A new change in the rules for getting a passport will make things easier for same-sex couples married in Massachusetts and other states that allow  same-sex  marriage. Under the new rules, same sex couples who change their names after marriage will be allowed to apply for a passport using their spouse’s last name if they choose to change their names after marriage.

Before this ruling, in order to have the same last name as their spouse, one spouse would have to legally apply for  a legal  name change in court instead of simply being given the option to apply for a passport under their married names. To make things even more confusing, these couples were able to get state driver’s licenses and other identification documents in their married names without having to go through an additional name change process in court. Now, getting a passport name change is possible for these couples with a copy of the marriage certificate, just like it is for other marriages.

In a statement quoted in the Boston Globe, Keith Toney, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit that prompted the rule change, described what a hassle it was having a driver’s license in his married name and a passport in his old name when he traveled with his family:

“We’re thrilled that we will no longer have to worry about being interrogated when we go through airport security, or anywhere else outside of the US simply because of a discrepancy in my legal identification documents.”

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