• Same-sex couple one of first to successfully change names legally in Fla.


    BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - A local same-sex couple may be one of the first in Florida to have their names legally changed using a marriage license from another state.

    After meeting more than 10 years ago, Scott and Daniel Wall-Desousa chose to marry in New York City.

    "I made a commitment and I wanted it on paper," Scott Wall-Desousa told Channel 9’s Jorge Estevez.

    Both men used their marriage license to legally hyphenate their names to "Wall-Desousa" on their Social Security cards.

     While you can legally change your name to anything you want in the United State, the Wall-Desousa’s change is significant because they seem to have done it with their out-of-state marriage license in a state that doesn't consider marriage between same sex couples as legal.

     First, Daniel Wall-Desousa took his new card with his New York state marriage license to a Brevard County DMV to change it on his license.

    It was “no hassle,” he said.

    But that wasn’t the case for his husband Scott at a different office.

    "The person behind the counter tossed it back at me and said, ‘This is not a legal document in this state’," Scott Wall-Desousa said.

    After going back and forth for months, Scott Wall-Desousa went to an office in Orlando, presented his documents and the clerk legally changed his name.

    So what had changed?

    "She said as of July of this year there have been changes in our policy and here is your new name," Scott Wall-Desousa said.

    The DMV would not confirm a change in policy, but Scott understood it to be a ‘don't ask, don't tell’ approach by the DMV — something made easier since marriage licenses aren't stamped with the same-sex label.

    "Separate but equal is a dangerous thing," Scott Wall-Desousa said.

    The DMV denied a change in policy and said that "same-sex marriage certificates that are issued by other states are not recognized as valid in Florida."

    Whether it’s an oversight or an unwritten policy, this couple feels more like a family.

     “I feel we have come over a small hill, but there is a bigger hill to come and that is equality," Daniel Wall-Desousa said.

    Channel 9’s Estevez asked how the change was possible and if there was a change in policy. Here’s a full statement from John Lucas, Press Secretary, Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles:

    Same sex marriage certificates that are issued by other states are not recognized as valid in Florida and cannot be used as proof of identity. Florida law does not recognize same sex marriages and chapter 714.212(2), F.S., clearly states that a state agency "may not give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any state, territory, possession, or tribe of the United States or of any other jurisdiction, either domestic or foreign, or any other place or location respecting either a marriage or relationship not recognized under subsection (1) or a claim arising from such a marriage or relationship.

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