For many newly married couples, it’s not unusual to apply to the state and federal government to get their new last names.
But for Art Bristol and Corey Ledin, whose newly minted marriage license declares their last names as Ledin-Brisol, the process was far from usual.
TV cameras were watching and photographers snapped pictures. The secretary of state's office wouldn't even accept the same-sex couple's paperwork for a new driver’s license.
“Unfortunately, we’ve not been given the OK to go ahead and accept those for name changes at this point. Because of the stay, our procedurals are still tied and we can’t change anything yet,” a secretary of state official at an office in Grand Rapids said.
She suggested the couple call a customer service number and their state legislators in the meantime.
“This is unacceptable. We’re a married couple and we have the right to have our documents in order. I mean they’re taking our freedoms away and that’s not acceptable,” Bristol said.
The legalities for Bristol and others remain unclear.
The Social Security office actually took the couples’ paperwork. They'll have to wait to see if their new Social Security cards show up in the mail. If his name is changed at the federal level but not the state level, the secretary of state official suggested that could be a problem for Bristol’s voter identification card.
Bethany Rozeboom took her new wife’s last name, Winn, when they got married in Muskegon on Saturday. She’s a bit frustrated but not shocked by the process.
“It is irritating. especially because I was in a marriage to a man in the past and then all of the name change and all the stuff was really easy. All the benefits, everything was very quick and simple with the bank and names changes. This time it’s just like hurdle after hurdle and wondering if and when and who’s going to acknowledge what,” Rozeboom said.
A federal appeals court put the marriages on hold until it can hear the state’s case for an appeal tomorrow.