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Man Fights to Take Wife's Name in Marriage

by MICHELLE RITTNER Sunday, Jan. 14, 2007 at 5:33 PM

Before Michael Buday married his fiancée, Diana Bijon, he decided to honor her family by bucking tradition and taking her last name.

ACLU Joins Effort to Change California Law

Jan. 8, 2007 — What's in a name?

Before Michael Buday married his fiancée, Diana Bijon, he decided to honor her family by bucking tradition and taking her last name. But, it wasn't so easy.

Under California state law, he needed to pay more than 0, go to court, file a petition, and publicly advertise his name change for four weeks in a local newspaper. If he had simply gone along with tradition, it would have cost only to .

So Buday, 29, went to court, along with the ACLU, to change the law. They recently announced their plans to sue the California Department of Health Services, which oversees marriage licenses and name changes.

After years of fighting for women's rights, the ACLU is now battling for equal rights for men.

California is one of 44 states with unequal name change laws for people getting married. Right now, only six states — Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, New York and North Dakota — explicitly allow a man to change his name through marriage with the same ease as a woman can.

California is not the only state with a high price tag for a groom's name change. In Illinois, a man wishing to take his wife's surname must fork over 6 for a petition and another 0 to publish the change in a newspaper. Connecticut's price is slightly lower, at only 0 for a court petition.

According to the ACLU, the obstacles facing a husband who wishes to adopt his wife's last name violate the equal protection clause provided by the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. "California has the perfect marriage application for the 17th century," said Mark Rosenbaum, legal director of the ACLU of Southern California. "The laws reflect a mind-set that the wife is to be subordinate to the husband."

In California, a surname change for the husband is not even an option during the marriage process. Instead, the man must go through a regular name change process, as if he were changing his first name from Bob to Jim.

When contacted, the California Department of Health Services would not comment on the current state of the law.

"At every junction, the message is 'select the name of the husband,'" Rosenbaum said.



Buday was unavailable for comment, but he was quoted in an ACLU press release as saying, "It's not about the money, it's about the principle of families being able to make their own decisions. Diana's dad has become my father figure, and I want to honor that."

http://www.suntimes.com/news/nation/209650,name011307.article

Man files discrimination lawsuit to ease process of taking wife's name

January 13, 2007

BY GREG RISLING Associated Press

LOS ANGELES---- Mike Buday isn't married to his last name. In fact, he and his fiancee decided before they wed that he would take hers.

But Buday was stunned to learn that he couldn't simply become Mike Bijon when they married in 2005.

As in most other states, that would require some bureaucratic paperwork well beyond what a woman must go through to change her name when marrying.

Instead of completing the expensive, time-consuming process, Buday and his wife, Diana Bijon, enlisted the American Civil Liberties Union and filed a discrimination lawsuit against the state of California. They claim the difficulty faced by a husband seeking to change his name violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

''Diana and I feel strongly about gender equality for both men and women,'' Buday said. ''I think the most important thing in all of this is to bring it to a new level of awareness.''

Mark Rosenbaum, legal director of the ACLU in Southern California, said it is the first federal lawsuit of its kind in the country. ''It's the perfect marriage application for the 17th century,'' Rosenbaum said. ''It belongs in the same trash can as dowries.''

Only six states -- Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, New York and North Dakota -- have statutes establishing equal name-change processes for men and women when they marry. In California and other states, men cannot choose a different last name while filing a marriage license.

In California, a man who wants to take his wife's name must file a petition, pay more than 0, place a public notice for weeks in a local newspaper and then appear before a judge.

Because of Buday's case, a California state lawmaker has introduced a bill to put a space on the marriage license for either spouse to change names.

The Census Bureau does not keep figures on how many U.S. men are taking their brides' names. But clearly it happening more and more. Milwaukee County, Wis., Clerk Mark Ryan estimated that one in every 100 grooms there now takes the name of his wife.

Bijon, 28, approached Buday about the idea when they were dating. She had no brothers but wanted to prolong the family name. Buday, a 29-year-old developer of interactive advertising, was estranged from his own father and was not attached to his own last name.

''I knew immediately it was pretty important to her or else she wouldn't have brought it up,'' Buday said.

At one point, the couple tried the Department of Motor Vehicles to get a name change. But Buday said he was told by a woman behind the counter: ''Men just don't do that type of thing.''

Couples who want to hyphenate or combine their names also must endure the lengthy court procedures in California. One of the more notable examples was Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who went to court to fuse his last name, Villar, with his wife's, Raigosa, when they married in 1987.

Laws giving women an easy choice of names were largely a byproduct of the feminist movement. A 2004 Harvard University study found that the number of college-educated women who kept their surnames upon marriage rose from about 3 percent in 1975 to nearly 20 percent in 2001.

http://www.huliq.com/6104/us-man-taking-wife-s-last-name-faces-sex-discrimination

US man taking wife’s last name faces sex discrimination

Tattoo artist wants to get a head for special projectMike Buday and his fiancee decided before they wed that he would take her last name, but he was stunned to learn that he could not simply become Mike Bijon when they married in 2005.

As in most other states, that would require some bureaucratic paperwork well beyond what a woman must go through to change her name when marrying.

Instead of completing the expensive, time-consuming process, Buday and his wife, Diana Bijon, enlisted the American Civil Liberties Union and filed a discrimination lawsuit against the state of California. They claim the difficulty faced by a husband seeking to change his name violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

"Diana and I feel strongly about gender equality for both men and women," Buday said. "I think the most important thing in all of this is to bring it to a new level of awareness."

Mark Rosenbaum, legal director of the ACLU in Southern California, said it is the first federal lawsuit of its kind in the country. "It's the perfect marriage application for the 17th century," Rosenbaum said. "It belongs in the same trash can as dowries."

Only six states - Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, New York and North Dakota - have statutes establishing equal name-change processes for men and women when they marry. In California and other states, men cannot choose a different last name while filing a marriage license.

In California, a man who wants to take his wife's name must file a petition, pay more than 0, (EUR 233) place a public notice for weeks in a local newspaper and then appear before a judge.

Because of Buday's case, a California state lawmaker has introduced a bill to put a space on the marriage license for either spouse to change names.

The Census Bureau does not keep figures on how many U.S. men are taking their brides' names. But clearly it happening more and more. Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, Clerk Mark Ryan estimated that one in every 100 grooms there now takes the name of his wife.

Bijon, 28, approached Buday about the idea when they were dating. She had no brothers but wanted to prolong the family name. Buday, a 29-year-old developer of interactive advertising, was estranged from his own father and was not attached to his own last name.

"I knew immediately it was pretty important to her or else she wouldn't have brought it up," Buday said.

At one point, the couple tried the Department of Motor Vehicles to get a name change. But Buday said he was told by a woman behind the counter: "Men just don't do that type of thing."

Couples who want to hyphenate or combine their names also must endure the lengthy court procedures in California. One of the more notable examples was Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who went to court to fuse his last name, Villar, with his wife's, Raigosa, when they married in 1987, the AP says.

Laws giving women an easy choice of names were largely a byproduct of the feminist movement. A 2004 Harvard University study found that the number of college-educated women who kept their surnames upon marriage rose from about 3 percent in 1975 to nearly 20 percent in 2001. - Pravda.ru

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