Some Want Law Passed to Force Women to Take Their Husband's Last Name


man placing ring on wife's fingerWe Americans just love paradoxes. We fancy ourselves so progressive and leaders of the free world, but then half of us are still "traditionalists" or, as I see it, backassward-ists. Case in point: A nationally representative survey of 815 Americans, in which 50 percent supported a law requiring women to change their last names upon marriage. What?! What year is this again? Who in their right mind would advocate that the government force women to take such a major step backward?

Let me just say ... I have always said I think when I get married, I'll keep my last name professionally, but take my husband's name personally. I'm not quite sure how that works and if it'll be a total pain in the butt, but it's what I see making the most sense for me. But when it comes to what other women do -- taking their hubby's last name or not -- I've always felt it was completely up to them. Maybe they have particular reasons for or against doing it.

Some women are seriously turned off by the origin of taking a man's last name. Which I totally understand. After all, it harkens back to the 1800s and even into the 1900s, when U.S. common law meant a married woman had no rights to her own property or to make contracts in her own name. A husband was the one to take on all legal rights for the couple. Knowing that definitely makes my stomach turn a bit, but on the other hand, you could argue that's not what it means anymore. Now, it's more of a romantic gesture, a symbol of unity, or perhaps a way to make it easier on the kids.

But what it boils down to is that there are very few things that are as close to identity as a name -- first or last. We should all be entitled to our own decision on the matter. Unless we want to take this country back to the dark ages. 

What's your thought on women being required by law to change their last names when they get married?


Image via Emma Hughes/Flickr



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cocob... cocobeannns

I think it should be up to the woman, not the government.

Melis... Melissa042807

I think it's dumb. And I'm even a conservative. I took my husband's last name but that was my choice. We know couples who the wife kept her last name, usually for professional reasons. And that's fine. They're still married. Whoop dee doo. 

momto... momtolittleg

Doesn't need to be a law.  I wonder if this has roots in the homosexual marriage issue?  Like if you are 2 women getting married you can't because there isn't a male name to take?  Just wondering.

nonmember avatar blh

That's so stupid. Why does anyone care about another persons name??

nonmember avatar Whatstheworld

In Europe, including Italy, women never change their surnames but the kids get their father's name. Works just fine.

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

It's sad that it's such a problem that people want to make a law about it but I guess it's good that so many people care that much about the issue. I find it depressing that there are so many women who are getting married and deciding to keep their fathers name. Is being married so horrible that you can't leave your birth family behind and start a new one with your husband?

Mamab... MamabearC

Oh geez, llike the government or legislatures need to be focusing on something silly like this. This is another area of peoples lives that the government needs to stay out of. I took my husbands last name but that was my choice just like it should be any woman's choice on whether to do so or not....what a waste of time,energy and tax dollar to whoever makes this a legal priority.....

Chels... Chelsea880

Ummmmmm.......... Well I gues this means that we have solved every real issue in this country! We have fix the econ, we have ended world hunger, everyone has a great job, and education..... so now is a great time to worry about stupid crap like this! I mean come on ladies! We are female so that must mean we can't choose for ourselves and need the government to do it for us! The fact that this is even an issue is insulting.

nonmember avatar Bunny

There's no need for that to become a law. There are enough laws. But I don't understand why someone wouldn't change their last name. I don't me a ring is just a peice of metal but the name is something you'll always have.

Samantha Wortham

Your kidding right You cannot possibly be that naive to think the only reason a woman might have not not want to change her name is because she can't let go of her family? Or that YOU know better than "her" as to what she should be doing with her name. I swear, it is so hard to get through to you people! Freedom does not mean freedom to tell other people how to live according to your principles it means letting them be free to choose on thir own.

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