Same-sex couples win change in US passport rules

The Boston Globe
June 17, 2009
The Obama administration has changed course and will now allow same-sex couples to use their spouse’s surname when they apply for passports with the US State Department. A gay married couple, Al and Keith Toney, joined the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) in challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which was passed during the Clinton administration, in federal court in Boston. In a letter dated June 15, the US Justice Department notified GLAD and the Toneys that the prohibition has been stricken from federal rules. “Denying married same-sex couples the ability to have their married names on their passports not only puts them at risk in traveling with two identities, it demeans their marriages,” Mary L. Bonauto, lead counsel on the case, said in a statement issued by GLAD. The Toneys were among nine same-sex couples who are suing the federal government in US District Court in Boston seeking to have their rights as married couples recognized by all federal agencies, such as the Social Security Administration. The lawsuit remains active on those other issues. [Link]