Tuesday, September 11, 2012

in which we are Discriminated against

Well now, it has been a while since I've written.  We are married, in the state of New York, anyway.  Today, we went to the Social Security Administration to officially change our names and become the Mrs. Hs.  I will spare you the gory details (although I am not sparing the Social Security Administration complaint box or the poor soul who reads the email directed to our beloved President), but suffice it to say that I have not been treated with such indignity in a long while.

Essentially, the lovely clerk at the SSA and her oh-so-eloquent supervisor informed us that "after 9-11, you can't just go changing your name to anything you want," and that, without inspecting Kathy's divorce decree, they would refuse to accept our marriage certificate as evidence of her married name -- which, I assure you, is inconsistent with state law and the SSA's published policies on changing one's name upon marriage.  Although as the oh-so-eloquent supervisor informed me, New York state law doesn't matter in those hallowed halls -- it is a Federal Agency, thankyouverymuch.  I especially appreciated the callous dig about 9-11, on the anniversary of the attacks, a mere 19 miles from where the twin towers once stood.  Classy.  Clearly, they are lacking in sensitivity training over at the SSA.  And George Takei is their spokesperson!  Regardless, we were treated with suspicion and disrespect from the moment we handed over our marriage certificate.

And now, we are left in the unfortunate position of deciding What To Do Next.  Do we suck it up, go back with the divorce decree, allow the SSA to continue its discriminatory practice, and get our f-ing names changed?  Or do we take a stand and refuse allow our privacy to be violated, and head back to the SSA office every day until they comply with their own policies and issue us Social Security cards in our married names, accepting the same documents they require of other married couples?

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