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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. Im very happy for you, getting ready to go down that dirt road myself, and im praying for the same outcome, because it IS sometimes in the childs best interest to have visitation with grandparents. Thanks for sharing, needed to hear some positive posts for once.

  2. Been there 4 months with 1 paycheck what can i do

  3. our hoa has not communicated any thing that takes place in their "executive meetings" not executive session. They make decisions in these meetings, do not have an agenda, do not notify association memebers and do not keep general meetings minutes. They do not communicate info of any kind to the member, except annual meeting, nobody attends or votes because they think the board is self serving. They keep a deposit fee from club house rental for inspection after someone uses it, there is no inspection I know becausee I rented it, they did not disclose to members that board memebers would be keeping this money, I know it is only 10 dollars but still it is not their money, they hire from within the board for paid positions, no advertising and no request for bids from anyone else, I atteended last annual meeting, went into executive session to elect officers in that session the president brought up the motion to give the secretary a raise of course they all agreed they hired her in, then the minutes stated that a diffeerent board member motioned to give this raise. This board is very clickish and has done things anyway they pleased for over 5 years, what recourse to members have to make changes in the boards conduct

  4. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  5. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

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