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]


  1. Dave says

    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.

  2. Harrison says

    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.

  3. yoshi says

    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.

  4. MT says

    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?

  5. realitythink says

    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.

  6. Rey says

    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.

  7. Strepsi says

    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!

  8. says

    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!

  9. Matilda says

    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.

  10. vanitysmurf says

    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.

  11. Mike says

    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.

  12. Daniel says

    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.

  13. jeff says

    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….

  14. John says

    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?

  15. Michael says

    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.

  16. Zeke says

    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).

  17. Garrett in SF says

    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.

  18. z says

    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!

  19. Miguel says

    Ugh! you guys are starting to sound like political pundits pouncing on everything with bitchy talking points. “It’s all Clinton’s fault!” … 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.


  20. Michael Bedwell says

    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.

  21. says

    “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.

  22. Michael Bedwell says

    “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.

  23. Zeke says

    MICHAEL, I’m so glad to hear you FINALLY admit that Obama and Clinton have the exact same position on legalizing marriage. That is a vast improvement over your earlier statements where you slammed Obama’s stance over and over while not mentioning that the positions that you found so deplorable with Obama were in fact identical to those of Clinton.

    It’s good to see you being forthright about their similarities for a change; even if that wasn’t what you intended.


  24. JerzeeMike says

    Yikes! My fiance and I are getting married in Canada in 2010. Now I’m seriously considering whether or not to stay in Canada if I can. We’re both U.S. citizens and our families and friends all live here but we’re both at odds with remaining in this country if things don’t take a dramatic turn after this election year.

    I think we have some major decisions to make besides what color tux or flower arrangements.

  25. demohap says

    This is a total LIE that he can get a passport. I have gotten one in my married name the guy must have the reading comprehension of a fucking hamster. The passport people can not give him a passport in his married name if he only sent in his marriage certificate with his old book in his maiden name. Trust me on this i have been through this with me and my husband. He probably sent in a renewal form (Ds-82) and sent in his marriage certificate, which straight women can do to get their passport in their married name. The State Department called me and told me regrettably that because of the Marriage Defense act they can not take my Massachusetts’s marraige certificate but I can send in a court order legally changing my name. Which I already did for other legal purposes outside of Massachusetts. If I didnt have my name legally changed I could do one of two things have my name in my old name or send in 3 public records showing usage of my married name and a photo copy of my drivers license. The lady was really nice and felt bad she says at her office they personally call people because they feel that the rules are not fair but because of the marriage defense act they cant recognize same sex marriages, and that they call first then they send a letter telling you how to do it because they feel the letter does have the sensitivity that they can convey on the phone.

    I HAVE my passport in my married name so everyone who says they cant are lying and just making up stuff it be angry. Yes it is unfair that we cant get our named changed with our Marriage certificate alone but the people at the State department passport services will help you get the name you need and deserve. I could have also just done a DS-11 which is a new form and shown my ID with my married name and my BC and there wouldn’t have been any problems at all but that cost 20 bucks more than just doing the renewal by mail.

  26. Brad says

    I think I’m gonna throw up. Taking another man’s name….COME ON. How far do you bitches want to take this marriage thing? Next you’ll be bitching that you can’t find white pumps in your shoe size. GAG.

  27. Michael Bedwell says

    “finally,” Ezekial? Guess you were on your lovely yacht off the coast of Mykonos when:

    “…just like Sen. Clinton, Obama supports that states’ rights issue. Though, unlike him, she’s not pretending something else to score political points off a phony issue. Pick up any gay paper and you’ll see over and over and over assertions that there is a functional difference in their positions when the only truth is that the gay press is either dumb, lazy, or Obamaheads themselves—or all three.’ – Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Feb 28, 2008 11:47:27 AM

    “…the flip side of that has been playing us stupid about the superior praise he keeps asking for—and shamelessly getting—re repealing Section 2 of DOMA, hiding his real position, while Sen. Clinton has simply been honest about the state’s rights relationship to marriage laws and gets crucified for it.” – Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Feb 15, 2008 9:55:41 PM

    “…Expose the truth behind the smoke and mirrors that his functional, legally applicable position is NO DIFFERENT than Sen. Clinton’s and then let people decide.” – POSTED BY: MICHAEL BEDWELL | JAN 31, 2008 11:25:22 AM

    “…Worse still is that Obama is on record as SUPPORTING the related historical principle: a state’s right to deny ANY KIND of same gender union if they want regardless of what happens to that toothless section of DOMA. For the record, too, you’re wrong about Edwards—his position is the same as Obama’s—repeal all of DOMA, including that now meaningless section, but respect “states’ rights.” Hillary’s only difference is that she sees no point in faking being against them by a hat trick with Section 2.” – Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Jan 25, 2008 4:37:59 PM

    et al.

    :- )

  28. ARI says

    This makes no sense. I changed my name legally and added my partner’s last name as my middle name and changed my last name to something that I was just fond of. I got a new passport without any problem at all. I had the decree from the court. This must be a fake story. Someone has a little too much time on their hands to make this stuff up, right?

  29. nic says

    if one changes his/her name legally, there is no sustainable cause to deny a passport.


    cool your jets a bit. ok? i know that for every burp in government (no, in the universe entire) some asshole is going to tie it to the clintons. why should we indulge those fools? we only sully ourselves in the process.

    zeke is a good guy. you need not take my advice, but i would pick my battles more carefully.

  30. Zeke says

    NIC, I think BEDWELL’s just yanking my chain good naturedly with the “yacht of the coast of Mykonos” jab.

    I’m not ready to sift through all of the archives but I can certainly remember many times where Mr. Bedwell railed against an Obama position where his position was identical to hers.

    MB, you did show examples where you previously said that their positions were the same. I can’t help but notice that they were all instances where you were defending Clinton’s position rather than when you were on the attack against Obama. It’s in the Obama attack posts where you would find the examples that I was referring to.

    It’s all good though.

  31. says

    This is so crazy. Our government is so whack! We are supposedly one of the super powers in the world who wants to bring democracy everywhere else but here! We can’t even get equal rights for our GLBTQ community! Spain and Mexico City have gay marriage, both of which are Catholic places; the UK has Civil Unions with all the rights of heterosexual couples (and we left England for MORE FREEDOM!); Israel just approved adoption to GLBTQ community; Canada has gay marriage. What the hell is wrong with our government??? It perplexes me!

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