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by Rex Wockner
National News Briefs
The U.S. government has declined to issue a passport to Jason Hair-Wynn of Attleboro, Mass., because his last name is the result of his having gotten married to his boyfriend. Same-sex marriage is legal in Massachusetts.
If Hair-Wynn wants to renew his passport — he’s an AIDS counselor who is scheduled to work in orphanages in Ghana in July — he will have to legally change his name back to what it was before he got married, the local Sun Chronicle newspaper reported.
In a letter to Hair-Wynn, the State Department said: “We are unable to comply with your request for a name change based on the documentation you sent because of the Defense of Marriage Act [which states:] ‘In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administration bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word “marriage” means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word “spouse” refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.'”
“I can’t even process this,” Hair-Wynn told the newspaper. “It is weird to get discrimination in writing.”
He said the Social Security Administration gave him a new Social Security card with his married name on it, and the Registry of Motor Vehicles reissued his documents as well.
But Hair-Wynn says working with kids in Ghana is important enough that he’ll change his name again to be able to renew his passport.