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Married women can keep their maiden names, thanks to Michigan AG's ruling 40 years ago

Oct 1, 2014

Frank Kelley
Credit Detroit Free Press

 

Forty years ago this week, Michigan Attorney General Frank Kelley issued an opinion that has resonated in countless homes through the years:  can a woman keep her maiden name? 

The question was raised by the state Board of Nursing, asking if female nursing graduates could use their maiden names on their licenses. 

Kelley replied that married women can maintain their maiden names. Not only that, six years later, he said husbands are allowed to take their wives' surnames as well. 

"This sounds like nothing that would raise an eyebrow these days, but that was a fairly momentous development back then," said Jack Lessenberry, Michigan Radio's political commentator.

* Listen to the full interview with Jack Lessenberry above.