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Lesbian Couple Denied Name Change Because Their Marriage "Means Nothing to the State of Florida"

As Florida residents, Rachel and Charlotte Lambert-Jolley knew that their marriage in Connecticut, where same sex weddings are legal, wouldn't be recognized in their own home state. They at least hoped, however, that it would help expedite the process of legally changing their last names to their new hyphened surname. The newlyweds claimed they were humiliated at the DMV when they applied for the change and told that their marriage "means nothing to the state of Florida."


The Lambert-Jolleys, fresh off their recent out-of-state marriage, called the Pinellas County DMV to inquire about changing their names on their drivers licenses. They were told by an employee that as long as they brought their marriage license they would be fine. The couple says they even clarified to the employee that it was a same-sex marriage license from out of state.

The pair had already changed their names on their Social Security Cards with no problem, even though the Federal government does not officially recognize same-sex marriage.

When they arrived the name changes were denied.

"To have multiple people tell you, 'It's fine, it's fine,' [then] you go in there and think you are good, then boom! It's a slap in the face, pretty much," Rachel tells WTSP.

A spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle didn't mince her harsh words when she explained the policy.

"The out-of-state marriage certificate is a piece of paper that means nothing to the state of Florida. That is correct," Ann Howard, the spokeswoman, told Patch.com. "The law is very clear. It doesn't recognize any document related to same-sex marriage, because it is not recognized under the Florida Constitution.

The couple can however get their names changed on their passports. That along with their new Social Security cards would be enough for the State of Florida. They can also seek a court order to have their names changed, but that can cost up to $400 or more.

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