Gay Marriage--Taking Each Other's Names?

So, the SO and I are getting “married” in August. (Well, actually, civilly unioned, but that’s another matter…)

What’s the proper protocol, here? Who takes whose name? Do we not do the name change thing? Do we hyphenate? If we do hyphenate, whose name goes first? (If it matters, I am the breadwinner in the relationship.)


I don’t think there ‘is’ a protocol – you can do whatever you want. I’ve seen every combo known to man. Personally, my partner and I plan to keep our own names (but then, I’ve never been a fan of the woman taking the man’s name either). And our own names are already so long and difficult to spell that hyphenating would be awful.

It’s totally up to you. A lot of the couples I know who’ve got married/civilly partnered have changed their name in some way: one person taking the other’s name (most common), both going double-barrelled, or both taking on a completely new name. They’re mostly planning on starting a family, or already have done so, and want to all have the same name. Some haven’t changed their names, mostly the male couples.

If you do hyphenate, do it alphabetically. No joke, or snark.

I’d recommend this for gay or straight couples who want to use both names.

As there aren’t even set rules for heterosexuals anymore (just the long and now often ignored custom of the woman taking the man’s name) go ahead and do what pleases you.

And then expect nosy busybodies to criticize your choice for the rest of your life, no matter what that choice was.

Friends of ours double-barrelled alphabetically.

There isn’t really a standard. On the topic of marriage with my ex-bf, we’d have elected to keep our own last names, both of us having rather long complicated last names. If I was marrying someone with a shorter last name I’d dump mine. Though I’d likely ditch my middle name and replace it with my last. My last names still very well known in my business field, so I could still include it when I felt it was a good idea.

I’ve seen all of these as well.

In one case they adopted a new “hybrid” surname but because both men had the same first name one of them took his middle name for a first name. Somewhat confusing but everyone adjusted to it.

I tried to convince my spouse that we should combine the letters of our last names and make an anagram of them, and use that as a last name. The most readable anagram had the word ‘Cock’, as well as a couple disgusting helper words, and for some reason she didn’t go for it.

Congratulations, Travis!

My S.O. and I are getting married in September, even though same-sex marriage or civil unions are not legal in Michigan. We’re both older (I’ll be 48, Edna will be 53) and changing our last names at this point would be more of a headache, having had our names for more than half of our adult lives.

Do what feels right to you; you’re blazing the trail here. Start the trend! Most of all, have a wonderful life with your husband. :slight_smile:

A couple of times I’ve seen each one add the other’s name as a hyphenated combo with their name but their original nam last. So one was Smith-Jones and the other Jones-Smith.

I think hyphenating is very nice, but I agree there’s no standard, not even in opposite sex marriage. I also feel it should be up to you both whose name goes first.
And congratulations!!

For hyphenation, I think I’d see how it sounds and if it is more melodious one way than the other. I might be hyphenating when I get married, and my currentlastname-husband’slastname simply sounds better than the other way around.

Hell, I didn’t change my last name in my heterosexual marriage. It wasn’t my husband’s favorite idea, me not changing my name, but he’s accepted it.

Do whatever feels natural and right for the two of you.

We’re taking the same plunge in July (the date IL makes it legal), we talked at length about combining our names but we’re both rather attached to our own names. So we’ll just keep what we’ve got.

Don’t know about you but we’re tickled as can be to get “legal” after 21 years together. Congratulations to you and your honey.

Do what feels right to you and your partner.

I, personally, would never change my name or want my partner to either. I like the idea that each of our identities is independent and precedes our relationship. Also, with divorce rates being what they are, who wants to be saddled with the last name of someone you have a 50% chance of hating? Those are terrible odds.

All bets are off, though, if you or your partner has a kick-ass last name, especially one that turns into a pun when combined with your given name.

My uncles, the only married/unioned gay people I know, both kept their names. Then again, I don’t know if they ever actually got married as the only place they call it that is on Facebook. For all I know, they are legally single, since they got together while my biological uncle was still cutting off contact, and I’m afraid I’ll offend if I ask.

If I were to marry I seriously doubt I’d change my name. If we did, then I’d probably work with the hypothetical partner to find a surname we both like and change both of ours together.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you Jon and Leonard Bo-and-luke-duke!”

We didn’t. It would confusing in more ways than one. I’m Chinese and he isn’t so they aren’t really compatible with each other as a hyphen, and one taking the other has a bit of mismatch and too much needing to explain it to strangers. Plus the professional record and stuff.

I think it is harder for guys to accept a name change anyway.

My husband and I didn’t change our surnames. We’ve both got unusual names so hyphenating would have just compounded the spelling and other difficulties that other people have with them, and we never even thought of changing to some new name, whether hybrid of our existing names or not.

Still, it would have been the cheap way to change. Only $120 for the civil union licence and we’d both been able to change for that price rather than about $150 each if you do it by deed poll. Or, free if you just want to be known by another name socially but not change any official records.