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US: Nebraska denies woman drivers license based on her marital status

Tatiana Herrera August 5, 2014

The state of Nebraska refused to give native resident, Sue Stroesser, a new driver’s license or even recognise her name because she is married to another woman.

According to Nebraska DMV staffers, they could not transfer her license over from the neighboring state of Iowa to Nebraska because the state would not recognise her same-sex marriage.

Sue married Mary Stroesser in 2009 in Iowa when the state legalised same-sex marriage.

They have been together 30 years and are raising two young sons.

Sue Stroesser first obtained her driver’s license in the state of Nebraska at the age of 16 under the name Sue Kirchofer. Thirty-five years later, at the age of 51 she is being denied.

Despite Sue Stroesser’s legal name being listed on her Social Security card, her passport, and credit cards, Nebraska is requiring her to pay the costs of legally changing her name in Nebraska.

This is now complicating her ability to open a new bank account and change her car insurance.

Nebraska lawmakers are set to review equal marriage rights starting on 4 October. State Senator Brad Ashford has said that lawmakers should be looking for a middle ground.

The constitution in the state of Nebraska does not allow marriages between two people of the same sex to be legally recognised despite the US Supreme Court overturning the Defense of Marriage Act last summer.

This is due to a provision left intact in the law preventing states from having to recognise same-sex marriages from other states.

Although the federal government has since guaranteed most federal marriage benefits to couples regardless of where they live, states can still deny them recognition.

Such was the case when a lesbian couple, married in Iowa, was told by the state of Nebraska’s Supreme Court that they could not divorce.

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