Gay Couple Says Court Employee Encouraged Them To Lie On Name Change Application


UPDATED: Thursday June 21, 2012 6:52 PM

A married couple said Wednesday that they were encouraged to list a reason other than marriage for changing their names.

Stephen Hill and Joshua Snyder were married a year ago in Washington D.C., 10TV's Kristyn Hartman reported. The pair decided to blend their names.

"It was just supposed to be another step in our commitment to each other," Joshua Snyder said.

When the couple took in their paperwork, which listed marriage as their reason for seeking a name change, they said a Franklin County Probate Court employee pulled them aside with some advice.

"We could put any other reason we wanted and it should be fine," Snyder said. "But stating we were married in another state would cause it to be declined."

Hill said that the moment took him back to his "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" days in the military.

"I've been asked my entire life to lie, to alter my story," Hill said. "I can't do that anymore."

Court magistrate Bill Reddington said that married same-sex couples usually list something other than marriage as the reason for their name change.

"I can't imagine anyone being told they'd have to lie," Reddington said.

The couple chose to proceed with the paperwork, listing marriage as the reason for their name change. They will attend a hearing on Thursday.

"We're not asking Ohio to accept our marriage," Hill said. "They just asked simply, ‘What's the purpose for wanting the name change?’ Our true purpose is we're married."

The administrative magistrate said that there is an Ohio Supreme Court precedent allowing a name change for same-sex couples. The decision came down before the state constitution defined marriage as between a man and a woman.

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