Letter to the Editor

I need all this for a license?

Sunday, January 31, 2010

To the Editor:

Wednesday afternoon, I made a trip to the License Branch to change my address since I had recently moved.

I figured as long as I was there, I would go ahead and get the new Secure Driver's License. Was I in for a surprise.

I had my birth certificate, I had my Social Security Card, I had three utility bills with my address on it, and, of course, my current driver's license.

I was asked for my marriage license.

I told her I wasn't married, I was divorced.

She informed me that I either had to have my marriage license (not a copy -- the stamped one) or a passport.

For one thing, I do not have a passport, nor do I have a need for one.

They are expensive and obviously you have to have the same documentation. I just told her to forget it and just change my address since I still have two years before this one expires.

While I was there, I was told that eventually, this is going to become mandatory -- the Secure Driver's License.

Another thing to note is that you have to have a physical mailing address for your driver's license to be mailed to now. You can no longer get them while you wait.

After leaving the BMV, it occurred to me.

I have been married three times. I have been divorced three times and never once did I take my maiden name back.

Does this mean I have to have a copy of all three marriage licenses showing the progression of my name change to where it is now?

I know I, for one, never had any desire to keep my marriage license after I was divorced.

A lot of women I know, including myself, took great joy in burning them.

I have been working for more than 30 years.

I have been paying taxes and getting tax refunds for more than 30 years and even have had to pay taxes in the last 30 years, so, trust me, the government knows where to find me.

My social security number hasn't changed -- they can track me anytime through that.

Now I find that just to be able to drive a car to get to work so I can pay those taxes, I have to prove to them who I am, and my birth certificate is not enough.

I am currently waiting on a reply from the BMV as to whether I need to have all three marriage licenses or not.

If I get a reply from them, then I guess I'll figure out how I'm supposed to come up with these documents.

Burning them is not going to be the only problem for women.

I'm sure there are lots of women who have lost them in natural disasters such as fires and floods, and then there will be those who have just plain lost them in moving from one place to another.

Suppose I am able to get certified copies of these marriages, you can bet they aren't going to be free.

You want to know what the really aggravating thing about this is ... it only applies to women.

Men don't have to go through all this because their names don't change when they get married.

How fair is that? What are these people thinking?

I have just had my life as a lifelong citizen of this country, a hard working mother, and contributor to the coffers of this country and state, put to question.

Sally Garrett,