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Lowcountry same-sex couple prepared to fight for last name rights

Lowcountry same-sex couple prepared to fight for last name rights

WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

From our News Partners at WCBD-TV:

A Lowcountry same-sex couple is preparing to fight the state if they need to. Brandon and Ricky Velez think the State Department of Motor Vehicles may discriminate against legally married same sex couples when it comes to last names on driver's licenses.

"This is going to come to something huge," Brandon Velez said.

At the ages of 21 and 24, they have just become accidental activists.

"It is going to have people's views going in both directions and it's not a fight that I want. It's a change that I want," he continued.

They are newlyweds with a new battle.

"We got married in New York. I came down to get my new license with my new surname on it," Brandon explained.

He presented a valid New York marriage license with his new surname of Velez.

"The representative that was helping me out actually spoke to her other coworkers and they also said yes, that's valid proof you can do it," he explained.

"The representative that helped me out actually congratulated me and Ricky. So right there they knew it was a same sex marriage," he explained.

He got a license with his new name, but it didn't last long.

"Three hours later, I get a call saying that if I don't return it, they will revoke my license," he said.

He says that he is not looking for special treatment, but the same rights as those in traditional marriages.

"I just want South Carolina to recognize same sex marriage. Let couples be couples. Let people love whoever they want to love," he explained.

The couple says, though the set back hasn't extinguished the spark in their marriage, it has sparked some controversy.

"People are saying that we should be hung in public," he explained.

The couple says that they will not be deterred by harassment and are looking at the possibility of getting legal representation.

News 2 is still awaiting clarification and comment from the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles.

Photo Credit: Christian Carollo Shutterstock

 

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