bucks on court costs to get different documentation (the kind anyone who change their name for some other non-marriage reason would have) or just refile his passport application with the name that matches his birth certificate.

    And yes, DOMA is the Clinton gift that keeps on giving.

    Posted by: vanitysmurf | Mar 21, 2008 12:04:53 PM

  13. Clinton signed DOMA into law. He pandered to the electorate by going after gays. Remember, he learned a lesson from the gays in the military kerfuffle and triangulated on policy issues (thank you Dick Morris).

    Personally, I think Clinton is worse than Bush on LGBT issues because he pretended to be a friend of the community -- and then did so much to set us back.

    Posted by: Mike | Mar 21, 2008 12:06:51 PM

  14. Try crossing the US border at an airport and ticking the "Married" box on that form you have to hand in.

    There are just so many indignities and barriers erected to gay people in this country -- still. And it amazes me how ignorant straight people are about this stuff. When you tell them, they have an epiphany then get mad... which is why we should be getting this story out, again and again.

    PS: DOMA also prevents a legally married gay spouse from getting permanent residency in the USA.

    Posted by: Daniel | Mar 21, 2008 12:13:21 PM

  15. My husband took my name when we got married. He had to go through the name-changing process in court as it wasn't a given because we got (yes, legally) married.

    Sad the same-sex Mass. couples don't get the same automatic name change most other couples take for granted, but the guy in this article should have been smart enough to recongize that one state law doesn't trump DOMA (thanks, Clintons!), and he needed to go that extra step and go through the court.

    And gay people should start doing sit-ins and boycotting gay-bashing corporations to get attention to the inequality.... but I digress....

    Posted by: jeff | Mar 21, 2008 12:25:31 PM

  16. Since homosexuality is illegal in Ghana, why would he want to draw attention to the fact that he's married to another man?

    Also, Ghana's Information Minister told reporters 'known homosexuals' were banned from entering the country in 2006 (for trying to organize a conference call against the sodomy law).

    Some free advice for Christian missionaries and other assorted westerners out to "save" the world:

    It might be helpful to find out a few things about the place you're going before you go. Just a thought. Maybe? Perhaps?

    Posted by: John | Mar 21, 2008 12:31:42 PM

  17. I'm an American currently living outside the US for about a year. I'm not totally sure where I'm heading next after this, but I'm not so certain that moving back to the US is in my best interest as I read all the stories like this.

    It's so surreal to feel as though my own country isn't where I'm the most welcome. And now that the economy is tanking, Canada is sounding better and better.

    Posted by: Michael | Mar 21, 2008 1:01:28 PM

  18. Well I hope to god that this brave and righteous stand by the federal government saves some straight couple's marriage in the Bible Belt (the area with the highest divorce rate).

    Posted by: Zeke | Mar 21, 2008 1:33:40 PM

  19. Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't this finally give us the chance to challenge DOMA in federal court? He should call the ACLU immediately.

    Posted by: Garrett in SF | Mar 21, 2008 2:16:08 PM

  20. 2 female friends of mine went through the same situation. Lucky for them the women on the other end of the phone was a lesbian and actually put her passport through. We're everywhere! They better get used to it!

    Posted by: z | Mar 21, 2008 2:34:27 PM

  21. So did Bill Clinton sign his Defense Of Marriage into law with his dick in Monica's mouth?

    Posted by: Roscoe | Mar 21, 2008 3:03:10 PM

  22. Ugh! you guys are starting to sound like political pundits pouncing on everything with bitchy talking points. "It's all Clinton's fault!" .....my fav.

    Anyway, back to the ACTUAL topic here,
    the story doesn't seem right. Anyone can legally change their name; all you need to do is provide proper documentation of this change and who you were before--regardless of marriage status. Can't he just reapply as a single individual? Visas and passports are provided by the Federal government and thus don't acknowledge his marriage anyway... so, I don't get this story.


    Posted by: Miguel | Mar 21, 2008 3:13:45 PM

  23. Perhaps you have been in a long coma, "RealityThink," but nearly A YEAR after stating it on her Website; SEVEN MONTHS after the LOGO forum; and after numerous interviews in between, there is no excuse for anyone claiming that Sen. Clinton does not have the EXACT SAME position as Obama on repealing the section of DOMA regarding federal statutes and agencies that the couple above, among others married in Massachusetts, have run into.

    And before anyone parrots yet again that he supports repealing Section 2 and she doesn't, once again I must remind everyone that OBAMA's functional position [which he avoids talking about and his campaign repeatedly misrepresents] is also the same as hers—that, even without DOMA, respect for the tradition of "states' rights" should be followed.

    And, further, Obama, Inc., stopped sending out his Constitutional law advisor Lawrence Tribe out to talk to reporters after he revealed that last August AND said in regard to interaction between states, "Same-sex couples in Massachusetts are neither better nor worse off with DOMA repealed."

    There are differences between Sen. Clinton and Obama on a number of things but this is not one of them.

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Mar 21, 2008 3:25:08 PM

  24. "Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State..." Article IV, Section 1, U.S. Constitution

    What ever happened to full faith and credit? If his name was changed legally in his home state, there should be no reason why his name shouldn't be changed on official records to indicate that, no matter if it was marriage, or by court order.

    Posted by: The Avatar of Blue | Mar 21, 2008 3:41:28 PM

  25. "Full faith and credit" is relevant only to interaction between states, not between states and the federal government.

    The Constitutional issues that should apply are the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment, but court challenges have resulted in lower courts supporting DOMA and the Supreme Court refusing to hear appeals.

    While discussion about this election has focused almost exclusively on the Presidency, equally important in terms of any hope of repealing DOMA—AND legislation to implement marriage equality in federal terms—is the increase of the Democratic majority in both house of Congress to a level that makes the passage of such legislation possible regardless of who is President, and a veto proof majority should, Goddess forbid, McCain be elected. He would almost certainly attempt to veto such legislation.

    Election of a Democratic President is also crucial in terms of filling vacancies on the Supreme Court so that its majority would sustain marriage equality enacted by Congress or the courts.

    PS: Whoever illegally approved Hair-Wynn's Social Security card/account name change better hope he/she remains unidentified until the Repugs are gone.

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Mar 21, 2008 4:22:54 PM

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