I have had a few people ask me why I did not change my last name when I got married. I ask them back why did you agree to change your name?

Before I got married I had a career, I was an established Human Resources Manager and I had recruiters calling me. I was known as Jessy Clifton, not Jessica Clifton, and certainly not by my boyfriends last name. I liked my name, I was never teased as a child because of my name, I have never ran into another person with the same name and I was not in a hurry to get rid of it because I disliked my last name. I don’t agree that women have to change their legal identity while men don’t have to change their identity when they get married.

I did not want to have to change every bit of identifying information when I got married, credit cards, ID, Social Security, Bank Accounts, E-mail addresses, Business Cards, ugh the list is endless at how many things are personalized with your full name.

I do not agree with the fact that historically slaves took on their owners last names and became a piece of their owners property. I see changing last names as an archaic tradition where women are now owned by their husband’s family. Should you take your husbands family name because you now are owned by them? Lets look at historical marriage ceremonies where the woman’s family gives 4 cows and 1 sheep to the husbands family to take care of her because women were not worth much more than animals. I chose my husband and my family did not give my husbands family any cows to get rid of me. I believe we need to question this tradition! It is archaic and unnecessary. I am still legally married but with my own name. When the priest announced us he said I would introduce the new husband and wife. I did not want to be introduced as Mr. and Mrs. John Johnson! Are you kidding me, not only does a woman loose her last name now she looses her first name and is just Mrs. John Johnson? Ick! How demeaning!

Basically there were more reasons why I refused to have my name changed than why I would ever consider changing it to keep my husbands family happy. Before we were married my husband and I talked about the complications that might happen with separate last names, we have no problem having both of our names on bank accounts, house, insurance, cars. I agreed to allow our children to have his last name.

Now here is where we have had problems. One time my husband was in the emergency room and I had to give them my name and ID to be allowed back to see him. The nurse gave me a hard time because I had a separate last name, she actually told me that I needed to have my marriage license to prove I was married. I told her I would have her job if she did not allow me to see my husband. Jon had tickets held at a will call and he was parking the car and told me to go in and get the tickets. The woman at will-call would not give me the tickets because I did not have the same last name. I said would you give the tickets to his sister? Not that it helped but hopefully I made her think about her process and I will make sure that he gets tickets in his name not me. Now that we have children, I have had a few moms question why my children have separate last names and if I am married to their father. I also tend to write on paperwork that I am their mother next to my name and next to my husbands name I write that we are married with different last names. I don’t ever want my children to be discriminated against because it appears their parents are not married by last names. I will make sure that does not happen.

Why do I bring this up? I am surprised at how few women even consider keeping their last name and happily give up their entire identity in order to get married. I think hyphenated names are very 1992, but still give those women some credit for being forward thinking. I want women to think twice about why they are changing their last names just to get married when you will legally are still married with your own name.