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Same-sex couples ask Social Security Administration to recognize their Indiana marriage

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A pair of Indiana same-sex couples who were married in June have asked the U.S. Social Security Administration to recognize their marriages.

The two couples –  Alice Hoenigman and Brittany Jones and Kendrel Cooper and Justin Bretz – were among the many who married in late June after Indiana’s marriage statute was ruled unconstitutional. The marriages stopped when the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay.

Since then, both Hoenigman and Cooper filed papers in Marion County to change their last names to that of their respective spouses. However, both were told their requests were being put into a holding file until the state received guidance from the Social Security Administration.

In a letter, their attorney, Richard Mann, charged the refusal to allow Hoenigman and Cooper to take the surnames of their spouses interferes with their right to identify with their spouse.   

“Our clients’ marriages are worthy of federal recognition and they should not be forced to incur the cost and time in filing separate civil actions in order to effectuate their name change as it unjustly labels their marriage as second-tier,” Mann wrote. “Their spouses’ surnames can be derived from those names shown on their marriage certificates and like any opposite-sex marriage certificate should be considered acceptable evidence of their new name.”

The letter stated the Social Security Administration has a duty to process the name change of same-sex couples who were married in Indiana before the stay was issued. Mann asked, on behalf of his clients, that the administration issue a statement that it will recognize marriage records of same-sex couples from Indiana as well as other states.

Dated July 25, 2014, the letter was addressed to Carolyn Colvin, acting commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Marcia Mosely, regional commissioner for the Chicago Region of the Social Security Administration and the Indianapolis field office of the Social Security Administration.

Indianapolis-based Mann is the lead attorney in Bowling et al. v. Pence et al., 1:14-cv-0405, the same-sex marriage case that is still pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.      
 

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  • Same issue today
    I had the same issue occur today at my local social security office. They said they had no direction on this and it would be placed in a hold file. I don't know what steps to take at this point. My partner and I were legally married prior to the stay going into effect. Was there any resolution on this matter?

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  1. Oh, the name calling was not name calling, it was merely social commentary making this point, which is on the minds of many, as an aside to the article's focus: https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100111082327AAmlmMa Or, if you prefer a local angle, I give you exhibit A in that analysis of viva la difference: http://fox59.com/2015/03/16/moed-appears-on-house-floor-says-hes-not-resigning/

  2. Too many attorneys take their position as a license to intimidate and threaten non attorneys in person and by mail. Did find it ironic that a reader moved to comment twice on this article could not complete a paragraph without resorting to insulting name calling (rethuglican) as a substitute for reasoned discussion. Some people will never get the point this action should have made.

  3. People have heard of Magna Carta, and not the Provisions of Oxford & Westminster. Not that anybody really cares. Today, it might be considered ethnic or racial bias to talk about the "Anglo Saxon common law." I don't even see the word English in the blurb above. Anyhow speaking of Edward I-- he was famously intolerant of diversity himself viz the Edict of Expulsion 1290. So all he did too like making parliament a permanent institution-- that all must be discredited. 100 years from now such commemorations will be in the dustbin of history.

  4. Oops, I meant discipline, not disciple. Interesting that those words share such a close relationship. We attorneys are to be disciples of the law, being disciplined to serve the law and its source, the constitutions. Do that, and the goals of Magna Carta are advanced. Do that not and Magna Carta is usurped. Do that not and you should be disciplined. Do that and you should be counted a good disciple. My experiences, once again, do not reveal a process that is adhering to the due process ideals of Magna Carta. Just the opposite, in fact. Braveheart's dying rebel (for a great cause) yell comes to mind.

  5. It is not a sign of the times that many Ind licensed attorneys (I am not) would fear writing what I wrote below, even if they had experiences to back it up. Let's take a minute to thank God for the brave Baron's who risked death by torture to tell the government that it was in the wrong. Today is a career ruination that whistleblowers risk. That is often brought on by denial of licenses or disciple for those who dare speak truth to power. Magna Carta says truth rules power, power too often claims that truth matters not, only Power. Fight such power for the good of our constitutional republics. If we lose them we have only bureaucratic tyranny to pass onto our children. Government attorneys, of all lawyers, should best realize this and work to see our patrimony preserved. I am now a government attorney (once again) in Kansas, and respecting the rule of law is my passion, first and foremost.

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