A newly married South Florida man who opted to take his wife’s last name is fighting the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles after it suspended his driving license on grounds of fraud.
Real estate investor Lazaro Sopena offered to change his name following his 2011 marriage to Hanh Dinh in order to help his wife’s Vietnamese family perpetuate their family surname.
Shortly after their marriage, Lazaro Dinh obtained a new passport and Social Security card and changed his bank account and credit cards before applying to update his drivers license.
“It was an act of love. I have no particular emotional ties to my last name,” said Dinh, 40, who was born in Cuba and came to the United States at the age of 11 in 1984…
Lazaro Dinh was initially issued a new license after presenting his marriage certificate at his local DMV office and paying a $20 fee, just as newly married women are required to do when they adopt their husband’s name.
“It was easy. When the government issues you a new passport you figure you’re fine,” he said.
More than a year later Dinh received a letter from Florida’s DMV last December accusing him of “obtaining a driving license by fraud,” and advising him that his license would be suspended at the end of the month. Ironically, it was addressed to Lazaro Dinh.
“I thought it was a mistake,” he said.
But when he called the state DMV office in Tallahassee he said he was told he had to go to court first in order to change his name legally, a process that takes several months and has a $400 filing fee.
When he explained he was changing his name due to marriage, he was told ‘that only works for women”…
Most states formerly in the Confederacy seem to take special pride in acts of stupidity. One of the qualities required of state officials must be ignorance. Certainly the scumbags in charge of the Florida DMV lead the pack when it comes to fear of modern society.
Aside from the fact that drawing this affair out to the point where a civil suit or federal intervention will be required – building a cumulative debt the state of Florida will have to settle with the happy couple – they also perpetuate nationwide laughter over the spectacle they make of themselves.
UPDATE: The state of Floriduh has relented. The DMV is reissuing Lazaro Dinh’s driver’s license. They say they will have to retrain some of their staff to understand that both men and women can change their names upon marriage. And might even have to include men marrying men, women marrying women.