The freedom to marry in Florida’s real impact: Positive change for same sex couples

It's been just over a week since the freedom to marry took effect in Florida (even as an appeal proceeds to the 11th Circuit) - and already, we are seeing the positive, tangible impact of this sea change.

For example, the Orlando Sentinel reports, a same-sex couple who were previously asked to change their names on their licenses or face their licenses being cancelled recently got corrected licenses after the stay on marriage between same-sex couples expired in Florida.

In December of 2013, Dan and Scott Wall-Desousas were married in New York after being together for ten years. When they returned to their home state of Florida, however, their marriage was not respected by the state.

Nevertheless, the couple planned on having their legal identification changed to reflect their newly hyphenated last names. They each went to separate DMVs to change their names on their licenses with their out-of-state marriage licenses. Althought they were both eventually issued new licenses with their legal names on them, the couple soon faced difficulties.

On October 30, Dan and Scott were featured on a news segment celebrating their recent name-change and marriage. Days later, they received two letters from the DMV in the mail – one for each of them – threatening to cancel their licenses indefinitely on November 25th if they did not change their names back to their maiden names by then.

Because the couple had no plans to change their names again -- their hyphenated last names were now on every other official document - they were forced to have their licenses cancelled on November 25th. They stopped driving and filed a federal lawsuit seeking respect for their marriage in Florida.

However, on January 6, 2015, the freedom to marry came to Florida as the stay expired on marriages between same-sex couples, meaning that govertmental agencies in the state were now to respect out-of-state marriages. Soon after, Dan and Scott were finally able to get their licenses -- once again -- with their legal, married names. "I'm going for a long drive," Dan told the Orlando Sentinel yesterday.

Read more about Dan and Scott's story here.