Tuesday, August 4, 2009

That Didn't Really Go As Planned.

First of all, there a lot of really uneducated government employees out there and the NYC marriage bureau office is full of the finest of idiots.
We were met with blank stares from the get-go (all caught on camera!) and it really only got worse from there.

They had to call for 'back up' , a woman who proceeded to tell us that health insurance benefits were only available for same sex marriages of government employees. Interesting enough but we are not trying to get health insurance benefits. She was completely confused with what we wanted to do and kept telling us this was the law and she would print out the law for us to see (she never did, because she totally had her information confused).

It seemed simple enough: if NY state honors out-of-state gay marriages--then what is the procedure for them to honor it?
Surely there is a procedure, right? A piece of paper? A legal document?

However we were told time and time again,
"You don't need to do anything."
"Why not?"
"Because it's not necessary."
"How can it not be necessary? You are supposed to recognize this marriage."
"But you don't need to do anything."


Stumped, they finally decided to 'do us a favor' and we could see the staff attorney. Who was out to lunch, of course. And with rolling eyes, the ever-so-unhelpful attendant told us no, she did not know when he left and no, she did not know when he would be back and no, she did not know how long he took lunch.
Perhaps she could find someone who had more information?
She was lovely, did I mention that? Bitch.

When "Patrick" the condescending staff attorney finally came back (over an hour later) from his leisurely lunch (our tax dollars hard at work), he did his best to make us feel like complete idiots for even asking these questions and wasting his time.
This of course brought out the pit bull in Chicken who attacked right back and it all got off to a rather unpleasant start.
After I gave her a swift kick under the table, things softened up a bit and we were able to have a civil conversation.

And here's how it goes folks: If you have been married in a state that recognizes gay marriage and you want to have it recognized in NY--there's nothing you can do. Seriously, that is the procedure. You simply carry around your marriage license from State X and wave it around to people it times of need claiming that you are legally married and if they don't respect that, then you threaten to sue said party.
I'm serious. THIS was his advice: "Tell people you will sue them if they don't honor your out-of-state marriage certificate."
That seems effective.

Oh and about our legal name change? His assvice was to head up to Connecticut, get married again and write in our new last names on that marriage certificate.
Except....will the NY State DMV honor this name change on the CT marriage license and give us new driver's license's thus setting the ball rolling to get all other forms of new ID? Because you know how smart all the people working at the DMV are....
That sounds like another battle.

And here's where it gets really interesting. When I got home, I decided to do a little research on getting married in CT since Chicken is home now and we thought no better time than the present--let's get things done!
But wait...you can't legally get married in two different states! Even gays can't do that! And since we are legally married in the state of California, then our marriage in CT would be invalid!

Which means: the staff attorney of the NYC Marriage Bureau--the one who should know MARRIAGE LAWS better than anyone else in the NYC Marriage Bureau--gave us completely inaccurate information. Information that would of had us performing an ILLEGAL act.

The whole afternoon was filmed, with the exception of the lawyer's office where our camera man was denied entry. It should be put up as a PSA on the website when he's done editing, so I'll let you know when that hits.
I hope that this saves other people the frustration of what we had to go through and wasting an entire afternoon.

All was not lost....we were on the edge of Chinatown, so we walked up and feasted on Vietnamese food afterwards. At least we ended on a high note!


cindyhoo2 said...

Oh my, that sounds utterly useless and frustrating! Sorry the event was so..... Icky.

Keely said...

That is so freaking enraging! I am shaking with anger on your behalf. Speedy & I are about to do the CT thing ourselves. I wonder if they offer the certificates in a convenient wallet-size?

Baby Mama, Too said...

Sorry to hear about your totally horrible experience, though I am not totally surprised by it. Seems like that sort of thing is the norm, regardless of the department, all government agencies blow.

Melissa said...

I'm exhausted just reading that. I can't imagine having to actually go through it. Very comforting to know that there are so many people who know what the hell is going on.

glamcookie said...

OMG, what a bunch of ignorant assholes! This country needs to get it's act together. It's ridiculous. I'm glad you had the film crew. Sharing that type of scene has to benefit us, right?

Carrie said...

frustrating and annoying! I was particularly annoyed at the woman who mentioned the health benefits thing. Did she possibly think you were only trying to get married so you could get health benefits? And it is incredibly disappointing that the NYC Marriage office has no flippin clue on gay marriages. I love how he just told you to go get married in CT. He should know that's not possible.
Ugh. depressing!

Rachel said...

I like my vision of your day better - the one where everyone comes out and wishes you congratulations and then does a Bollywood dance to celebrate your wedding.

I don't know if you want to consider just doing a name change separately from the marriage, but we did one about 2 years ago (for my husband, the lawyer) and will do one soon for the fusspot (when we cease to be the most slacker parents ever and decide on a full name for her ...) To do a name change independent of a 'life event' (i.e. wedding) is not all that complicated - you go to superior court, they send you out to the newspaper (you have to publicize it for your 'creditors'), then they give you a piece of paper on the spot making it official and you proceed to mail the notification off to get your drivers license, passport, social security, etc. updated. I think it costs around $50 and will probably take 2-3 hours of running around, as I recall.

Jess said...

First off congrats on the little ones. I have been lurking for a long time now and am so happy that your time has come!!

As for Gay Marriage rights in NY..... I had a civil union in CT 3 years ago, then went back to get married in Jan. Yes we have a marriage licsence but it does not state what name you are going to change yours to. My wife went to Social Security with the marriage liscense and birth certificate and they had no problem changing her last name to mine. It went so smooth we were shocked. We live in ALbany. Maybe you should just try going to Social Sec. and see what happens.

Jess said...

Right.... Point of my post first document you need is a new ss card, then you can get your drivers lic. It was very easy like I said try the Social Security office! Let me know if you have any other questions!

Pufferfish said...

I don't know if going to the SS office would work in our case as we BOTH changing our last names to a COMPLETELY different last name that isn't on any of these forms. Sounds like it might be easier if one of us were to take the others name, but that's not the case....
Still, it might not hurt to try it out.
There is a SS ofice very close to us!

Jess said...

Wow was he an idiot. It is illegal to be married in two states but even if you weren't married and took the trip to CT there is no where to write Ina new last name. ( I'm guessing that's why we had an easier time). It's amazing how ridiculous this can all be, really just fully legalize it already! Good luck!

Mina said...

So sorry you had to go through this. I live in Queens, so I know exactly what you mean about our friendly and oh-so-knowledgeable government employees.

(Long sigh)

Next in Line said...

It is just never simple. We are married in Canada, but the US doesn't recognize it under international marriage law. It creates endless confusion when crossing the borders. Are we together as common law, roommates, spouses or do we just try to pass through separately. As far as I can tell, it depends on who is working that day and how they feel.
Good on you and Chicken fighting the good fight.

amy said...

i was going to also suggest going to the SS office. as long as you have a court order with the new name, the marriage license shouldn't matter. my wife (we do not have a legal marriage certificate from any state) legally changed her name and took the court order to the SS office and now her SS card has her new name. she also took the court order and SS card to the DMV and now her license also has her new last name. it actually was all much easier than we anticipated and we live in a state that does not recognize gay marriage from other states.

our more annoying governmental experience was going to the SS office and getting each of our kids "registered" as the other moms kid. my wife and i each gave birth to a child and then we adopted the kid we didn't birth. then we went to the SS office with our adoption decrees to make sure each child was linked to both of us thereby having 2 legal parents. we definitely dealt with assholes there but in the end accomplished the task.

it's amazing to me that we have to spend the same amount in taxes for a fraction of the benefits, discrimination hard at work, eh?

Laurie said...

I didn't think we had to do anything (we were also married in CA). I was under the impression that it worked just like straight couples married outside of NY... it just kind of carries over. It's totally disgusting that these people didn't have an educated, automatic response though. WTF?

As for the last name... we did a legal name change at the court. Perhaps you guys can give that a try?

poppycat said...

Rolling my eyes. Not much else that can convey my thoughts on this. Rolling my eyes again.

Thanks be to those who saved the day on a small level with some tasty offerings!

Erica said...

It's pretty scary that this shit happens in the USA - a country founded on all sorts of freedoms. It's ridiculous that you even have to deal with such an ass-backwards system. I'm glad you got it on film though AND that you followed it up with a decent lunch. :)

Thank you for your comment on my blog too. I'm definitely going to check out the blog you recommended. Good luck with everything.

Gayby Rabies said...

I'm glad you got most of the insanity on film. Could the system be any more fucked up? I'm glad to hear that at the very least, there was some good food at the end of it all.