ACLU demands South Carolina allow men to change names on licenses



COLUMBIA — A civil rights organization is demanding South Carolina make it as easy for men who change their names when they get married to get new driver’s licenses as it does for women.

Jason Scott Clary Baize, of Travelers Rest, took his wife’s name after the couple married in June. He took a new Social Security card with his changed name and his marriage license to the Department of Motor Vehicles office in Greenville, according to a letter written Thursday by the American Civil Liberties Union.

DMV workers turned him down, even though he had the same proof that women need when they want to change their licenses after taking their husband’s last name, the ACLU said.

Instead, the DMV said he needed to get a court order to change his name, which would cost at least $150, the group said.

The ACLU gave the DMV 10 days to agree to apply the same name change rules to everyone and assure the organization it would train its employees to handle people of both genders the same way. The organization got Mississippi to treat husbands and wives the same after a similar complaint last month. The letter did not say what the ACLU could do if the DMV refuses.

DMV spokeswoman Beth Parks had not seen the letter Friday afternoon, and the agency didn’t have an immediate response.

The letter said it is critical that the DMV allow Baize to change his name on his driver’s license because he has already changed it with the Social Security Administration. Otherwise, the organization said, Baize might have trouble voting or when he shows his ID at airports or courthouses.