At the turn of the year, we were treated to a dispute over a baby's name. Now, we get this story: marriage discriminates against men in California. That's right, here in the land of fruits, nuts, twigs and berries, men are not treated as equally as women. If you look at it from a man's perspective, which is pretty hard to do in this instance, then maybe you'll understand why one man wants to take his wife's last name. He says when you get married and it comes time to figure out whose last name will be the name for both the man and the woman to take, it's not as easy for a man to take a woman's last name, so he's suing.
Apparently, there's no box to check on the marriage license form.
The state just assumes that the woman will take the man's last name. No, I'm not kidding. According to USA Today, only "six states -- Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, New York and North Dakota -- give either spouse the right to choose the other's last name." Heck, for once California is in the majority. We're not even close to being a trend leader on this one.
I've got another conundrum for you, however. Think about this: what name does this hypothetical couple end up with: Bob Smith-Jones and Suzy Johnson-Brown. Is it Smith-Jones-Johnson-Brown? Is it the two first last names or the two last last names or just a mish-mash of letters? Are they supposed to come up with an entirely new last name?
The California marriage license form will never handle that issue.
Update: For another take on naming conventions: see Justice Bedsworth's commentary.