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Woman who married in DC, moved from Va. is denied W.Va. driver’s license with wife’s surname

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Associated Press
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December 6, 2012

For the year since she married her partner, waitress Cynthia Landis has legally been a Landis. It’s the name on her Social Security card, her District of Columbia marriage certificate and her Virginia driver’s license. But the state of West Virginia won’t recognize it. The Division of Motor Vehicles won’t issue the Romney resident a driver’s license in that name because she’s married to a woman, and state law forbids the agency from recognizing any documents related to a same-sex marriage. The DMV would be glad to issue the 34-year-old Landis a license in her ex-husband’s last name of Hatton, Deputy Commissioner Steve Dale said. In the state’s eyes, that’s still legally her name. Otherwise, her only option is to get a circuit court judge to order a name change. Dale said that would be a legal document. “I can’t believe that the state has the right to just say, willy-nilly, ‘We’re only going to recognize the legality of the documents we choose and not these.’ It’s ridiculous,” said Landis, who has sent a complaint letter to the governor’s office.