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Married gay couple seeking name change encouraged to lie on application

Friday, June 22, 2012
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COLUMBUS, Ohio – A legally married gay couple is awaiting a judge’s ruling on their request to legally hyphenate their last names, and said they were encouraged by a court employee to list something other than marriage as the reason for changing their names.

Stephen Hill and Joshua Snyder, married a year ago in Washington D.C., are seeking to blend their last names, legally changing it to Snyder-Hill. But since Ohio law does not recognize same-sex marriage, the men could change their names for almost any reason other than being a married gay couple.

WBNS-TVJoshua Snyder (left) and Stephen Hill

WBNS-TV
Joshua Snyder (left) and Stephen Hill

According to the couple, when they submitted their name change application, a Franklin County Probate Court employee pulled them aside and advised them the process would be smoother if they didn’t mention they were married, reported WBNS-TV.

Now, following a hearing Thursday, the couple said they are waiting for a judge to issue a written ruling on their name-change request, a matter they are told is normally approved immediately.

Magistrate William Reddington asked the men if changing their names would make their lives easier, which is one of the reasons a name change might be allowed.

The men said that it would not.

“The reason that I want to change my name is because I married this man. I love this man. And I married him, and that’s my reason for doing this,” Hill said.

The couple said that after a lifetime of keeping secrets about their sexuality, they wanted to stand up and tell the truth.

Reddington said that he was going to take the matter into consideration and issue a written decision.

Hill said that the experience is reminiscent of his “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” days in the military.

“You know, I fight for people’s rights, liberty, freedom, civil rights being in the military. I’ve gone to two wars. I just don’t feel like I should have to lie on an application that somebody else doesn’t have to lie on,” he said.

Hill, you might recall, is the gay soldier who was booed by audience members during a GOP debate last September when he asked if any of the Republican candidates would reinstate the now repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that banned openly gay service members.

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