When Stephen Hill and Joshua Snyder went to the courthouse to officially hyphenate their last names together, they ended up pulled aside in a room with the magistrate.
The Columbus, Ohio, couple were celebrating their one-year anniversary after having been married in Washington, D.C.
Snyder says "it was kind of humiliating" to expect a name change would be no big deal and have it turn out so differently. "They basically told us to lie. They didn't use the word 'lie,' but they basically said if you use the word 'marriage,' it will get denied."
But Hill refused to lie any longer, having served in the military for two decades under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. And so the couple filed their request to change their last names with marriage clearly labeled as their reason.
A news report about the couple's request for a name change added to the anticipation for today's hearing. A judge heard their request today but opted not to issue a decision, instead promising to mail it to them. Changing a last name in Ohio would require a 10-page application, printing their names in the newspaper, $138 each, and then an appearance before the judge who normally renders a verdict on whether to let the name change go forward.
Some might remember Hill as the soldier booed by an audience during a Republican presidential debate for asking whether the candidates would try to reinstate "don't ask, don't tell." And he and his husband are also part of a lawsuit from the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network that is seeking to get the Defense of Marriage Act ruled unconstitutional.
Watch the news report on the couple and their request.