October 5, 2012
When Jason Scott Clary Baize (nee Clary) married Amanda Baize, he chose to adopt his wife’s name. The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) refused to change his name on his driver’s license, absent a court order, even though women only have to provide a copy of their marriage license and Social Security card showing their married name. Mr. Baize successfully changed his name with the Social Security Administration, but the DMV in South Carolina would not approve the change with his marriage license and new Social Security card, without a court order.
On October 4, 2012, the ACLU of South Carolina sent a letter to the DMV on behalf of Jason Scott Clary Baize demanding that they permit Mr. Baize to change his name, as a woman would be permitted. The letter also demands that the DMV allow newly married men in South Carolina access to the same procedures to change their surnames as married women.
“The DMV’s refusal to change Jason Baize’s name violates state and federal law,” said Susan Dunn, Legal Director at the ACLU of South Carolina. “The discriminatory policy places an additional burden on men, in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution, and it reinforces gender stereotypes that have no place in our society in the 21st century.”
The Mississippi Department of Public Safety previously followed a practice similar to the one in place in South Carolina. When confronted last month with its discriminatory policy, the Mississippi DPS immediately instructed employees to issue name changes for driver’s licenses for newly married men using the same procedures used for newly married women.
The ACLU of South Carolina has asked that the DMV respond to its letter within 10 days.