Monday, April 26, 2010

Do surnames survive gay marriage?

Here’s an article in Politics Daily, broadcast Monday morning on AOL, by Joann Weiner: “Her husband’s last name: does a woman’s identity change, too?, link.

The article notes that using a husband’s last name can cost up to close to a half million dollars in lifetime personal wealth. After Betty Friedan, gradually, more married women started hyphenating their names and keeping their old ones. Remember back around 1957 when a woman’s magazine (I believe it was Ladies Home Journal, the worst offender) actually wrote, “who should have a college degree, you or your husband?”

Of course, the “obvious” question relates to gay marriage, and I suspect most gay couples keep their own names, even in a Rosie O’Donnell “family is a family” situation.

Yet, pundits like Laura Schlesinger (“I am my kid’s mom “ -- a tautology) say that women should make their husbands support them – which sometimes gets extended to getting adult children to support you, or coming up with other schemes to draw in the uncommitted, George Gilder style.

We see how profound the concept of personal identity and individual sovereignty, as it has developed since the 1960s, has become. And it does not sit too well with everyone.

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