PennDOT: Lapse in communication turned away gay couple

Like any married couple, Justin and Allan Wire share just about everything. They share a home, a 6-month-old daughter named Ivy and a last name.

The New Cumberland couple said “I do” in Maryland this past December.

The day Pennsylvania recognized their vows happened to be Justin’s birthday. So, Wednesday morning, he was happy to be waiting at PennDOT.

“The gentleman looked across the counter at me and I said, ‘This is something new. I’m probably your first person, so I hope this doesn’t cause a problem, but I need to do a name change with my renewal,’ ” Justin Wire said.

He was right. It was the first request of its kind and it did cause a problem.

“The manager looked across the desk … and just shook his head no. And I said, ‘What do you mean, no?’ He said, ‘Well, we can’t do that,’ and it was like my worst nightmare coming true,” Justin said.

A PennDOT spokesperson said there was a lapse in communicating the new procedure with some staff.

“It’s really disheartening,” said Justin Wire.

At the counter, he said he was shown an email from PennDOT headquarters.

“It was directed to the office manager and clearly stated, ‘no change in procedure at this time,’ ” he said.

Procedure did end up changing around the time that Governor Tom Corbett announced that he would not be appealing the same-sex marriage ruling.

PennDOT said Wednesday afternoon that effective immediately, all couples with proper documentation are welcome to apply for a name change on their licenses.

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